Unexpected (and possibly unethical) ways to advertise

Sep 3, 2015


Advertisements and advertising campaigns come in all shapes, forms and sizes. Some make you laugh, some tug on those heartstrings. And others just make you go, “Huh?”

Ads are designed to be memorable, and many are – but we remember them for the wrong reasons.

For example, did you see that racy advertising campaign from Denmark last year? It was called “Do It For Denmark!” Put together by the Dutch travel agency “Spies”, its focus was to attempt to boost the Danish birth rate, which was down 27 percent. The ad claimed that traveling inspired couples to…ahem, spend quality time together.

To incentivize Danish couples of childbearing age, if they could prove they’d conceived a child while on vacation, they could win a three-year supply of baby goods.

How much would you pay some guy to wear your company’s ad message on a T-shirt? Would you believe that in 2012 Jason Sadler made half a million dollars a year doing just that? The idea seems almost too simplistic to be profitable, but sure enough, his created a business model that allowed him to make $500,000 per year.

It’s a pretty interesting story, if you haven’t heard about it. His company, I Wear Your Shirt, hung it up in 2013.

In 2004, the Spider-Man movie franchise was gaining a head of steam in advance of its second offering, “Spider-Man 2.” The movie studio, Columbia Pictures, came up with an idea that had never before been broached: place movie ads on the bases. On the field. During games.

Arguably the most traditional fan base ever balked at the idea, which would have placed 6-by-6-inch Spidey logos on first, second and third bases during interleague games. Fortunately, MLB backtracked on the idea. Give Columbia a little credit by thinking outside the box, especially as this was in the days before social media.

So, which of these ad campaigns or placements are inappropriate or unethical in your opinion? Which others stuck in your mind for all of the wrong reasons? Let us know.

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