5 Big Marketing Stunts That Worked and What We Can Learn From Them

5 Big Marketing Stunts That Worked and What We Can Learn From Them

#IHOb pic.twitter.com/evSxKV3QmT After days of speculation, IHOP(b?) Your brand can easily do this with a marketing campaign. Their marketing stunts have been wonderfully outlandish over the last few years, and it’s a formula that works for the brand. Brand everything. Know your audience. Net neutrality is a complicated issue, but Burger King was able to explain the effects in terms anyone can understand. By making the message accessible to all—as well as humorous—they are providing crucial education for their audience. Appeal to your customers’ emotions. Our blog post, Social Media and Psychology: 4 Things Marketers Need to Know, shares more ideas for including emotion in your campaigns. Any marketing stunt has the power to strengthen—or sink—your brand.

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social media stunts

A big marketing stunt has the potential to either make or break your business.

While a misstep could wreck your brand’s reputation, a success could catapult your business into viral success. From brand awareness to driving sales, the right marketing stunt can help businesses of all sizes reach their goals.

Continue reading to discover:

  • How top brands have pulled off successful marketing stunts
  • Why being disruptive can be a good thing when it comes to your brand
  • Tips on embracing the bizarre in your campaigns


With one of the most talked about marketing stunts of 2018, IHOP showed they were more than just a pancake palace.

It all started on June 4th, 2018, when IHOP tweeted that they’d be flipping the ‘P’ around and changing their name to IHOb. They announced that everyone would have to wait to find out what the ‘b’ stood for—something that immediately got everyone guessing.

For 60 pancakin’ years, we’ve been IHOP. Now, we’re flippin’ our name to IHOb. Find out what it could b on 6.11.18. #IHOb pic.twitter.com/evSxKV3QmT

After days of speculation, IHOP(b?) announced that the ‘b’ stood for burgers. Thanks to this campaign, IHOP not only got people associating burgers with their name—seeing word of mouth rise from 19 to 30 percent—but saw their social media popularity skyrocket.

social media stunts

How can your brand follow IHOP’s path to success?

  • Do your research. You can’t just launch a potentially risky campaign out of nowhere. Before making their Twitter announcement, IHOP discovered that social media conversations about pancakes had declined, while the popularity of burgers was steadily increasing. Find out what your customers are talking about online and highlight ways your business can fulfill their needs.
  • Build suspense. IHOP’s first Twitter announcement asked their audience to stay tuned to find out what the mysterious ‘b’ stood for. This lent an air of speculation to the campaign and it became an engaging guessing game for the audience. Your brand can easily do this with a marketing campaign.


SodaStream’s CEO Daniel Birnbaum says “the company is always looking for disruptive ways to create moments of joy.” They definitely succeeded with their 2018 April Fool’s Day campaign.

This marketing stunt had Game of Thrones star Thor “The Mountain” Bjornsson and Shahs of Sunset star Reza Farahan introduce SodaStream’s (fake) new product, the SodaSoak—a sparkling water maker for the bathtub.

“The thing about SodaStream’s campaigns is that they address important themes in a lighthearted and funny way that keeps a finger on the pulse of pop culture,” Bjornsson explains. The approach paid off, with AdWeek reporting “this video reached many top April Fool’s lists and gained brand exposure worth many millions.”

What can your brand do to get on SodaStream’s level?

  • Delight and surprise your audience. By making their commercial in classic infomercial style, there might have been a moment where SodaStream’s audience questioned whether what they were seeing was real. It’s always fun to give your audience something they’re not expecting, so take any opportunity to surprise them with strategic whimsy.
  • Recognize key dates. SodaStream’s campaign was for April Fool’s Day, but there are key dates and celebrations happening almost every day of the year. When relevant, align your campaign to one of these dates and have fun with it.
  • Highlight your product. Even though the SodaSoak isn’t real, the parody still presented the key capabilities of SodaStream’s actual product. Even when watching a spoof, the audience was reminded that the…

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