Bright Side

10 Times a Cool Story Turned Out to Be Nothing More Than a Classy Ad

We often see bright examples of very creative marketing campaigns in our day-to-day. But just imagine how powerful and effective a campaign can be if it hides its true intention until the very end! For example, you can create a new public figure that everyone believes is real, or invite hundreds of guys on a date without ever letting them in on the trick!

The Bright Side team wants to share some of the greatest marketing examples with you. So get comfortable and enjoy some fascinating stories that show advertising at its best.

The egg that became more popular than famous bloggers

Looks like a regular egg, right? Well, not exactly. This is the most famous post in the entire history of media platforms. The photo appeared on Instagram on January 4, 2019, together with the account, world_record_egg. The creators asked for only one thing: to have more likes than Kylie Jenner’s photo with her newborn daughter (18 million).

The Internet delivered. In just 10 days, the photos of the egg got 18.2 million likes. Jenner, who lost the status of the record holder, recorded a video of her breaking an egg.

For several weeks, the account posted photos where the egg had more and more cracks. On February 1, there was a stitch on the egg, like the kind you’d see on a football. The caption said that everything would be clear on July 4.

The real story:

It all turned out to be Chris Godfrey’s marketing project. He was promoting a service that offers psychological help in different countries. At the time we wrote this article, the first photo had 53.5 million likes.

A builder-influencer that knows about Instagram trends

In June 2019, the Instagram account of Omar, a builder from Austin, got really popular. In his posts, he is actively testing Instagram trends and is a little ironic about them. Today, the new star has half a million subscribers.

“Am I doing it right?”

The story of why Omar is so popular is very interesting. Aside from the content itself, his daughter’s tweet attracted a lot of attention:

“Dad asked me what an influencer was. After I explained, he said, Pssh, I could do that.” And he did. The best part is, he works in construction."
Barbara L

Big media noticed this tweet and the man became popular instantly.

The real story:

Omar is not a hired actor but the account itself is actually the work of the local Cuvée Coffee Bar owner named Mike McKim. This was discovered thanks to an investigation done by Buzzfeed. By the way, the company’s coffee appeared in the builder’s hashtags way before the truth was exposed.

The creative team did all the promotion for the page and the builder doesn’t even have access to it. He only takes part in the photo shoots and gets paid. According to McKim, the company hoped to get at least 1,000 subscribers and didn’t expect to become this popular. McKim also said that the tweet by Omar’s daughter was fake and he, just like Omar himself, had no idea who wrote it.

“No photos please, don’t disappoint people.”

The local municipality of the Bergün village in Switzerland made a decision to forbid tourists from taking pictures of it. The locals explained their harsh decision this way: scientists proved that people who see pictures of beautiful places they can’t visit can become terribly depressed.

People treated this law very seriously. Breaking the law resulted in a fine of 5 Swiss francs (the money was spent on protecting the environment). To prevent taking pictures, at the entrance to the village, the authorities put warning signs and the local tourism office deleted all the photos of the village from official sources.

The real story:

This was actually a marketing campaign performed by a creative agency from Zurich. Just imagine: the campaign was prepared for 6 months and all the locals and authorities took part in it, and even the law itself was published in the official Facebook account. Even though it was fake, the trick was effective and the number of tourists in Bergün increased significantly.

Shoes with a secret

A huge American retailer opened an elite shoe store called Palessi in Santa Monica (in the US). Popular and respectable fashion enthusiasts were invited to the opening ceremony. In the very first hour, $3,000 dollars worth of shoes were sold and a pair cost somewhere around $200 to $650. All the invited fashion industry experts praised the quality of the material and the stylish design.

The real story:

Sounds kind of boring, right? Here’s the thing: it was a fake store and the famous American chain, Payless was responsible for opening it. The so-called boutique had shoes that didn’t cost more than $40 a pair. According to the organizers, it was a social experiment to demonstrate that cheap doesn’t always mean bad. Payless compensated the “victims” for some of the money paid, but what happened was recorded on camera. Just look at the faces of people learning the truth. The photo above shows one of the customer’s reactions.

“Horror” from Red Bull

On March 20, 2019, Los Angeles inhabitants saw an unknown sparkling object in the sky. People online started panicking and inventing terrible ideas about what it could be. The ideas were very different, from a meteor that fell on the city to an alien invasion. The police had to respond to calm everyone down. People were told that it was just a new film being shot.

The real story:

The police were right but not entirely. It was a film shoot, but not for a movie — it was for a Red Bull video. This company produces energy drinks and always shocks the world with its strange campaigns.

This time, the Red Bull air forces celebrated the supermoon (this is when the moon is at its closest to the earth). The team flew over the city in special wingsuits. In order to be more noticeable, they attached some pyrotechnical devices to them that made their tracks look like a comet. You can see the full story here.

Tinder trap

On August 18, 2018, several dozens of young men expected to meet a girl at Union Square in New York. There was a stage nearby but nobody suspected anything other than a DJ who was supposed to give a show later that day. But soon, a girl went on the stage and every guy recognized her as the girl they were going to meet — Natasha.

She said hello to everyone and said that the Tinder app they all met her on was complicated, so she decided to choose a guy herself. But in order to spend time with her, they had to fight.

This is a photo of the stage, uploaded by one of the “victims”.

She instantly ruled out guys based on certain features like men with long beards, beer bellies, or those who had been dumped in their last relationship, just to name a few. Many guys left because they were furious with what she did. For everyone who stayed, Natasha organized something that looked similar to The Hunger Games with competitions that called for running and push-ups. They had 1 minute to explain why they were the best pick. The ones who lost were “swiped left” as you do on the app. The story was shared on Twitter by one of the invited guys and others confirmed it was true.

The real story:

As it turned out, this weird social event was made by the agency, Rob Bliss Creative. The point of the experiment was to let men understand that the rude style of communication that is so popular on Tinder should be given up for good.

Taco Bell and a bad joke

The Taco Bell fast-food franchise made a decision to buy the famous national symbol of the US — the Liberty Bell. News of this first appeared on April 1, 1996, in several major news agencies. It came from a trustworthy PR company, so nobody doubted it was true.

The real story:

Of course, it was an April Fools joke and the representatives of Taco Bell revealed the truth by midday. But people were already furious. Protesters started to gather at the doors of the restaurants and the state senators sent letters to the administration of the park where the Liberty Bell was located. As a result, the company lost about $300,000. But thanks to the constant messages with the name of the company in the news, the restaurant ended up having way more customers. According to experts, the company earned about $25 million thanks to this story.

Explosive creativity

In 2007, the Los Angeles police started to receive messages saying that newspaper vending machines were planted with red bombs that looked like transmitters. Because of these devices, a medical veteran center was evacuated and one of the Los Angeles Times newspaper vending machines had exploded.

The real story:

This was all a bad marketing ploy by Mission: Impossible III. Witnesses said that these devices merely played the sound of the popular soundtrack and didn’t explode, but this didn’t make people worry any less. The Paramount company had to pay $75,000 to fix the situation.

Big Lebowski and the pain of its fans

On January 24, Jeff Bridges’ (the actor who played Lebowski in the Coen brothers’ Big Lebowski) twitter account posted a video with a mysterious caption, “Can’t be living in the past, man. Stay tuned.” Fans of the film instantly started discussing the tweet, hoping it was a teaser for the sequel of the iconic film.

The real story:

Fans were really disappointed when instead of a sequel to the film, they received a beer commercial featuring Bridges as Dude and Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City.

“Push to add drama.”

This viral video is one of the oldest hits on the Internet. This is a marketing campaign by an American TV channel in Belgium that random passersby took part in. It doesn’t make any sense to describe anything here, you just have to see it yourself if you haven’t already or if you’ve forgotten by now.

Do you think it’s appropriate to mislead people for marketing purposes? Tell us down below.