3 brand campaigns you’ll wish you came up with

3 brand campaigns you’ll wish you came up with


‘This is not how you spell Diesel, yeah?’

I’m guessing you noticed the typo above just as quickly as NYC shoppers did while visiting Diesel’s brand new store in Manhattan.

The store isn’t quite what you’d expect from Diesel: no fancy location, polished flooring or extravagant window displays.

In fact, it’s a tiny market stand smack bang in the middle of knock-off-shop district.

As part of its ongoing ‘Go with the flaw’ campaign, which is all about celebrating imperfections and individuality, the brand pulled off something completely counter-intuitive (yet undeniably clever) by creating its own counterfeits.

With the simple switch of an ‘i’ and an ‘e’, Diesel became ‘Deisel’ – a seller of seemingly fake clothes… that were actually totally legit.

While shoppers believed they were picking up lookalikes at haggled-down prices, what they were actually getting was authentic Diesel goods at a fraction of their RRP.

Sure, there was a downside. Buyers had to walk around with incorrectly spelt logos on their hoodies.

But that’s kind of the whole point. Diesel managed to powerfully illustrate its messaging in a real life scenario, using itself as the vehicle to do so. And the best thing is, customers benefited almost as much as brand awareness did, by getting huge discounts on name-brand items.

Here’s the video in full:

[arve url=””]

We think this campaign is just brilliant. It was the talk of the office for a good couple of days here, and considering the amount of brand campaigns we discuss, that really says a lot.



For any readers not based in the UK, I need to fill you in on a full-scale national crisis that occurred recently.

Nope, I’m not referring to contentious political issues (although we’ve got a fEU of those too…)

What I’m talking about is KFC running out of chicken.

Following ‘operational issues’ with the company’s new delivery provider (hang your head in shame, DHL) almost all of the country’s KFC branches were temporarily closed due to a lack of a pretty key ingredient – chicken.

It was a disaster for everyone. Apart from McDonald’s, which came out of the whole debacle quite well.

In all seriousness though, people really didn’t take it well. The police even had to issue a reminder that the problem – branded #KFCCrisis – was not a police matter.

This is half hilarious, half shameful.

KFC_chicken crisis 2

Anyway, soon enough the problem was resolved and restaurants began reopening, much to the delight of the KFC-starved British public.

And rather than shy away from the controversy or have a massive pity party, KFC said sorry like this:

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 16.26.35

Photo cred: BBC

The full-page ad ran in two popular British tabloids, featuring an apology letter and a cheeky reordering of logo letters to spell out ‘FCK’ instead of ‘KFC’. The coverage quickly hit online headlines too, dominating chicken-related conversations on social media and news sites.

Even for seasoned grudge-holders, still reeling from chicken-shortage shock, it would have been damn difficult to resist having a sly smile.

When a brand manages to bounce back from bad press, it’s a job well done. But what’s really impressive is a response so slick, it turns reputational damage into reputational reward. And I think this is what KFC has done here.

For what it’s worth though, I would have gone with ‘Sorry we clucked up’.


Outdoor Voices

Activewear brand Outdoor Voices is based in Austin, Texas, which is also the home of South by Southwest (SXSW) – a prominent yearly creative event featuring a mix of film, interactive media, music festivals and conferences.

The brand – whose slogan is ‘Doing Things’ – chose this year’s SXSW to launch its new AR app, which has an interesting twist that fits in seamlessly with its brand ethos: location-specific shopping.

To unlock products, users have to physically visit certain places around Austin (hiking trails, running routes etc.), point their in-app camera towards the ground and walk towards the item that appears.

Outdoor Voices_AR app

While the 3D clothing hovers in mid-air, viewers can walk around it to check it out from all angles, and swipe up or use Apple Pay to buy it there and then.

Aside from the sophisticated AR/location-tracking tech behind the app, the brand’s commitment to its core values (encouraging people to get outdoors and experience what life has to offer) is also laudable – especially as it’s at the expense of wider exposure and availability of the products.

However, on the flip side of that restricted visibility, Outdoor Voices could actually end up generating more interest and exclusivity by location-gating, and essentially gamifying, item discovery.

Think about it like this: if you had to trek up half a mountain to find a pair of workout trousers, had the chance to get a close-up look at them, and could only buy them there and then – you’d probably decide your effort was worthy of a new wardrobe addition.

Or at least you’re much more likely to think that than if you could sit on the sofa in your jammies and order the same trousers whenever the hell you wanted.