3 of the Most Unique yet Successful Marketing Tactics

Cards Against Humanity

By now, most people have experienced the vulgarity and outrageously humorous card game Cards Against Humanity. The premise is to match one of your white cards with the given black card to create the funniest possible phrase or sentence. The ensuing results are a mix of hilarity and awkwardness. This game alone is enough to attract quite a wide audience, but the marketing team at Cards Against Humanity didn’t want to stop there. One of their more unique tactics employed involved actually increasing their prices on Black Friday. CAH went against the traditional decrease in price like every other business, and managed to earn just as much, if not more sales than the Black Friday prior to that year’s. The company has sort of prided itself on going against the norm in terms of advertising, and it seems to pay off nearly every time.

Volkswagen

Car companies in the early 20th century advertised their automobiles with a typical standard that can be seen all over the world: better performing than the rest. However, Volkswagen took a different approach in 1960. The “Think Small” campaign was arguably one of the most successful and controversial car advertisements during that time, and is still seen as a standard in the history of marketing. During this time, many Americans avoided the small, German-made cars following the United States’ issues with the country, so Volkswagen played off of just that. This was a perfect example of selling your product for exactly what it is, and not pretending to be anything else.

Snickers

One of the most satisfying candy bars out there, Snickers targeted their slogan after exactly that. “Snickers Satisfies” was the company’s slogan up until 2010, when they launched one of the most successful rebranding campaigns in candy bar history. As the first commercial aired during the first break of Super Bowl XLV, Snickers took advantage of this spotlight to launch their new slogan “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” The commercial featured senior stars Betty White and Abe Vigoda as two representations of fatigued football players, taking hard tackles throughout the game. Upon eating Snickers bars, they effectively become “themselves” again. The humor incorporated greatly benefitted the company, as global sales following the ad campaign increased by 15.9%.

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How to Spark Your Creative Genius

Losing your sense of creativity or simply failing to find the inspiration needed to to create the best work possible is something all writers face. It can be frustrating and debilitating, which can lead to a forced piece of written material lacking in passion. If you as a writer are struggling to get in touch with your inner creative genius, just know that everyone goes through the same thing, even the best of us. Consider any of the following strategies to wake that sense of imagination and originality.

Understand and Practice Monotony

This seems entirely counterintuitive, but taking part in an activity, or not, that is mundane and downright boring can lead to a wandering mind. A study published on Sage Journals stated that this mindlessness and attempt to subconsciously entertain one’s self can actually promote creative thinking. Some monotonous tasks you could take part in include cleaning your house or work area, counting the number of items on your desk, or simply staring at a wall! Don’t get too excited.

Void Yourself of Distractions

All writers seek to eliminate distraction to some extent, so this is nothing new, but it can do wonders for your creativity. Depending on the area in which you prefer to write, make sure any televisions are off, your phone is on silent, and you are left with nothing but your thoughts. This free-thinking mindset will spark thoughts that you may not have been able to access with distractions or background noise.

Fill the Room With Distractions

I know what I said. While eliminating all possible distractions is a good way of promoting creativity, conversely, distracting yourself with a variety of activities can have the same effect. When you are deeply focused on a single task, your brain effectively ignores all other stimuli around you, which can limit your mindset to that one specific project. Actually delving into the distractions around you can spark ideas for a number of different solutions to one problem. Read a magazine, listen to music, or watch a brief amount of television to get the creative juices flowing.

For the entire blog and more, check out my site LeonardRaymundo.com!

5 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block

Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Your calendar just cleared for the weekend, and that excitement of sitting down to write starts to build. You wake up, make your coffee, walk your dogs, before finally opening up your laptop with the intention of using your time to hammer away at that manuscript you’ve talked about since forever.

Except, when it comes time to actually move your fingers to start writing, you hit a wall. You stare at that blank word document, searching for answers that may or may not come.

It’s a feeling that all writers have come across at some point. With writing inevitably comes moments of stagnancy where you feel as though every ounce of creativity you ever had has been completely exhausted. Writer’s block affects almost everyone whose interests lie within a pen and paper. This temporary inability to think can be caused by fear of critique, wanting to create something perfect, or simply a lack of motivation. Here are a few techniques to aid in getting out of this creative slump.

Get up and move

It may seem simple, but going for a leisurely stroll around the block can do wonders for one’s mental clarity. Walking and physical activity in general reduces stress, relieves anxiety, and boosts creativity. If there happens to be inclement weather that day, try yoga, or other meditative practices. The trick is to clear your mind. Sitting around your desk wallowing in self-pity from your lack of imagination will only worsen your writer’s block.

Change your environment

Many writers tend to lose motivation over time from a stale environment. A writing area that remains unchanged for years can easily turn into a place of dread if you begin to associate that area with negativity, regardless of aesthetics. Rearrange the layout of your desk or of the room entirely. Add a few plants, paintings, or candles to inspire yourself, and create a whole new atmosphere that feels different. If you’d prefer to leave your current area of creativity as is, even writing outside or in a different room can be the environmental change your mind needs.

Freewrite

Writing when you’re experiencing writer’s block may seem counter intuitive. One simple solution is to write about just that. Describe your feelings about your current situation, and expand on the frustration of not being able to write in general. An alternative to this method would be to look around the room and write about what you see. Though it may feel forced, getting your pen moving can actually promote mental activity, leading to a wider range of thought.

Indulge in another form of creativity

Your temporary absence of thought when writing could be limited to just that. Direct your creativity towards another hobby like painting, playing an instrument, building a house of cards, or cooking, for example. The key is to keep the creative part of your brain active regardless of the task. Focusing on other art forms could put an end to that mental pause, and get you back into the flow of writing.

Eliminate distractions

Common causes of writer’s block are consistently checking one’s phone, surfing the internet, or constant interaction with others. Anything that can direct your attention away from writing should be considered a distraction, and should be set aside for the time being. Turn off your phone, unplug your internet connection, and lock the door. While you may feel like a bit of a recluse, disconnecting yourself from the outside world can help your brain tap into its most creative portion.

Writer’s block can truly discourage those who believe the pen is mightier than the sword from thinking so. Do not let this pessimism consume you. Try some of the strategies listed above if you’re experiencing a creative deficit to keep your pen or pencil moving.

Visual Writing: Painting a Mental Picture

Captivating your audience as a writer can be fairly difficult due to a number of factors, including the topic of the piece, the attention span of the reader, and most importantly, the style of writing. An effective way to attract readers and inspire them to continue reading is writing visually, and by that I mean creating images within the heads of those reading simply through your choice of words.

A definition of “good” visual writing would be painting mental pictures in your audience’s minds without them even realizing you are doing so. In order to engage your readers, they’ll want to be able to see the action taking place in their heads. However, don’t have the mindset that bigger is better. More action, violence, or drama in general doesn’t necessarily translate to visuality. Focus on the detail of every scene in your narrative. This includes things like the set, symbol, and characters.

The line “It was nighttime when I awoke.” gives little insight as to what the character is actually seeing in that moment. As the narrator, imagine yourself in that position, and expand on what could possibly be seen. This line could convey much more visuality if it were to say “I awoke to a dark room dimly lit by moonlight, with shadows cast by the items on my desk next to the window.” Already the audience has an idea of what that room looks like, and can put themselves in that position.

Symbols and motifs are also great ways to further describe each scene. The items on the desk mentioned above could be better detailed depending on the mood. If this is a horror story for example, the character could describe seeing the silhouette of a doll standing on the desk casting a shadow, when the doll was previously on the floor before he or she fell asleep. Or, if you would prefer to be a little less obvious, the doll could be a recurring theme that symbolizes a specific thought the character is having about another character in the piece.

Another aspect of visual writing to consider is the depth of emotion that you wish to channel in any given scene. Things to play off of can include the focus of a specific image, duration, already connected emotions, and the genre of the piece. For example, in a dramatic play, describing a moment where the main character is looking at a picture of his or her deceased father, and going into great detail as to what he or she is seeing, feeling, and hearing in that instance can perpetuate the anguish of the piece.

It is important to remember that images are subjectively interpreted. Asking a large group of people to describe a tree for example, will result in possibly hundreds of variations. The same can be said when asking that group how a specific image of a tree makes them feel. Some may react positively, while others react negatively. With that said, it is not an easy task composing a picture that you want to convey one single emotion, but focusing on that picture with words that give emotional context can help.

While stories are typically comprised of a beginning, middle, and end, it’s the scenes in between that build each. Visual writing is vital in establishing characters’ motivations, the theme, and the plot as a whole, and could spell the difference between a subpar story, and a great story.

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