How to get the competition to advertise your brand

DHL understands better than most that a traditional advertising campaign is expensive and ineffective. But it still wanted to market itself, especially in the face of more efficient and effective competition.

So the firm decided to trick its competitors into advertising DHL across a city in the US.

DHL sent packages via competitors such as TNT and UPS to addresses that were awkward to deliver to. To ensure they weren’t caught the boxes were covered with a special ink that turned black when the boxes were chilled to sub-zero temperatures.

The ink was temperature-activated and as it warmed up, the ink faded revealing a large message that said “DHL is faster.”

The poor deliverymen had to struggle through crowds to deliver the large boxes. Whilst it’s unlikely many people actually noticed anything but it is bound to get a lot of viral exposure.

I’m looking forward to the response from UPS and the others!


4 thoughts on “How to get the competition to advertise your brand

  1. Hey, developing an ad campaign for a golf company that wants to advertise their products as high fashion. We are currently developing a slogan and have developed one that shows our bags as attractive and hard to stop looking at. Similar to how its hard to stop looking at someone attractive, we also want that same feeling to be associated with our bags. Therefore, we came up with the tagline “It’s rude to stare” and we are going to have an ad with the golf bag and tagline bellow. Do you think this is a good tagline for the product?


    1. Thanks for asking.

      There’s nothing wrong with it although I’d need more information before commenting professionally.

      But advertising is increasingly inneffective (Gartner estimates that mass marketing campaigns now have only a 2% response rate and this is declining annually) so the execution and channels used and the integration with other elements of the brand strategy will be key to the success of your campaign.


    1. That’s impressive but I can’t help think that the ad will backfire on them as consumers enjoy it but think it is sneaky, devious and a bit below the belt. And will it influence change? Personally I doubt it.


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