Direct marketing is all about connecting with customers in a real way. To accomplish this effectively, you often have to come up with some crazy unique and inventive ideas. The next time you’re in a meeting where people are ideating about direct marketing ideas, use these as inspiration to wow the group!

All of the examples below are from Ads Of the World, an excellent online source for all kinds of real and conceptual advertising and marketing examples. This is a truly invaluable inspirational resource for anyone involved with printed marketing deisgn.


Skoda Yeti: Park Assist System

This Postcard was meant to advertise a new parking assist feature on a car. The card contained a little car that you tear off of one side and place on the other. When you stick it onto the designated spot, magnets unexpectedly push the car into the tight parking spot!

Click the link to check out the video and see the card in action.



IKEA Lack Side Table: Pop-up

I just love these little 3D popup ideas (there are several in this post). The basic idea is to engineer something that ships flat but pops up into a 3D object when the receiver opens it. It’s completely uncommon for a Postcard or magazine to jump into the third dimension so even if it’s been done before, the element of surprise is huge and impacting.

This implementation advertises IKEA’s famously cheap little square tables. When you open the magazine insert, out pops a little IKEA table to remind you that you’ve always though about picking a few of those up.




ADT Security System: Box

This one is my favorite on the whole list. It’s probably a little too evil and would surely invite a frivolous lawsuit or two in the U.S., but the shock of seeing this would be pure gold.

The general idea is the same as the IKEA table above. There’s a flat box that is engineered to pop up into a cube. However, this one is much larger and is slipped under the doors of the inhabitants in an apartment building (a mail slot execution could work too).

The effect is that when someone walks in, they see this huge cube in their apartment that says “Breaking into your apartment is easier than you think.” Obviously, it’s advertising a security system.




WWF Earth Hour: Candle Box

This one is fairly simply but proved quite effective. To encourage corporate CEOs to celebrate Earth Hour and shut down all the lights for a single hour, candles were sent to their offices.

The visual message is clear in the image below and the execution is pretty clever. Apparently, corporate support increased 260%. I’d call that a success.




San Jose Blood Bank: Blood Donation