Marketing Strategy Blog

11 Insane B2B Marketing Campaigns That Rocked

megaphone displaying marketing campaigns that rocked

It’s easy to stick to the tried-and-true, isn’t it? You know what works—you’ve seen it time and again—and it’s tempting to play it safe.

But sometimes, it’s the bold, the bizarre, and the utterly unexpected that capture attention, spark conversations, and drive virality. Outside of guerrilla marketing efforts, how are brands cutting through the noise and getting noticed?

In this article, we’ll cover 11 crazy marketing campaigns from brilliant marketing teams that used the element of surprise, turned conventional wisdom on its head, and connected with audiences in a deeply memorable way through an innovative marketing strategy.

The result? Skyrocketing brand awareness, engagement rates through the roof, and ROI make even the most skeptical CFOs sit up and take notice. Let’s have a look at these exceptional digital marketing examples.

Slack’s “The Big Meeting”

Slack’s “The Big Meeting” ad transforms the usual stress of preparing for a crucial client meeting into a vibrant, comedic musical. It’s an excellent case study of how Slack’s workplace communication platform streamlines collaboration and productivity with flair.

A sales team gets ready for an unexpectedly moved meeting. While one member humorously insists on over-the-top preparations, the rest use Slack’s features to effortlessly organize and execute their tasks.

Key takeaways

  • Musical comedy format: The choice to present the ad as a musical is a bold one. Not only is this format entertaining, but it also showcases Slack’s features. It’s funny and catchy, making it stand out from typical tech ads.
  • Narrative illustration of features: The narrative integrates Slack’s features, such as file searching, communication, and task organization, into the storyline. Through this approach, the ad shows how Slack simplifies workplace productivity without resorting to jargon or dry explanations.
  • Contrast between chaos and efficiency: The ad sets up a stark contrast between the chaotic, traditional approach to meeting preparation and the streamlined, efficient method provided by Slack. Slack makes teams more productive by cutting through the noise and focusing on what really matters.

Squarespace’s “Hello Down There”

The Squarespace “Hello Down There” ad flips the script on alien invasion narratives. Instead of causing panic, the extraterrestrial saucer goes unnoticed until its occupants turn to Squarespace to build a website. The tagline, “A website makes it real,” appears on the screen, underlining how much legitimacy a website can add.

Key takeaways

  • Unique concept: The marketing idea of aliens using a website to announce their invasion is original. This unexpected twist captures attention and makes the ad memorable.
  • Product value demonstration: The ad highlights Squarespace’s core value proposition: a business website has the power to help you gain visibility. It conveys that a website can get anyone noticed—even aliens.

With over a million views in just a week, the ad is a great way to educate the brand’s target audience about the power of a strong online presence.

Intuit Quickbooks “For the Hero Behind the Heroes”

Intuit QuickBooks’ ad “For the Hero Behind the Heroes” humorously features the legendary warrior Queen Boudica consulting her accountant, Simon, about improving her chariot. Set in a historical context—the ad illustrates how QuickBooks empowers accountants and positions them as unsung heroes.

Key takeaways

  • Accountants’ empowerment: The ad emphasizes the importance of accountants in their clients’ success. This reinforces QuickBooks’ commitment to providing accountants with valuable tools.
  • Product functionality showcase: The mention of checking the dashboard for tax-deductible items displays QuickBooks’ features. It highlights how the software simplifies complex tasks for accountants, improves the customer experience, and makes their work “less of a battle.”
  • Historical context with a modern twist: The ad’s use of a historical figure like Queen Boudica in a modern-day accounting scenario is clever and funny. The creative mix of past and present makes the message pop.

This ad positions Intuit QuickBooks as a tool that aids in everyday accounting tasks and elevates the role of accountants to that of essential advisors.

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Acrobat’s Got It “Baby Proof”

In Adobe Acrobat’s “Baby Proof” commercial, we see a financial advisor’s quick thinking as he salvages a yearly report from his curious child. He repairs the document, converts it to a PDF, secures it with a password, and shares it.

The ad creates hype about Acrobat’s features in a relatable, high-pressure scenario. Playing a catchy yet slightly irritating tune in the background adds humor to the ad.

Key takeaways

  • Real-world scenario: The ad brilliantly showcases Acrobat’s features through a relatable situation: protecting important work from family chaos. This real-life applicability shows how Adobe Acrobat fits into and simplifies professional lives.
  • Feature highlights: By focusing on key functionalities like quick fixes, PDF conversion, password protection, and easy sharing, the ad communicates Adobe Acrobat’s value proposition. There’s more to it than just what the software does—it’s about how it can help you in a pinch.
  • Humorous and memorable: The ad’s use of humor, especially through the catchy song, makes a potentially dry topic engaging and memorable. This creative choice ensures viewers remember the product and its benefits.

Adobe Acrobat’s “Baby Proof” ad uses relatability, product demonstration, and humor to appeal to its target audience and illustrates how Acrobat can be a lifesaver in everyday work scenarios.

Amazon Business’ “Rome in a Day”

Amazon Business’s “Rome in a Day” ad reimagines the age-old saying, suggesting that you can achieve even the most monumental task with Amazon Business. It highlights Amazon Business’s plus points—discounted bulk orders, buying guides, and analytics.

Key takeaways

  • Historical parallel: The ad draws a witty parallel between building Rome and modern business challenges. It positions Amazon Business as a powerful tool that could have changed history and underscores its impact on today’s businesses.
  • Unique display of features: The Roman backdrop contextualizes Amazon Business’s features. Bulk orders and analytics aren’t only helpful for building a city—they also help business leaders manage complex projects and procurement.
  • Aspirational brand messaging: The ad encourages viewers to think big by invoking the grandeur of Rome. Besides Amazon Business’s practical benefits, it inspires leaders to create their own monumental achievements. Amazon Business is the catalyst for turning ambitious visions into reality with its aspirational tone.

By using a historical analogy, this creative ad shows Amazon Business’s power and efficiency.


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Salesforce’s “Gold Rush”

Salesforce’s “Gold Rush” commercial, featuring Matthew McConaughey, cleverly uses the metaphor of the Wild West to frame AI as the new frontier in data exploration. McConaughey asks, “If AI is the Wild West, does that make data the new gold?” This ad, with over 3 million views on YouTube, draws a vivid parallel between the historical gold rush and business today.

Key takeaways

  • Simplicity in complexity: This ad shines in its ability to distill a complex subject into a simple, engaging message. By asking a straightforward yet profound question, it invites viewers to rethink AI’s role in modern business and sparks curiosity and discussion among its target audience.
  • High-profile endorsement: Having Matthew McConaughey deliver the message adds a layer of gravitas and intrigue. His smooth, confident delivery makes a complex subject like AI approachable and interesting. Plus, his star power boosts the ad’s visibility (evident from those YouTube views).
  • Striking metaphor: The Wild West analogy is a masterstroke. It captures emotion in real-time using images of exploration, adventure, and untapped potential that mirrors the current state of AI. This metaphor is an excellent way to conceptualize the value and possibilities of AI in data handling.

The commercial taps into the collective imagination and makes a complex subject matter engaging and relatable.

HubSpot CRM’s “A Smooth CRM for Rough Seas”

HubSpot CRM’s campaign, “A Smooth CRM for Rough Seas,” features actress and comedian Kathryn Hahn, who brings a unique blend of authenticity and charisma to the screen.
In this ad, HubSpot turns Hahn into an influencer who navigates the choppy waters of business challenges and showcases HubSpot CRM as the ultimate solution for staying afloat in a turbulent market (or waters).

Key takeaways

  • Celebrity influence: Kathryn Hahn’s involvement isn’t just star power for the sake of it. Her relatable persona and comedic timing bring life to the complexity of CRM software and make it accessible (and surprisingly fun) for a wider audience. It highlights the power of a well-chosen celebrity face that resonates with your target audience—not just any big name will do.
  • Storytelling brilliance: The ad is a narrative journey. Hahn’s character grapples with chaotic business scenarios that mirror your clients’ daily challenges. This storytelling approach empathically connects with the audience’s pain points.
  • Clever integration of product features: The ad skillfully integrates HubSpot CRM’s features—seamless integration, ease of use, and robust analytics—into an engaging narrative. It’s a subtle yet effective way to educate the audience about the product without overwhelming them with technical jargon.

This campaign is a great example of how integrating a well-known personality and clever product placement can create a memorable campaign.

Upwork’s Zombie Handshake commercial

Upwork’s Zombie Handshake commercial takes a humorous, undead twist to highlight how hiring has changed. The ad cleverly contrasts the old, painstaking process of finding great talent with the ease and global reach of Upwork.

It communicates that—unlike in the past, where you’d metaphorically “give your right arm” to find quality hires—Upwork brings skilled professionals from around the world directly to you. Ultimately, the zombie loses both arms and doesn’t shake hands with the latest candidate, showing that remote work doesn’t require that.

Key takeaways

  • Humor as a hook: The use of a zombie to deliver the message is an instant attention-grabber. It’s not every day you see the undead talk about the challenges of hiring pre-Upwork. This unique approach makes the ad memorable and sets it apart from typical corporate commercials.
  • Global talent pool: Highlighting the “highly skilled talent from all over the globe” addresses a crucial pain point—finding the right talent—while emphasizing Upwork’s solution.
  • Creative visual metaphor: The ad uses a zombie, traditionally a symbol of dread and fear, in a light-hearted manner to underscore how daunting it once felt to scout for talent. This unexpected twist grabs attention and illustrates the shift in hiring dynamics thanks to Upwork.

Why does it work? The commercial uses humor to draw in viewers and then delivers a strong, relatable message about the ease and benefits of using Upwork for hiring. It speaks directly to leaders looking for efficient, innovative solutions to talent acquisition. This blend of entertainment and information communicates Upwork’s product’s value proposition.

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1Password’s “Cybersecurity and Skin Care”

The 1Password ad, featuring Ryan Reynolds as the owner of the Wrexham football club, addresses the importance of cybersecurity. Reynolds, in his signature comedic style, surprises the team by focusing on cyber protection with 1Password, rather than the expected pep talk on football tactics.

The twist? The team is already familiar with 1Password.

Key takeaways

  • Celebrity influence: Ryan Reynolds brings his unique blend of humor and charm to make a typically dry topic like cybersecurity engaging and memorable. His involvement elevates the ad’s appeal and broadens its reach (obvious due to the 1+ million views on YouTube and chatter on social media).
  • Humorous approach: The ad’s use of humor, especially Reynolds threatening to shove a red card “so far up your ass people will think it’s your tongue,” makes a serious topic like cybersecurity funny. It’s a clever tactic to keep viewers entertained while educating them about digital security.
  • Universal appeal: The ad cleverly taps into Reynolds’ ownership of a football club to bridge the gap between sports and tech and to show cybersecurity as a universal concern. The unanimous raise of hands when he asks about 1Password shows its widespread recognition and adoption.

The ad uses Ryan Reynolds’ star power and humor to transform the conversation around cybersecurity and makes it accessible and surprisingly entertaining for a broad audience.

Matomo’s GA4 Oppenheimer Parody Trailer

Matomo’s “Googleheimer” parody trailer taps into popular culture and mirrors the anticipation surrounding Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer biopic to critique Google’s analytics transition.

With humor and satire, it targets the frustrations surrounding the mandatory switch to GA4 to capture the anxiety and uncertainty marketers and web specialists face. By highlighting these issues, Matomo positions itself as a viable, privacy-focused alternative to Google’s analytics behemoth and focuses on the choice available to users who prioritize data privacy and ethical analytics practices.

Key takeaways

  • Timely and topical humor: Using the buzz around a major film release, Matomo’s parody connects through a familiar cultural reference. The strategic alignment captures attention and amplifies the trailer’s message through shared anticipation and excitement, creating relevant content around its critique of GA4.
  • Direct address of market pain points: By humorously spotlighting the real concerns of marketers—such as data ownership and privacy—Matomo’s trailer resonates with its target audience. Taking this approach demonstrates not just Matomo’s empathy towards GA4’s challenges but also its understanding of these frustrations.
  • Positioning as an ethical alternative: Behind the satirical jabs is a serious message about privacy. Matomo uses this opportunity to differentiate itself on ethical grounds, appealing to those in the industry who seek a tool that aligns with their ethical and privacy values.

Matomo’s “Googleheimer” crazy marketing campaign is a masterclass in creatively critiquing competitors while highlighting one’s unique value proposition.

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Workday’s “Rock Star” Commercial

Workday’s Rock Star Super Bowl LVII commercial went viral for all the right reasons. It humorously critiques the corporate world’s overuse of “rock star” to describe top-notch work.

Featuring music legends like Ozzy Osbourne, Joan Jett, Billy Idol, and Paul Stanley from KISS, the ad made a splash at the Super Bowl by showcasing these icons detailing the gritty realities of a rock star’s life and contrasting it with corporate achievements.

They highlight the significant contrast between performing on global music tours and achieving success in a professional office environment. Additionally, they promote Workday’s software as a tool designed for professional advancement, not for musical achievement.

Key takeaways

  • Celebrity star power: Including genuine rock legends is a stroke of genius. It’s not every day you see Ozzy Osbourne and Joan Jett discussing corporate jargon, which is exactly why the ad has over 80k views. Having them around grabs attention and adds credibility to the criticism of corporate misuse of the term “rock star”.
  • Humorous reality check: The ad uses self-deprecating humor from these rock icons to highlight the disparity between the glamorized rock and roll lifestyle and corporate achievements. This humorous approach makes the ad entertaining and memorable and delivers its message lightheartedly.
  • Self-deprecating humor and message: The commercial acknowledges the dedication required for both corporate and musical success yet underscores the unique challenges of the rock and roll lifestyle and pokes fun at its own use of the word.

Workday’s Rockstar commercial is a clever reminder that rockstars can exist in multiple forms. It resonates with professionals striving to excel in their careers, encouraging them to take pride in their achievements without needing to borrow the rock and roll vocabulary.

Why Thinking Outside the Box Pays Off

And there you have it—11 crazy marketing campaigns that not only rocked but also set new benchmarks for what’s achievable in marketing. The tried and true efforts of industry leaders like Burger King, Red Bull, McDonald’s and Skittles definitely have their place in marketing, but these examples push the envelope and show what’s possible in the B2B SaaS world.

Each campaign’s unique blend of creativity, audacity, and sheer marketing genius proves that thinking outside the box isn’t just a cliché—it’s a strategy that pays off. These campaigns demonstrate that when you dare to be different, you ignite conversations, foster connections, and drive unprecedented results.

But what’s next for you and your brand? How do you create a campaign that breaks the mold yet resonates with your audience?

Say goodbye to mediocre marketing and push the boundaries of what’s possible in your marketing efforts. Let’s make your next campaign not just successful but legendary. Stratabeat is the only B2B marketing agency that:

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