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    Anti-marketing: An alternative way of looking at marketing to sell more

    Anti-marketing: An alternative way of looking at marketing to sell more

    Marketing is everywhere, bombarding us with ads and messages that tell us what to buy and how to live our lives.  But what if there was a way...

    Marketing is everywhere, bombarding us with ads and messages that tell us what to buy and how to live our lives. 

    But what if there was a way to use marketing that wasn’t so in-your-face, that didn’t rely on slick slogans or flashy graphics? 

    Enter anti-marketing: a new approach to selling that’s all about authenticity, humor, and challenging the status quo. 

    In this article, we’ll explore what anti-marketing is and why it works so well. We’ll also take a look at some of the best anti-marketing practices, including using humor and sarcasm, leveraging social media, and challenging industry norms. Plus, we’ll share examples of brands that have successfully used anti-marketing to connect with their audiences and sell more products. 

    So, if you’re tired of the same old marketing tactics and want to try something different, read on to discover the power of anti-marketing.

    Regardless of whether or not you find the courage to embrace the world of alternative marketing, you’ll need a reliable companion to amplify your (anti)marketing efforts with stunning, professional-looking visuals. 

    That’s where VistaCreate comes in handy! Our tool offers a vast library of ready-made templates for you to customize, as well as advanced features to make editing easy!

    What is anti-marketing?

    Anti-marketing is a marketing strategy that involves deliberately rejecting or subverting traditional marketing tactics in order to attract customers through unconventional means. 

    This approach is often used by companies that want to position themselves as unique, edgy, or “anti-establishment” and appeal to a particular audience.

    The biggest driving force behind anti-marketing is a brand’s desire to create an emotional bond with customers. Instead of actively promoting their products or services, businesses that resort to this marketing approach seek to establish a meaningful connection with their target audience first.

    Because of this, one of the defining features of anti-marketing is its focus on authenticity and transparency

    Some other characteristics of anti-marketing include…

    • Daring, edgy nature of ads. 
    • The use of reverse psychology.
    • The use of self-deprecating humor and sarcasm.

    Anti-advertising vs Subversive advertising: What’s the difference? 

    Imagine that the world of marketing is a maze, with various paths leading to different goals. In this maze, subversive advertising and anti-advertising are two different paths that may appear similar, but ultimately lead to vastly different outcomes.

    Subversive advertising can be likened to a winding path that challenges traditional advertising strategies and societal norms. It may be provocative, using unconventional messages to grab the audience’s attention and make them question the status quo.

    Companies can use subversive advertising to appeal to a younger, more rebellious audience or differentiate themselves from their competitors. For example, in 2013, Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” campaign challenged traditional beauty standards and garnered attention by showing women describing themselves to a forensic sketch artist, then having strangers describe them to the same artist, resulting in more flattering sketches.

    Anti-advertising, on the other hand, is like a bulldozer that seeks to demolish the entire advertising industry and consumer culture as a whole. It is a more radical approach, often associated with activist movements and social causes. Anti-advertising employs guerrilla marketing tactics, such as graffiti or street art, to convey a message of dissent and encourage people to reject consumerism. 

    For example, the “Adbusters” movement uses provocative imagery to critique consumer culture and encourage people to think critically about the messages they receive through advertising.

    While subversive advertising and anti-advertising may both challenge traditional advertising strategies and societal norms, they differ in their goals and methods. Subversive advertising aims to disrupt and differentiate, while anti-advertising seeks to dismantle and reject. 

    Why does anti-marketing work: 5 benefits of using anti-marketing to boost sales

    A key goal of any marketing campaign is to get the target audience to buy the product or service it’s promoting. 

    But what happens when anti-marketing comes into the scene? 

    At the end of the day, anti-marketing is brands explicitly telling their potential customers not to shop with them. 

    Surprisingly enough, it… Boosts sales! 

    That’s right, people are weird like that. They like to break the rules and do the opposite of what they’re told to do. 

    So, when brands resort to anti-marketing to promote their products, they tend to increase their bottom line. 

    Let’s look at the most noteworthy benefits of using anti-marketing for brands…

    • Anti-marketing helps capture the attention of a target audience. Often unconventional and unexpected, anti-marketing initiatives are great for capturing the attention of consumers fatigued by traditional marketing messages. By breaking away from the norm, anti-marketing can help brands stand out from the crowd, increase brand awareness and, ultimately, drive sales.
    • Anti-marketing builds authenticity and credibility. The first rule of a successful anti-marketing campaign is to be transparent and honest about brand flaws and limitations. By acknowledging their weaknesses and challenging traditional marketing practices, brands can show that they are more genuine and trustworthy, which can increase consumer loyalty and advocacy.
    • Anti-marketing allows brands to better communicate their values and beliefs. Anti-marketing helps brands put their words into action, and connect with consumer values and beliefs by promoting alternative and more ethical practices. 

    ➡️ Learn more about social entrepreneurship and how being a socially responsible brand can boost your business in our article. 

    • Anti-marketing helps create a memorable brand image. Anti-marketing can be humorous, irreverent, and provocative, which can create a memorable brand image that sticks in consumers’ minds. By creating a distinct and memorable image, brands can increase brand recall and recognition, which can ultimately drive sales.
    • Anti-marketing allows brands to engage with younger audiences. Anti-marketing can be particularly effective in engaging with younger audiences who are more skeptical of traditional marketing messages. By using humor, satire, and user-generated content, brands can create a more interactive and engaging brand experience that resonates with younger consumers, which also increases brand loyalty and drives sales.

    ➡️ Read our article on the secrets of marketing to Gen Z if you want to target younger audiences with your marketing. 

    Anti-marketing can be a risky strategy, as it can alienate some customers and generate negative publicity.

    However, if executed well, it can be highly effective when it comes to creating a unique brand identity, standing out in a crowded market, and connecting with customers on an emotional level.

    Keep reading to learn the best anti-marketing practices and see examples of anti-marketing campaigns from brands that have mastered this art!

    How to use anti-marketing to market your business: 6 best anti-marketing practices and examples of brands that do it successfully

    The first thing you need to understand is that anti-marketing isn’t for everyone

    For your campaign to be a success, it needs to resonate with the public it targets. This is true for any marketing campaign, but especially so for anti-marketing initiatives. 

    Creating a provocative, bold, and loud campaign is a risky move, so you must be absolutely certain your target audience will back it. 

    You’re trying to sell by establishing a robust connection with them, remember? 

    So, your step zero would be to ensure you know your target audience like the back of your hand. That includes both profiling them on a basic level…

    • What demographic information do you have about them, such as age, gender, income, education level, etc.?
    • What are the values and beliefs of your audience? How can your messaging align with these values and beliefs?
    • What motivates your audience to engage with your brand? Is it discounts, quality products, social responsibility, or something else?
    • What channels does your audience use to communicate and receive information? Is it social media, email, print media, or something else?
    • What is your audience’s perception of your brand? Are they loyal customers, or do they have negative associations with your brand?

    And answering more in-depth questions that would help you identify the target audience’s attitude towards your potential anti-marketing stunts:

    • What aspects of traditional marketing does your target audience find annoying or unappealing? 
    • What are the specific language or visual cues that your audience associates with traditional marketing? Are there particular slogans, images, or sounds that they find annoying or manipulative?
    • Are the members of your target audience tired of seeing ads everywhere they go, or do they dislike the way that ads manipulate their emotions?
    • What are the alternative sources of information or entertainment that your audience turns to instead of traditional marketing? Do they prefer to get their information from social media influencers or from friends and family?
    • What values and beliefs does your audience hold that are at odds with traditional marketing tactics? Are they concerned about environmental sustainability, social justice, or the overconsumption of material goods?
    • What types of messaging will resonate with your audience when it comes to anti-marketing? Will they respond to messages that are humorous, satirical, or informative?
    • What channels do members of your target audience use to consume content? Will social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, or Twitter be the most effective channels, or should you rely on more traditional channels like TV or print media?
    • What are your audience’s perceptions of anti-marketing? Are they skeptical of this type of messaging, or do they embrace it as a refreshing alternative to traditional marketing?
    • Who are the influencers that your audience looks to? Are there particular social media accounts or thought leaders that your audience follows?

    Once you’re positive that your target audience is susceptible to anti-marketing, you can start designing your very own anti-marketing campaign. 

    Beware, though! There’s a fine line between good anti-marketing that boosts sales and mediocre anti-marketing that alienates consumers from your brand. 

    To ensure your anti-marketing doesn’t create an unbridgeable chasm between your business and your target audience, you need to follow the best practices of anti-marketing. Keep reading to learn what those are! 

    Be authentic and don’t hide your flaws under seven locks

    Traditional marketing is all about painting your products and services in a good light, often leaving any flaws and imperfections out of the picture. 

    That’s totally logical! You want to convince your target audience that your product is an outstanding investment that can solve all their problems (as opposed to your competitors’ products that might not be as effective, easy to use, or overall amazing). 

    So, you focus on its advantages instead of bashing it. 

    At the end of the day, who wants to pay their hard-earned money for something that doesn’t work as intended or won’t benefit them? 

    The problem with this approach is that modern consumers are extremely smart and tech-savvy. 

    They’re well aware and wary of all the tricks marketers turn to in order to lure in customers. 

    Besides, they have unlimited access to terabytes of information online — and they aren’t afraid to dig up any dirt there might be on you. Most of the time, customers are one Google search away from unbiased reviews, customer testimonials, and a detailed comparison of your offer to that of your competitors. 

    Based on this information, they can make a fact-driven judgment about the real value of your product or service. And if the info they find happens to be different from what you share in your marketing initiatives, you can be sure that your brand reputation will suffer. 

    That’s where anti-marketing comes in handy. ​​Rather than trying to make a product seem perfect, this marketing strategy acknowledges its flaws and presents them in a way that makes the brand more relatable to consumers.

    Thanks to that, brands get to…

    • Build trust and enhance their authenticity. When a brand admits to its flaws, it shows that they are willing to be vulnerable and honest with their customers. 
    • Avoid any negative reviews and returns in the future. By being upfront about your product’s flaws, you can address any concerns your customers may have before they make a purchase.

    Here are a few anti-marketing tactics that can help you market a product:

    • Acknowledge the flaw. The first step in anti-marketing is to acknowledge the flaw. This can be done through marketing messages that openly discuss the flaw and how the company is working to address it.
    • Turn the flaw into a benefit. Marketers can also reframe the flaw as a benefit. For example, a company that sells running shoes with poor traction could market them as “barefoot” shoes that help runners develop better balance and strength. To do this effectively, you need to have lots of creativity and a deep understanding of the target audience’s needs and desires.
    • Use humor. Humor can be an effective way to disarm skeptics and make them more receptive to a marketing message. You can use self-deprecating humor to poke fun at the product’s flaws and show that the company doesn’t take itself too seriously. (More on this later! 👉)
    • Offer a guarantee. A strong guarantee can help overcome the negative perception of a flawed product. By offering a money-back guarantee or a free trial, you can reassure the target audience that they have nothing to lose by trying the product.
    • Leverage social proof. Social proof, such as customer reviews and testimonials, can be a powerful tool in anti-marketing. By highlighting positive reviews and testimonials that acknowledge the product’s flaws, you can show that the product is still worth buying despite its imperfections.

    To make your social proof even more powerful, consider creating a series of infographics you can share on your website or social media. VistaCreate offers a lot of free design templates to help you create appealing, branded visuals in no time!

    ☝️ A thing to consider: If there’s too much wrong with your product, no clever anti-marketing will help. If you have an objectively terrible product on your hands, you might want to invest more in R&D instead of trying to fix the situation with elaborate marketing. 

    Think Small — Volkswagen 

    The “Think Small” campaign by Volkswagen is, perhaps, the most famous example of successful anti-marketing.

    Anti-marketing: An alternative way of looking at marketing to sell more

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    Imagine the following…

    The year is 1959, the US is going through a renaissance, enjoying all the benefits of a booming economy. Every day, new American businesses emerge country-wide, while countless European businesses compete to enter the US market. 

    But there’s one brand in particular that’s trying extra hard to appeal to the American audience. And, frankly speaking, it’s having a difficult time — it has a terribly bad reputation. 

    After WWII, Volkswagen became known as “the Führer’s car”, and Americans aren’t too eager to drive a “Nazi vehicle”. 

    Especially when the vehicle in question was a Beetle. 

    A lemon. (Derogatory. A foreign car with a significant defect or malfunction that makes it unsafe to drive)

    Instead of trying to convince people that Volkswagen Beetle is a stylish and fast status car (clearly not true!), the mind behind the campaign, Bill Bernbach, decided to appeal to a different concept and anti-market the vehicle.

    Let us prove to the world that good taste, good art, and good writing can be good selling.

    Bill Bernbach

    That’s how Lemon. (with a full stop in the headline!) was born.

    Anti-marketing: An alternative way of looking at marketing to sell more

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    Extremely self-deprecating, the advert explained the benefits of the car by pointing out its flaws:

    • “It’s Ugly But It Gets You There”
    • “If You Run Out of Gas, It’s Easy to Push”
    • “Live Below Your Means”
    Anti-marketing: An alternative way of looking at marketing to sell more

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    Here are a few more things that made the campaign truly iconic… 

    • The full stop in the headlines forced the reader to stop and think about the ad for a second longer.
    • Volkswagen couldn’t afford a color print, but it ended up being an advantage when the ad was posted in Life magazine. The rest of the magazine was colorful, so Volkswagen’s message stood out, making a lasting effect on the reader. 
    • The Volkswagen logo, awkwardly positioned between the second and the third column, supplemented the self-deprecating humor.

    ➡️ Learn what neuromarketing says about effective logo placement in ads in our article. 

    And just like that…

    The famous headline Lemon contributed a lot to the success of Volkswagen in America.

    Ogilvy

    Differentiate yourself from other brands 

    When every other business on the market embraces traditional marketing, anti-marketing can be the unique selling point that differentiates you from competition. 

    Instead of doing what everyone else does, you can go in the polar opposite direction and focus on…

    • Challenging cliche marketing messages
    • Crafting honest comparisons between you and your competitors
    • Highlighting your unique features
    • Building a robust relationship with your target audience
    • Building a community around your brand
    • Creating guerrilla marketing campaigns 

    🔥VistaCreate Pro Tip: If you decide to leverage the benefits of guerrilla marketing, you need to make sure you approach the task with the utmost responsibility and plan everything out in advance. Otherwise, your mean-well campaign can turn out a complete disaster — there are plenty of guerrilla marketing fails to learn from! 

    ➡️ Learn more about how to differentiate yourself from the competition in our e-book “How can you stand out from your competitors?”

    Hans Brinker Budget Hotel

    We could’ve easily listed Hans Brinker Budget Hotel as an example of a brand that doesn’t mind shedding light on its flaws, but doing so wouldn’t do this business justice. 

    Hans Brinker Budget Hotel took being honest about its imperfections to another level and turned it into its unique selling point. Their famous slogan is literally “It can’t get any worse, but we’ll do our best!”

    Anti-marketing: An alternative way of looking at marketing to sell more

    Source: Advertisement Hans Brinker Hotel. ©Hans Brinker Hotel.

    As a part of their anti-marketing efforts, the Dutch hostel positions itself as “the worst hotel ever”, and people… Love it!

    Instead of trying to compete with other hostels and hotels (a lot of which are luxurious in the city of Amsterdam), Hans Brinker Hotel took an alternative route and competed for the “worst hotel in the world” title. 

    And it worked! 

    Hans Brinker Budget Hotel’s anti-marketing strategy has been incredibly successful in attracting budget-conscious travelers. By acknowledging its flaws and using humor to create a memorable and engaging message, the hotel has established itself as a unique and appealing destination.

    Anti-marketing: An alternative way of looking at marketing to sell more

    Source: Advertisement Hans Brinker Hotel website

    The hotel’s marketing campaigns have garnered widespread media attention and have been featured in publications such as The New York Times and Forbes.

    Despite the mixed reviews of the Hans Brinker hotel on the internet, I reckon most people will appreciate the humor, sarcasm and ruthless honesty that is visible throughout the entire hostel.

    Manouk, Review Of The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel, The Worst Hotel In The World
    Anti-marketing: An alternative way of looking at marketing to sell more

    Source: Hans Brinker Advertorials. ©Hans Brinker.

    Anti-marketing: An alternative way of looking at marketing to sell more

    Source: Advertisement Hans Brinker Hotel. ©Hans Brinker Hotel.

    One particularly exciting piece of anti-marketing from Hans Brinker Hotel is its “Eco-Tour” campaign. 

    In a short video that came out back in 2012, the business explains how they’re “the most accidentally eco-friendly hotel on the planet.”


    Even though the hotel is obviously mocking its lack of amenities, the deeper “let’s save our planet” message is still there! 

    By the way, if you want to strengthen your brand’s social responsibility and showcase your stance on climate change, make use of our free Earth Day design templates!

    Use humor and sarcasm

    We’ve already mentioned that anti-marketing requires a lot of self-awareness and exquisite humor on your side. This is particularly true if you’re trying to create a positive image for a product or service that has apparent flaws. 

    Remember, though, you shouldn’t force humor. The worst jokes are the ones you have to explain, so don’t make a joke your audience won’t get. 

    Instead, conduct thorough research of your target audience (this was step zero of crafting a compelling anti-marketing campaign) and outline the things they find funny, frustrating, or ridiculous about your brand or your product. 

    Then, design a relatable campaign that mirrors them. 

    Here are a few examples…  

    Marmite — Love it or Hate it

    The sticky, dark brown paste based on yeast extract with a distinctive, salty, powerful flavor and heady aroma. Marmite.

    From this description alone, you can already make up your mind about this spread. You either hate it or love it — no in-between. It’s a truly polarizing food product. 

    But regardless of what your taste buds think about Marmite, chances are, your brain is head over heels for this brand — largely thanks to its outstanding marketing efforts. 

    It’s a world-known cultural phenomenon that has been going viral for the last 30 years. 

    Marmite’s anti-marketing story started back in October 1996, when the brand realized there was absolutely no way to make the world feel good about by-products of beer brewing. Its numerous advantages — health benefits, nutritional value, and funky packaging — fade as soon as the consumer gets a whiff of the product’s questionable smell and taste.

    So, instead of developing a conventional marketing strategy, Marmite decided to tap into the power of anti-marketing and mock its own product. 

    The brand split its corporate website into two sections: for those that love Marmite and those that can’t stand it.

    Anti-marketing: An alternative way of looking at marketing to sell more

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    The campaign quickly went viral — not only did it boost Marmite’s brand awareness, but it also resulted in a peak in sales as everyone wanted to test the spread and see which category, lovers or haters, they belonged to. 

    Ryanair TikTok (anti)marketing

    Another example of a brand that’s well aware of its shortcomings and isn’t afraid to poke fun at its sloppy offers is Ryanair.

    Their TikTok account is an iconic example of TikTok marketing (or shall we say, anti-marketing) that popularized the brand among its target audience (predominantly, Gen Z) by being awesomely funny, self-aware, and relatable. 

    Lower-than-average service level, high fees on pretty much everything, rough landings, and flight delays — are frequent topics on the Ryanair corporate TikTok account.

    Since we’ve already touched on the subject of social media, it would only be fair to go straight to the next anti-marketing best practice, which is…

    Leverage social media

    Social media marketing is at the front and center of any marketing strategy (it’s the 21st century, duh!), but this is especially true when it comes to anti-marketing. 

    The reason behind this is pretty straightforward: social media provides brands with more room for fun, creativity, and unconventional marketing.

    You don’t have to confine yourself to the norms and rules of above-the-line advertising, and you can express yourself in a lot of different ways.

    Besides, social media allows you to establish direct contact with your target audience and engage them through comments, direct messages, live chats, and Story reactions and responses in real time. 

    Thanks to social media, you can give your followers a behind-the-scenes sneak peek of your brand, put a face to your name, and show a bit more personality. 

    Here are a few actionable tips that will help you advance your brand’s anti-marketing on social media:

    • Host giveaways
    • Run contests to generate User-Generated Content (UGC)
    • Engage with your audience in the comments
    • Host Q&A sessions in Stories
    • Host AMA sessions using Instagram’s and Facebook’s Live functionality
    • Create interactive social media activities and give your audience a chance to control your brand’s actions

    ➡️ Learn how to increase your Instagram Stories engagement in our guide.

    Taco Bell — Taco Bell Goes Dark

    Taco Bell is a great example of a brand fully committed to anti-marketing on social media

    While the majority of businesses seek ways to increase their social media following, Taco Bell went in a different direction. Dark.

    To encourage its target audience to flock to the Taco Bell App, the brand wiped out its social media accounts and website, leaving it completely black:

    Anti-marketing: An alternative way of looking at marketing to sell more
    Anti-marketing: An alternative way of looking at marketing to sell more

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    The company also changed its official Twitter account handle to @totallynothere to make it seem like all the content on @tacobell was deleted. 

    Anti-marketing: An alternative way of looking at marketing to sell more

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    We feel very fortunate to have amazing fans and we wanted to make sure they were the people who found out about this message first. We also know there are thousands of apps that exist in the world, and we wanted to break through with a really intriguing message that would get them excited. We wanted to have fun with our fans for a few days and really start to build our engagement.

    Senior director of digital marketing and platforms, Tressie Lieberman

    If you, too, want to design a compelling visual for a social media campaign, look no further than VistaCreate! We offer a vast library of ready-made templates for any purpose. Check it out!

    Be provocative

    If you think that Taco Bell’s move was a provocation… You’re absolutely correct! Being provocative is yet another key to anti-marketing success.

    When trying to establish an emotional connection with your audience, you need to… evoke emotions in those that engage with your anti-marketing campaign. 

    As a rule of thumb, you should aim for stronger emotions (merely because they’re easier to induce):

    • Fear — the most primitive, hence, the most powerful emotion.  
    • Anger — another feral emotion humans have a hard time controlling. 
    • Sorrow
    • Joy
    • Disgust

    To evoke specific emotions in your target audience with the help of anti-marketing, you need to get to the bottom of human psychology and understand what triggers different emotions. It can be…

    • Colors — different colors have different connotations
    • Sounds — music makes up a huge part of our lives, and it can affect our immediate mood
    • Shapes and symbols
    • Messages
    • Smells

    ➡️ Learn more about color psychology in our article. 

    Burger King — Moldy Whopper

    In 2021, Burger King went all out and released a very provocative campaign. It risked it all by advertising its iconic Whopper sandwich by showing how it… Rots!

    An image of a decaying burger going all moldy and gross is, perhaps, the last image you want to see in front of your eyes when making an order at Burger King, right? The fast food brand, however, didn’t worry too much about the associations an ad like that could create. 

    They were determined to prove that their food is free from artificial preservatives, so they decided to show a timelapse of the burger slowly decomposing over the course of a month, accompanied by a chilling rendition of the classic hit “What a Difference a Day Makes.”

    The shocking and repulsive visuals of the decaying Whopper were intentionally designed to provoke a strong emotional response in viewers and spark conversation and debate on social media. 

    A textbook example of anti-marketing!

    While some criticized the campaign for being off-putting and gross, it was ultimately a success in terms of generating buzz and increasing brand awareness. 

    By taking a risk and going against the traditional advertising playbook, Burger King was able to stand out in a crowded and competitive market. 

    The Moldy Whopper campaign was a testament to the power of anti-marketing, proving that sometimes, being edgy and controversial can be the key to capturing consumer attention and loyalty. It’s a lesson that other brands can learn from, and a reminder that the most effective marketing campaigns are often ones that push boundaries and challenge the status quo.

    Challenge industry norms

    Finally, if you want to excel at anti-marketing, you can identify industry cliches — the old, boring ways of marketing in your niche — and challenge them. 

    Call out the old-as-time traditional marketing techniques that have dominated the industry, and opt for an opposite solution.

    For example… 

    • If everyone in your industry runs a massive Black Friday sale, close the stores. 
    • If all the other companies are big on Christmas spirit, be the Grinch and ignore Boxing Day. 
    • If the world around you is filled with shades of pink on Valentine’s Day, go for a bold Valentine’s campaign alternative and focus on celebrating Galentine’s. 

    You get the gist.

    While it might sound counterintuitive to do so (yes, chances are you will miss a huge sales opportunity), in the long run, a stunt like that will bring you lots of publicity and increase your brand awareness. As a result, you’ll get more eyes on your business and, hopefully, get those sales after the global holiday craze is over. 

    Here are a few examples of brands that aced anti-marketing by challenging the industry norms. 

    Hinge — Designed to be deleted

    Hinge, a popular dating app, took challenging industry norms to the next level and made this approach a part of its branding. 

    Hinge’s tagline is “Designed to be deleted”, and the majority of its marketing communications are built around the fact that users are encouraged to eventually part ways with the app:

    • “Hinge is dying for people to find each other. Literally.” 
    • “When our users hit it off, we bite the dust.” 
    • “When the chemistry is right, leave Hinge behind.”
    • “Hinge wants you to meet someone great! Even if it kills us.”
    Anti-marketing: An alternative way of looking at marketing to sell more

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    This is a major differentiating factor between Hinge and the rest of the apps that focus on retaining users for as long as possible. 

    Through this clever anti-marketing, Hinge communicates the real value of the product. It shows that the app works overtime to fulfill its intended purpose of helping singles find love and bringing them together, ultimately making the dating app redundant.

    The goal was for our audience to feel affection for Hingie, while at the same time rooting for his death.

     Lindsay Brillson, Creative Director at Red Antler

    Hinge’s marketing team is very consistent in its anti-marketing efforts, so the app’s official Instagram account is… Completely empty. All it has to offer is eight blank posts and a reminder that Hinge is “Designed to be deleted.” 

    There’s nothing to look at, you should spend time looking for your match made in heaven on the app instead!

    Anti-marketing: An alternative way of looking at marketing to sell more

    Doritos — Another Level

    “An ad with no logo? It’s another level!”

    The Another Level campaign by Doritos is a prime example of anti-marketing that challenges industry norms by breaking away from traditional advertising practices. 

    Usually, marketers place branding elements — logo, brand name, signature colors — front and center of their ad. They rely on overt branding and excessive product placement when promoting. 

    Doritos is an exception to this rule. For their anti-marketing campaign in 2019, the brand decided that its iconic crisps didn’t need an introduction, so they skipped that part altogether.

    Instead, the brand released a dynamic, visually stunning, and emotionally charged video that didn’t even mention the name of the brand, let alone its logo, packaging, or other branding elements. 

    “Man, you know the brand! … Snack that rhymes with ‘I need those!’”

    The only recognizable thing featured in the video was the signature shape of the crisps, a triangle. 

    The Another Level campaign pushed the boundaries of traditional marketing by tapping into the power of visual storytelling and evoking strong emotions in viewers. 

    The campaign was a testament to the fact that sometimes, less is more when it comes to marketing. By stripping away overt branding and logos, the Another Level campaign allows the product itself to speak for its unique qualities and attributes. 

    This approach is refreshing and bold, challenging industry norms and demonstrating the power of anti-marketing to create a lasting impact on consumers.


    In conclusion, anti-marketing is like the leather jacket of the marketing world — edgy, interesting, and just plain cool. 

    It’s an alternative approach that’s turning heads and making waves. 

    By embracing authenticity, humor, and a willingness to challenge the norms of the industry, businesses can create a brand that’s impossible to ignore. 

    And the best part? It works. 

    From using sarcasm and humor to differentiating yourself and leveraging social media, the six best anti-marketing practices we explored in this article are like the secret sauce that makes your brand stand out. 

    And with examples of successful anti-marketing campaigns from some of the world’s most iconic brands, it’s clear that this approach is more than just a passing trend. 

    So, if you’re ready to ditch the boring marketing tactics and make a statement that resonates with your audience, jump on the anti-marketing bandwagon and let your brand shine like a diamond in a sea of cubic zirconia.

    And don’t forget — VistaCreate will always be there to help you with the design part of the process 😉

    Valerie Kakovkina

    Content marketing manager at VistaCreate. Valerie loves all things marketing, with her favourite areas being email marketing and social media. When out of the office, Valerie loves travelling, going to parties, and helping her friends with their art projects (oh to be surrounded by artists).

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