5 Best Examples of Creative Direct Marketing That Grabbed Attention

print your company logo on chocolate can be one of the direct marketing methods

There are a few elements that need to align for a business to become successful. It all starts, of course, with a good idea. From there, the possibilities are endless. The sky is the limit!

However, if you don’t reach the right audiences, even the best businesses will end up in the scrapyard of forgotten ideas. It’s a crowded place! Without the right kind of marketing, million-dollar ideas can wither and die.

So how do you decide on the right kind of marketing? There are plenty of examples of misdirected marketing plans that either targets the wrong audience or send the wrong message. And with so many different avenues to take these days — social media has opened up a whole new world of marketing — it’s important to really consider what kind of marketing is right for your company.

One of the oldest types of marketing is direct marketing, which targets your customer without the use of an advertising middleman, and is directed at returning or potential customers who have already expressed some interest in your product (by signing up for a list or entering their information on a form).  So instead of renting space on the side of a bus or billboard, or unleashing a radio commercial to the masses, your business directly tries to connect with a more streamlined group of people.

Some examples of direct marketing include:

  • Text messages
  • Phone calls
  • Mailed brochures
  • Direct mail campaigns
  • Emails/newsletters
  • Postcards
  • Fliers and coupons

Direct marketing can be a really effective approach to reaching audiences and communicating directly with them. They can be expensive or they can be done with practically no cost at all (in the case of a digital monthly newsletter).

To give you an idea of what some successful and creative direct marketing campaigns look like, we’ve gathered some info on a few of the most famous and successful out there. Now, you may not have the resources that Nike does, but this might help get the creative juices flowing.

5 Creative Direct Marketing Examples

1. Shoe Box Campaign

Nike is famous for its products, of course, but also it’s marketing, which has had an enormous global impact on culture and athleticism. Just Do It is one of the most familiar slogans in the world.

For one of its famous direct marketing campaigns, the company sent out shoeboxes to targeted customers, with the idea to encourage young people to get involved with sports and exercise. The shoeboxes, when opened, resembled a sports stadium, and even let out the roar of a crowd.

2. Earth Hour — Candle Box

Earth Hour started in Australia in 2007 to bring attention to climate change and world energy usage. The point was to bring people across the world together in a concerted effort to reduce electricity usage by switching off the lights for an hour.

To encourage companies to turn off their lights, the organization behind Earth Hour sent out yellow candles in boxes directly to larger corporations and CEOs of big businesses. When the candle was removed from its box, which resembled an apartment building, it looked as though the building was going dark. The campaign had a huge effect on participation in Earth Hour that year, with companies increasing their efforts by 260%.

3. KitKat – Chunky Chocolate Bar

We love a direct marketing campaign that involves chocolate, and none is more famous than Nestlés Chunky chocolate bar stunt, which was both really smart and really funny.

To promote their new chocolate bar concept, which was a solid one-piece thicker chocolate bar, the company mailed out delivery notes to a targeted audience. The note claimed that a package could not be delivered because it was “too chunky for your letterbox”. The recipients were able to take the notes in to get a free chocolate bar.

It paid off. There was there a huge spike in sales for the Chunky chocolate bar but it also helped people change their minds about what a KitKat could be, since for so long people associated it with the traditional four-piece chocolate bar.

4. Smart – Recyclable Helmet

Living up to its name, Smart came up with a brilliant direct mail campaign that achieved the ultimate goal — it took on a life of its own and went viral.

In an attempt to promote environmentally friendly e-bikes, the company delivered a cardboard box to customers that they could use to assemble a bike helmet. They knew their clients, who were both impressed by the recyclable product and respected the push for safe cycling. People started posting about it and it spread like wildfire, basically giving them free advertising.

5. World Water Day

Travelling across the pond to Belgium, where a company called Green Belgium wanted to drive home the importance of water for World Water Day.

For this direct mail campaign, the company sent out a postcard to its curated list, which wasn’t much to look at at first sight. The trick was that the recipient had to hold it underwater for the message to appear. This interactive approach makes it extra memorable, and it was a thoughtful idea that demonstrated its point clearly.



A successful and creative direct marketing campaign is thoughtful and engaging and often requires the recipient to take an action. Either the recipient has to build something, cash something in, or take a simple step to get a reward. In engaging the customer this way, they are building an association with the product or brand that sets it apart from the rest.

One great way to target customers and create a positive association is with customized chocolate. You can brand high-end chocolate by getting your logo or a message engraved onto it and delivering the chocolates to a select audience, for example. You can easily customize your company logo as one of the creative direct marketing

Whatever your idea is, really try to think outside the box with it so that your business can get the cutting edge on its competitors.