Three Years of Creative Marketing Ideas

In anticipation of the upcoming HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards entry deadline on March 24, I’ve talked about ways to create memorable design work and get your projects in front of the right people. But when crafting a successful promotion, both the creation and promotion parts start the same way: creative marketing ideas. If you have a brilliant idea, the rest is simply logistics. To fully understand what I mean by “creative marketing ideas,” we have to go to the source and look at Promotion & Marketing Design Award winners from competitions past. The judges’ comments from 2010-2012 provide insights into how these projects went from creative marketing ideas to best of show competition winners.

Designer Kenny Barela's résumé package won the HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards in 2010.

Designer Kenny Barela’s résumé package won the HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards in 2010.

HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards 2010:
A Creative Résumé Gets The Job Done

Designer Kenny Barela’s creative marketing idea was to promote himself as the best man for the job using a full-blown résumé package. After seeing this decked out résumé, you’ll never want to look at your single-page Microsoft word version again—I know I don’t. With each perfectly designed piece (résumé, cover letter, t-shirt and infographic), Barela introduced himself to potential clients in a way that was creative, informative and memorable. The package showed off his design skills in a professional way without eliminating the fun aspect of having a graphic design career. Barela also highlights his sense of humor without going overboard. All of this together floored the judges who crowned him the best of show winner. As judge Bryn Mooth put it: “You probably don’t even have to talk to this guy to understand that he’s a good fit.”


Zulu Alpha Kilo's Mostro with Sole project won the HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards best of show in 2011.

Zulu Alpha Kilo’s Mostro with Sole project won the HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards in 2011.

HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards 2011:
A Shoe Promotion With Sole

You’ve heard of finger painting, but how familiar are you with the concept of sole painting? Zulu Alpha Kilo introduced the world to this colorful pastime with a creative marketing idea the firm brought to life in its Mostro with Sole project. A fun way to get the public to experience Puma’s relaunched Mostro sneakers, Zulu Alpha Kilo set up a huge paint can in Toronto’s Dundas Square and led participants to a billboard-sized vinyl canvas using sticky footprints.

As the crowd ditched their heels, boots and running kicks, they were able to put on a pair of Pumas, dip the soles in green, blue or purple paint and make their mark on the campaign. In the storefront window shown in the photo above, a video recounted the making of the advertisement as well as displaying paint-splattered shoes that were used to create it. All of these elements, including the fact that people put on Pumas and a paint smock in the middle of a normal workday, impressed the judges enough to secure the competition’s top title.

Leo Burnett Canada's We Make Voting Easy project won the HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards in 2012.

Leo Burnett Canada’s We Make Voting Easy project won the HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards best of show title in 2012.

HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards 2012:
One Vote for Easy Voting

While many of us do our democratic duty and cast votes when elections roll around in November, there are plenty more people who forfeit these rights year after year. Leo Burnett Canada, however, had a thought: What if voting was as easy as making excuses not to? In the We Make Voting Easy campaign, the design firm worked with government agency Elections Ontario to streamline the voting process and eliminate unnecessary hassles. After reviewing the creative marketing idea with a cause, the judges readily cast their votes to elevate the campaign to the best of show spot. Here’s some of what they had to say:

HOW judges took note of the passion and the results. Judge Megan Patrick wished the whole campaign could move south to the U.S., while Jessica Kuhn, another judge, praised the use of design to make a tangible positive change in the world. But judge Bridgid McCarren may have summed up the campaign’s genius best: ‘Just to take such a complex and unnecessarily difficult task and make it easier to do is amazing.’

HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards

Now that I’ve provided some inspiration, I hope you’ll share the creative marketing ideas you’ve been able to turn into top-notch projects. The final deadline for the HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards is March 24. If you’re a professor with a class full of students ready to submit their portfolio designs, email for information on a group rate. I hope to see your winning entry on the opening competition spread in the September issue of HOW.