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A Big Voice Without A Big Budget

(or, That's So Stupid, It's Awesome)

If you have an advertising budget that pales in comparison to some of your competitors, don’t despair. There are ways to make your brand feel bigger, work harder and get the attention it deserves. In short, if you don’t have the big budget, you have to have a big idea!

Let’s take a brand you’re all familiar with—Arby’s. Believe it or not, its ad budget is much, much smaller than its fast-food competitors, like McDonald’s or Burger King. However, Arby’s competitors may be able to outspend them BUT… can they outthink them?

Arby’s chief marketing officer (CMO) gives this advice to those with smaller budgets, “You have to be smart, you have to be nimble, and you have to take risks.” The other key to your success? Find an agency that can take a small budget and turn it into an attention-getting idea your audience can’t forget! To do that, you’ll have to come up with something your audience would never expect.

Arby’s and their agency did just that. They looked for unexpected ideas, like the famous tweet they made to Pharrell Williams about the hat he wore at the Grammys, asking, “Hey Pharrell, can we have our hat back?” The initial tweet received more that 80,00 retweets and almost 50,00 favorites. Then they bought the hat back in a charity fundraiser. And the hat ended ended up in the Newseum’s exhibit on pop culture history.

There was also the farewell spot, honoring Jon Stewart when he made his departure from “The Daily Show.” He had hurled insults at the chain for years. Arby’s saw this as an opportunity.

Arby’s is willing to take chances in reaching its audience and it’s paid off. The  CMO has said he often tells the team, “That’s so stupid it’s awesome.” So, what are you going to do to get the attention of your audience with an idea that’s bigger than your budget?