Design in advertising is a big tent that embraces a wide range of looks, campaigns, and approaches — from the conservative to the bizarre. Catching and holding a viewer’s interest involves not only the creation of a memorable, eye-grabbing design, but also the timing and context in which viewers will be most receptive to its message. Here we’ll review what we consider to be the top five most unusual logos, placements or promos out there.

1. What Is That?


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The Kannapolis Intimidators

Minor League baseball teams are known for their interesting logos and often outlandish choice of mascots. Take the Piedmont Boll Weevils, for example. Formerly a farm team for the Philadelphia Phillies, they started out as the Piedmont Phillies. Of course that didn’t make much sense, so they adopted the image of a boll weevil playing baseball to emphasize the team’s Southern roots.

Unfortunately that logo just looked more like a pecan with an endocrine condition, so when the team became affiliated with the Chicago White Sox, they went for an entirely new look and name: The Kannapolis Intimidators. Applause for their choice to base their logo around a K word — not that easy, though Kellogg’s cereal certainly has.

The mascot, however, is hard to identify. It might be a shark. Or not. It’s clearly holding a baseball, and it’s clearly angry, hence the intimidating part. But as a design it’s all over the place. And the font choice for the banner doesn’t help. Maybe they should have stuck with the weevil.

2. Weirdest Cross-Promotion


Image courtesy of Videogum

Sherlock Holmes & 7-11 Taquitos

This seems to have been a regional thing, limited to the Los Angeles area, but the 2009 release of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows clearly made someone at 7-11 Corporate think of taquitos.

It’s hard to say what the exploits of an 19th century English detective have to do with the yummy Mexican(-ish) snack. Maybe the creators of the promotion were just hungry at the time. But the result left copywriters with a bit of a problem. In the end, they went with the mystery angle and taglines such as “Solve your hunger” and “Get a clue.” The latter may well have been directed at the promo’s creators.

3. Most Invasive Placement


The Fremont Street Experience, Las Vegas

In the United States, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing brand names emblazoned across our public transit vehicles, our sports stadiums and just about everywhere. Even above our heads.

Those who’ve visited “Glitter Gulch” in Las Vegas over the past two decades know the five-block canopy above Fremont Street as home to one of the most outlandish light shows ever. In case the glitz of the Strip weren’t enough, the sky itself is now a fluid commercial for — you guessed it — Las Vegas. Of course, if you’re looking at it, you’re already in Vegas. Perhaps the idea is to make you dizzy enough to forget all the money you’ve lost.

4. Most Subtle Placement


Image courtesy of Washington Post

Intel & FC Barcelona

Now here’s a real gamble. Intel (the bazillion-dollar processor company) partnered with FC Barcelona (a Spanish soccer team) and announced in December 2013 that the Intel logo would appear on the team’s jerseys — just not on the outside. Say what?

Yes, the Intel Inside trademarked logo would appear INSIDE the jersey. Get it? Because it’s the processor inside your computer that counts. The processor company is counting on players to flip up those jerseys to wipe their sweaty brows, thus putting what’s inside on the outside for all the cameras to see. It’s a risk but it’s so damn clever you can’t help but hope it pays off.

5. Bet You Didn’t See That Coming


Image courtesy of AdWeek

Cee Lo Green for Ty-Ku Sake

When musician, songwriter, entertainer producer Cee Lo Green was looking for a unique product on which to put his personal stamp, his management company suggested Ty Ku sake. What might seem a strange fit at first didn’t seem odd to Green, who was looking for something new, off the grid, and interesting. Not surprisingly the commercial has a music video feel to it — kicking back at the club or the sauna — with no shortage of models to showcase the product. If you’re wondering about the big hat, you’ll know that’s all Cee Lo’s. His favorite Ty Ku flavor, by the way, is coconut.