Brands travel high and low for buzz

Many of us dream of being courageous and adventurous. Maybe that's why "expedition marketing" is such a popular tactic. The point is to try and inspire us, or at least deliver on our delusions of grandeur.

Many of us dream of being courageous and adventurous. Maybe that's why “expedition marketing” is such a popular tactic. The point is to try and inspire us, or at least deliver on our delusions of grandeur.
  
PUR Water Filtration, for example, recently hosted the “Summit on the Summit,” where a group of influencers, including celebrities like Jessica Biel, tackled Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness about the importance of clean drinking water. Now that's ambition.
  
Expedition marketing is a great PR move for companies that have brands with reputations for being adventurous. (Please keep the warm and fuzzy brands – e.g., Barbie and friends – away from the ledge.) So it makes sense that sports car company Alfa Romeo, which promotes a tagline of “a brand at the cutting edge of design and technology,” went to the extreme limit for one if its cars.
  
The company, part of Italy-based Fiat Group, dropped a steel-and-plastic billboard to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the lowest point on earth, near Guam, that read: “We can't go any lower,” a reference to its new low price on the Alfa 147.
  
Unfortunately, bloggers are calling Alfa Romeo's bluff, saying the stunt is a hoax because it's too difficult and dangerous to make it to the bottom of the trench.
  
Gawker's Jalopnik wrote: “All this leads us to believe that the sign was, at best, lowered into a shallower area of the Mariana Trench or, at worst, the whole thing was faked.”
  
Despite the slip-up, which the company has yet to comment on, Alfa Romeo certainly garnered some buzz ahead of January's European Motor Show in Brussels. Yet, the whole point of expedition marketing is to actually make the trek. When consumers really want to watch staged wacky adventures with random strangers, they tune into reality programming.
  
Next time, pick a less lofty goal than getting to the lowest point on earth. Perhaps you'll be able to arrive there with you and your brand coming out ahead.

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