10 Ways to get weird with the Bizarreness Effect

Prathamesh Krisang

The Bizarreness Effect refers to our tendency to remember and pay attention to things that are unusual, unexpected or bizarre. This cognitive bias can be leveraged in marketing, sales, branding, design and advertising to capture attention and stand out from competitors. Here are some ways to use the Bizarreness Effect in your marketing strategy:

1. Use Unusual Materials

Using unconventional materials is a way for creators to stand out from the crowd and create a memorable experience for their customers. It allows them to push the boundaries of traditional design and communicate their brand values in a more creative and unexpected way.

Example: The luxury fashion brand Balenciaga created a line of handbags made from recycled car parts, such as seatbelts and airbags. This unusual choice of material helps to differentiate the brand from other luxury fashion brands and appeal to customers who value sustainability and innovation.

2. Use Non-Traditional Advertising Spaces

Traditional advertising spaces, such as billboards and TV commercials, can be crowded and oversaturated. By using non-traditional advertising spaces, you can capture your audience’s attention and create a memorable experience.

Example: The Candy Brand- Reese’s Pieces, saw an opportunity to showcase their product in a non-traditional way by approaching the E.T. film’s producers and offering to supply their candy as a prop. The result was a memorable scene in which the main character used Reese’s Pieces to lure the alien, leading to a significant increase in sales for the brand., which led to a significant boost in sales for the candy brand.

3. Unusual product packaging

Experiment with unique shapes or designs that fit your brand’s aesthetic, while still being functional and practical for your product, to make it stand out on the shelf.

Example: Method’s laundry detergent bottles are shaped like tall, slender towers that are easy to grip and pour. The bottles are made from 50% post-consumer recycled plastic, which not only supports the brand’s environmental mission but also makes the packaging more durable and less likely to break.

4. Experimental typography

Experimental typography involves using unconventional or innovative typography techniques to create a unique and memorable look and feel for your brand or product. This can be a great way to add visual interest and personality to your message, and to create a strong brand identity that stands out from the competition.

Example: The streaming giant “NETFLIX” has used a custom typeface called “Netflix Sans” in their branding and advertising materials. The typeface was designed to be simple and clean, while still being bold and memorable. This has helped to create a strong and consistent visual identity for the brand across all platforms, from their website to their social media channels.

5. Create Unusual Store Displays

Unusual store displays can capture attention and create a sense of novelty and excitement for customers. They can be a great way to highlight a particular product or brand and create a memorable shopping experience. To leverage the bizarreness effect in your store displays, think outside the box and create displays that are unexpected, quirky, and unique.

Example: Anthropologie is a retailer known for its unusual and creative store displays. In one of their stores, they created a display where a large tree branch was suspended from the ceiling with various objects hanging from it, including clothing and home decor items. This display created a sense of whimsy and wonder for customers and drew attention to the unique products offered by the store.

6. Use Unusual Shapes and Colors in Your Design

Incorporating unusual shapes or colors in your design can help your product or brand stand out from competitors.

Example: The snack brand Doritos uses a bold, triangle-shaped chip (different from any other oval shaped chip in market) to create a unique and memorable product.

7. Create Interactive Installations

Creators can use interactive installations to showcase their products, educate customers, or simply provide a fun and engaging experience.

Example: In 2016, NIKE opened a pop-up shop in New York City called the “Nike+ Basketball Trial Zone”. The installation was designed to showcase the company’s new line of basketball shoes and apparel, and to give customers a chance to test them out in a fun and interactive way.

The installation featured a full-sized basketball court with sensors embedded in the floor that tracked customers’ movements as they played. The data was then displayed on large screens around the court, providing customers with real-time feedback on their performance.

8. Create a Brand Mascot

Brand mascots are characters or animals that represent a brand’s personality and values. By creating a brand mascot, you can create a memorable and relatable image for your brand.

Example: The “Geico Gecko” is a popular brand mascot that represents Geico’s personality and values. The Gecko has become synonymous with the brand and is a creative way to make insurance more approachable and fun.

9. Use Shock Value

Use shock value in your marketing materials to create a sense of surprise and attention-grabbing. Shock value can make your campaign stand out and create a memorable and impactful message. However, it’s important to ensure that the shock value doesn’t offend or alienate your target audience.

Example: PETA’s “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” campaign features nude celebrities, both male and female, posing for a black and white photoshoot, with the tagline “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur”.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the cruel treatment of animals used in the fur industry and to encourage people to choose more ethical and sustainable fashion choices.

10. Use Exaggeration

Use exaggeration in your marketing materials to create a sense of humor and fun. Exaggeration can make your brand stand out and create a memorable and entertaining campaign. However, it’s important to ensure that the exaggeration doesn’t misrepresent your product or service.

Example: Snickers’ “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign features a series of humorous ads that depict people behaving in exaggerated and unexpected ways when they are hungry.

The ads typically show someone in a high-pressure or demanding situation, such as a construction worker, a diva on a movie set, or a football player. However, when they are given a Snickers bar to eat, they quickly return to their normal selves and are able to perform at their best.

There are several other cognitive biases that involve attention-grabbing and memory-enhancing stimuli like bizarreness effect,

Von Restorff effect: This bias suggests that items that are different from the rest of a group are more likely to be remembered.

Salience bias: This bias refers to our tendency to focus on information that is most prominent or noticeable, even if it is not necessarily the most important.

Novelty bias: This bias refers to our tendency to pay more attention to new or novel stimuli than to familiar ones.


“How to Use the Bizarreness Effect in Your Marketing”: This article by Piktochart explains how to use the bizarreness effect to create memorable and attention-grabbing content: https://piktochart.com/blog/bizarreness-effect-in-marketing/

“The Power of the Von Restorff Effect in Marketing”: This article by Marketing Week discusses how to use the Von Restorff effect to make marketing messages stand out: https://www.marketingweek.com/the-power-of-the-von-restorff-effect-in-marketing/

“The Salience Bias: Why It’s Important for Marketers and Advertisers”: This article by MarketScale explains how to use the salience bias to make marketing messages more effective: https://marketscale.com/industries/business-services/the-salience-bias-why-its-important-for-marketers-and-advertisers/

“Why Novelty is Critical to Marketing Success”: This article by Forbes discusses the importance of using novelty in marketing and advertising to grab attention and create interest: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2017/05/22/why-novelty-is-critical-to-marketing-success/?sh=45045f6411d3

“Why Bizarre Ads Are the Most Effective Ads”: This article by Hubspot discusses how the bizarreness effect can be used to create effective advertising campaigns: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/bizarre-ads

“The Importance of Novelty in Advertising”: This article by Disruptive Advertising explains how to use novelty to create engaging advertising campaigns: https://www.disruptiveadvertising.com/marketing/novelty-in-advertising/

“Using the Von Restorff Effect to Make Your Brand Stand Out”: This article by Brandfolder discusses how to use the Von Restorff effect to make your brand more memorable: https://brandfolder.com/blog/von-restorff-effect

“How Salience Bias Can Help You Create More Effective Content”: This article by CoSchedule explains how to use the salience bias to create more effective content marketing: https://coschedule.com/blog/salience-bias