Top Ad Tricks During Recession: Pepsi, Burger King, and Beer Commercials Get Creative

Burger King developed an application on the popular social networking site Facebook offering customers a coupon for a free Whopper if they de-friended 10 of their contacts.

The application has since been removed from Facebook because of privacy concerns, but Griner said the Burger King experiment drove home an important economic lesson. Penny-pinching customers were able to earn free food and the company did not break the bank with the campaign.

"This is somewhat of a economical message that you don't have to spend millions and millions on one really nice ad when you can create a lot of buzz by creating something that is smart and carries itself," he said.

Miller Lite's One-Second Commercial

Don't blink or you might miss Miller Lite's cost-saving commercial.

Intended to further its reputation as the more affordable beer, Miller Lite produced a one-second ad that cost far less than a full 30-second ad did during the Super Bowl.

"They're saying, 'OK, we're Miller and we're hurting economically now too,'" said Hall. "Everyone's struggling and so are we so we're not going to go all the way out there, which is a reference against Budweiser, which paid millions for Super Bowl spots."

"This drove home that their product is affordable and they are trying to look more frugal," said Griner.

Griner adds that while some companies -- namely FedEx -- did not advertise during this year's Super Bowl, Miller was smart to maintain a presence in a fiscally responsible way.

Hyundai's Assurance Program

Hyundai's latest campaign offers what would have once been unimaginable: Buy a car and enjoy it… until you lose your job. Then the dealership will take it back.

"This is classic auto manufacturer desperation," said Hall. "This is unprecedented. We're seeing zero percent financing and huge discounts."

Griner said that while it's certainly a dramatic gesture, Hyundai is smart to address a real and noticeable public trend.

"If one thing is clear it's that everyone is seeing job loss and Hyundai tied their campaign to that in a way that wasn't predatory or disgusting and is actually kind of nice," he said.

"There's something charming about this approach."

Dodge's Buy-One-Get-One-Free Promotion

It's not just Hyundai trying to lure customers into its dealerships. Dodge dealerships across the nation have reportedly offered two-for-one sales, by which they will sell you a second car for as little as $1.

"It's dramatic and noticeable and a real conversation starter, but it's still within their brand image of being affordable," said Griner.

This is just another way to get creative -- or some say desperate -- to sell cars.

Las Vegas' 'Vegas Bound' Ads

Even Sin City is falling victim of the bad economy.

"Vegas is desperate," said Hall. "Casinos are filing for bankruptcy and visitors are not showing up."

And so a new ad campaign was created by Las Vegas Tourism, aimed to lure customers back to the slot machines. But some say that the new ads may alter the image the city has worked for years to create.

Once known as a hot spot for a weekend of luxury, the city is being touted as the opposite by the new tourism department.

A series of spots features all 358 residents of Cranfills Gap, Texas, traveling to Las Vegas for an all-expenses paid vacation, a ploy to show that even small-town America can enjoy Vegas.

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