How Brands Took Advantage of Shark Week


Every once in awhile, a marketing campaign comes along that is so successful that it transcends marketing and becomes a part of culture. There was no such thing as a “diamond engagement ring” before DeBeers launched a campaign that convinced Americans that diamonds were a nuptial necessary for example. In recent years, one campaign that has approached this territory is Discovery’s Shark Week. Shark Week, if you aren’t familiar, is one week a year that the Discovery family of networks has set aside exclusively for shark-related content. Shark Week has become so popular that many people have begun to refer to it in the same sort of terms normally reserved for holidays and events like Christmas and the Super Bowl.

Shark Week is SO popular that other brands have jumped into the fray with Shark Week campaigns of their own that attempt to capitalize on the Shark Week Experience.

Here are a few examples from this year:

Shark Bite Donut/Xbox One Live Experience

Dunkin Donuts has released a special limited edition Shark Week donut to celebrate the occasion.

Also, Dunkin Donuts is sponsoring the Shark Week Experience on Xbox Live. The Shark Week experience allows users to follow Shark Week content while they watch Netflix, or play the latest Halo game on their Xbox.


Tidy Cats has created content around the idea of “Kitten Week.” Kitten Week is essentially content mapped onto Shark Week Content. That is, Purina takes a typical Shark Week situation and replaces the sharks with kittens in videos, tweets, and other content.

Hot Pocket

Hot Pocket’s Shark Week content is not quite as ambitious as Tidy Cats and Dunkin Donuts. They’ve simply taken pictures of sharks and placed Hot Pockets in nonsensical locations on the sharks’ bodies. For instance, they replaced the eyes of a hammerhead shark with a Hot Pocket.

For another marketing campaign that’s taken on a life of its own, check out our article on Puppy Bowl.