By Catherine Thurtle, ad:tech

Big ideas don’t have to come with bulbous price tags. From offering loyalty cards to the disloyal to using good deeds as currency, not cash. Here are five fun, cheap and innovative digital ideas to kickstart your imagination.

1. Use good deeds as currency, not cash

There’s nothing quite like a business venture that combines clever ideas whilst rewarding good behaviour. Chocolatier Anthon Berg managed just this with their sweet gifts being sold in exchange for acts of kindness. The use of iPads to replace tills meant that staff members could immediately post the good deed to the customer’s Facebook wall, successfully sharing the person’s thoughtful act as well as marketing the brand.

2. Offer loyalty cards to the disloyal

The demise of the independent coffee shop is ever looming. To tackle this, three Singaporean organisations have launched a ‘Be Disloyal’ card campaign. It encourages customers to visit as many of the eight participating outlets as possible with the intention of urging the others to join forces against the major chains. This initiative managed to effectively combine grassroots retailing with a savvy business approach – a blueprint for the future perhaps?

3. Offer different ads for men and women

The charity, Plan UK, highlighted gender prejudice by adopting facial recognition software for its bus-stop advertising. The software identified whether a man or woman was standing in front of the screen and then played a different advertisement accordingly. Women were shown profiles of three females from around the world who each experience gender discrimination in different ways. Men, however, were denied access to the full profiles and could only read a set of statistics about gender inequality. The charity hoped to bring home to the male viewers the limited opportunities women can find available to them.

4. Reward people before they’ve even got out of bed

Most people need a little help to clear heads in the morning, and this app from Lufthansa airline struck us as an ingenious idea to kickstart the brain at dawn. Set up as an alarm on the user’s phone, the app played sounds to represent different cities as a wake-up call. The user then had to guess which city the sound represented and input their answer into the phone. If they were correct, they won discounted plane tickets to that destination. Lufthansa created a fun game as well as cleverly alerting the user to their brand on a daily basis.

5. Cash in on a captive market

When carrying out a marketing strategy, one of the most important aspects is getting the correct timing. With this in mind, Rescue Drive – a new campaign from Brazil-based car dealership Orca Chevrolet – found drivers who had broken down and offered them a test drive while their car was towed. The Rescue Drive campaign from car dealership Orca Chevrolet set out to find drivers with broken-down cars and offered them a test drive of the new Chevrolet Cobalt.