Content marketing does not necessarily come in a standardized form and size. At times, it can come in a traditional, expected way, such as a blog post. However, content marketing is often at its excellence when it arrives in out-of-the-box, contemporary ways.

For example, Tripl used content marketing in a unique way. It stuck parking tickets on several hundreds of cars owned by the big and influential persons in the technology world. The company successfully communicated its idea, creation, and infographic to thousands of people without spending a dime on online advertisements.

The Triple Content Marketing Story

In 2012, Y Combinator was holding its Demo Day in San Francisco. The program was designed to allow 2-3 minutes long presentations by the executives of more than 70 companies. The idea was to convince and motivate potential investors to make investment decisions based on the ideas presented in those presentations.

At the time of the event, Tripl’s CEO Peter Sullivan was in a hotel room some blocks away from the event venue. Even though he did not have access to enter the event packed with powerful people from the tech sector, he came up with a brilliant idea. He saw the nearby parking lots packed up with vehicles of the Demo Day attendees. He opened his laptop and quickly designed a fake parking violation ticket that read, “You have illegally been subjected to make a big investment decision based on a two-minute demo pitch.” He also put a QR code for Tripl’s app on the ticket in addition to the recent infographic from his company about how mobile devices are boosting the travel sector.

Sullivan made hundreds of copies of the fake tickets and fixed them on the luxury cars. He then took and posted a snap on Instagram and put it on the Hacker News website of Y Combinator. He then went to attend a meeting he had arranged with a venture capital company.

He was midway through the meeting when a subordinate entered the meeting room, cheerfully pointing to Sullivan and proclaiming, “You’re the number one story on Hacker News!”

It appeared that Sullivan’s Instagram photo had gone viral, as two big news websites had shared the prank.

According to Sullivan, arranging meetings and getting entry to important events have become very easy since that incident. Even though security personnel removed Sullivan’s fake tickets from the vehicles before the event attendees could see them, yet his prank became so popular that influential sources called it the best pitch at the Y Combinator’s Demo Day. This event helped his new venture get more than 40,000 customers within a year.


Sullivan’s case suggests that marketers should deliver their content via thought leaders in the industry. The inclusion of QR code on the tickets educated people about how mobile devices are changing the way we do business. And finally, the incident made it clear that content marketers should never undervalue the significance of situational relevance.