At Adobe MAX, it’s all about creativity. You can get inspired by creators from the industry and can get creative with new innovations. You can experiment with the latest technologies and can further improve your creativity. There are however other professions, besides graphic designers and illustrators, that demand creativity. In the marketing industry, for instance, creativity is essential. It is extremely powerful and proves to be everything. If you’re not able to grab people’s attention in a disruptive way, then in all probability, you won’t have convinced them to buy your products or services. However, there is a technique out there that grabs a lot of attention and that requires little effort. What’s that technique, you might ask? Guerrilla marketing.
If you’re not in the marketing sector, you might not be that familiar with the term ‘guerrilla marketing’. The term however, is not as suspicious or as ominous as it sounds. Jay Conrad Levinson coined the term in his book Guerrilla Marketing. Our society is moving away from marketing techniques such as radio or television since they don’t seem to attract as much as attention as they did years ago.
Guerilla marketing, on the other hand, takes customers by surprise. It pops up where customers least expect it and it makes a lasting impression. It is, however, important to keep some things in mind if you’re interested in implementing a guerrilla strategy in your company.
Guerrilla marketing or the activity that revolves around it, should be centered on the company’s fundamental values. Plus, your guerrilla marketing idea must raise brand awareness. Simply putting your company name on every billboard in the city won’t work. Your guerrilla strategy should be so captivating that people share your campaign on their social media. Bonus? This means free publicity for you and massive exposure to your original guerrilla marketing strategy. So, jot down these two important elements if you want to follow in the footsteps of big names like McDonalds, IBM or Nivea.
A lot of companies have already successfully implemented a guerrilla strategy that required little effort and money. They took the unpredictable path and grabbed a lot of attention by doing so. We’ve rounded up a list of five immensely creative guerrilla marketing ideas to inspire you and to showcase that creativity is key if you want to grab people’s attention.
The organization made its guerrilla marketing campaign all about dirty water. Millions of people all over the globe don’t have access to clean drinking water. The water they drink or they use to cook is extremely dirty and contains many bacteria that may cause cholera, typhoid and dysentery.
To grab people’s attention, UNICEF placed a vending machine containing bottles full of dirty water in the middle of Manhattan. Nobody drank any dirty water, but many people donated to the organization. Just one dollar provides a child with 40 days of clean drinking water, disclaimed UNICEF. Those who didn’t have any cash with them, could make a donation via their phone. The campaign received a lot of attention from international media and the nonprofit continued to make a difference with its Tap project.
Today’s world is oversaturated with advertisements and marketing stunts. It is thus key you need something out-of-the-box to catch customers’ attention. Guinness, the well-known Irish beer, understands that it proves to be a challenge to advertise in a disruptive way. That’s why the brand implemented a guerrilla marketing strategy. This strategy required almost no effort but turned out to be immensely effective.
The brand handed out new pool cues, branded with the image of a pint of Guinness, to pubs all over Ireland. By doing so, the Irish company reminded pool players to quench their thirst with a fresh pint of Guinness. A subtle but still very effective way to advertise your products to customers.
Coca-Cola has taken advertising products to the next level and has promoted its Coke Zero in an unexpected way. Coca-Cola’s new campaign centers on the taste of its product: “Ads can look delicious, sound delicious, and now, taste delicious”. People can literally drink Coke Zero via a drinkable advertisement. “First, we build a billboard that served real Coke Zero to thousands of fans. Then, we poured Coke Zero to people all over the country.”
Everyone with a phone and Shazam on their phone can enjoy the delicious taste of Coke Zero. Whether they’re at home, at a concert or at a football match, it doesn’t matter. Anyone who sees or hears the advertisement can ‘Shazam’ it. Then, Coke Zero is poured in the screen of their smartphones. By doing so, users receive a coupon for a free coke that can be redeemed in big stores all over the US.
Coca-Cola’s campaign received a lot of attention and that’s not surprising. People could win a free coke, whether that was via print media, flyers, tv, radio or even tweets. The brand grabbed the attention of people of all ages, via traditional or via new media. In short, an unforgettable experience that disrupted the marketing industry in an innovative way.
With the opening of its very first flagship store in Asia, Nike was looking for a disruptive way to generate buzz. There were several ways to create awareness about the new store but Nike obviously chose for the engaged method. The store focused its attention on the legendary basketball icon Michael Jordan. There were two ways via which customers could come into contact with the ‘never give up’ mentality.
Nike implemented the ‘Take One’ strategy. Customers could take the leap and jump to grab a ticket in a basketball hoop. On the one hand, there were winning tickets, designed as limited edition collectibles, that received an exclusive Jordan 30th anniversary gift. The second way to come into contact with the ‘never give up’ mentality was via the Jordan Flight Club. Tickets that didn’t win were invited to join this very club.
This guerrilla marketing was completely in line with Nike’s core values: just do it! Inspiration to come into action was central in this campaign. Moreover, the ‘Take One’ strategy received immensely much attention: over 11,000 (!) Michael Jordan fans tried their luck in the streets of Hong Kong. And, there were massive line-ups for the attraction, without any promotion, simply by word of mouth.
You might think, ‘WePay, doesn’t quite ring a bell’. The company is not as famous or as wide-used as its competitor PayPal. Both companies are competitors and both provide the service to easily make and accept payments from multiple people. However, WePay’s most-known competitor, PayPal, has certain flaws that the founders of WePay carefully studied to further improve their own solution.
In 2010, WePay unexpectedly made an appearance at the PayPal’s developer conference in San Francisco. Co-founder of WePay, Rich Aberman, wheeled a giant block of ice containing several hundred dollar bills into the conference room. The message ingrained in this action? PayPal freezes your accounts. By making such an unexpected and direct statement, WePay received a lot of attention and basically said to the entire conference that they should “unfreeze their money by switching to WePay”.
Bonus: Carrie (2013)
This type of guerrilla marketing doesn’t exactly fit with the other examples we’ve given so far. However, this specific example is too unique to not give it a shout-out. As you can see in the video, customers of a small coffee shop were spooked by a young woman, named Carrie. She has the power of telekinesis and uses that power to lash out against a customer that spills his coffee on her laptop.
The people that saw the spectacle were the unsuspecting victims of a public guerilla marketing-prank. The video reached over 69 million views on YouTube since 2013! The campaign – and especially this telekinetic event – for the movie Carrie is different. It’s distinct from all other campaigns for movies and is still receives much attention.
Guerrilla marketing? Obviously!
The examples we showcased vary widely. For instance, UNICEF’s guerilla strategy raised awareness for a good cause and received many donations. On the other end of the spectrum, we have WePay. Their strategy is different and pretty direct: it convinces people to choose their option and not their competitor’s. And then we have the examples of Coca-Cola and Nike where everything is about experience: having fun is essential to their strategies.
We chose to show you a wide variety of guerrilla marketing strategies to underline that there are really no limits. You can opt for a direct, more in-your-face strategy or you can select a method with which you subtly grab your customers’ attention. Guerrilla marketing has been in business for quite some time now, but still proves to be immensely effective. It’s different from 2D advertisements you see on tv or on YouTube. Guerrilla strategies combine dimensionality, imaginative creativity and unforgettable experiences all together. Effective strategies, such as the examples we mentioned, are ideal to share with friends over social media and are simply just fun. They’re different from everything else you see and they always contain an element of surprise, inherent to any good guerrilla tactic.
Have you seen any other captivating guerrilla marketing strategies we forgot to mention? Make sure to share them with us and your creative colleagues!