If you’ve been following Gumas for any amount of time, you are no doubt familiar with our use of the 900 lb. Gorilla as the iconic representation of our clients’ competitors. In our world, the Gorilla has all the money, all the brand awareness, all the distribution power – all the things we want for our own brands, but lack equivalent resources to achieve.
It is because of our clients’ lesser resources that guerilla marketing is so appealing to help take down our own Gorillas. Guerilla marketing is a term derived from “guerilla warfare”which calls for the use of non-traditional tactics to achieve military objectives. Guerilla marketing uses non-traditional media and unconventional promotional tactics to gain awareness, publicity or accomplish a specific marketing objective.
The best guerilla marketing efforts are cleverly unexpected, intelligently interactive and overtly create a buzz. However, be warned, there are downsides to guerilla marketing as the engaging, interruptive benefits can also be its undoing. Most guerilla marketing tactics are unauthorized and non-permitted. Meaning, without local municipality approval, your traffic-stopping stunt could get shut down shortly after it starts. Although, sometimes, the publicity associated with the shutdown can be more valuable than the stunt itself.
Several years ago, the folks behind the popular “Got Milk?” campaign (the California Milk Processors Board), thought they would add depth to their outdoor campaign in San Francisco by infusing the scent of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies emitting from Transit Shelters in the Financial District. A yummy guerilla marketing stunt aimed at triggering consumers’ olfactory systems to crave a cold glass of milk.
Nearly immediately following the launch and accompanying press release, critics emerged loudly claiming inconsiderate impact on those with chemical sensitivities fearing the aroma would lead to adverse reactions, from headaches and nausea to seizures and asthma attacks. The scent strips in those select Shelters were removed before the week was out.
Even though most San Franciscans were unable to experience the cookie aroma, the story became bigger in the international retelling and the Milk Board enjoyed great press in spite of the stunt being shut down.
Guerilla marketing comes in many forms and flavors. Some of our favorite tactics include:
- Projection Media – Projecting your brand’s image on the side of a building.
- Spray Chalk – Street grafitti using washable chalk sprayed as if with cans of spray paint.
- Beach Imprints – Complete resurfacing of a beach by means of a Zamboni-like vehicle that cleans the beach, smooths out the sand and, dragging a large engraved barrel, repeatedly imprints your brand’s image on the freshly manicured surface.
- Street Teams – Old school groups of branded ambassadors who interact with consumers in large urban enclaves.
- Store Fronts – Converting vacant retail space into interactive digital screens that can run video, augmented reality imagery or simply wrap the space with static vinyl.
- Pop-Up Stores – Imagine a giant shoe box that suddenly appears in the middle of a bustling plaza with a front door leading to a showroom allowing you to try on fabulous new shoes.
These are just a few guerilla marketing tactics that Challenger Brands love. May we introduce you to some others?
Until next month…