Pacharee Pantoomano-Pfirsch, a marketing consultant at Brand Now, explains how you can boost your company’s profile with a creative campaign on the street.
DID you visit major malls around town during the holiday season? Like the majority of Bangkokians, I spent a bit of time in the malls buying presents for my husband, kids, mum, brother and extended family in France. I noticed that the front of CentralWorld was full of installations from various companies – all decked out in Christmas themes. Among the companies were a mobile service provider, an insurance company and a camera manufacturer. The setup was warm, inviting and encouraged lots of photo taking and posting on social media.
Our family took a break in Hua Hin over the New Year’s break. I observed that areas frequented by visitors also had many installations. Toshiba had a 3D illusion laptop on the ground of Cicada Market. The Sam Phan Floating Market featured a human-size Coke fountain bottle. The spray was nice and cool on a hot afternoon walk. It also helped that there was a Coke stand selling drinks and snacks next to the fountain.
Speaking of Coca-Cola, a friend recently posted a YouTube video of NUS students in Singapore hugging a Coke machine to get a free Coke. The video showed individuals as well as groups hugging the Coke vending machine to get a can of soda. After checking out the NUS video, several more Coke hugging videos popped up in locations around the world. I couldn’t help but watch a few more. Just when I thought I’d had enough YouTube gawkinggawking, another video caught my eye, “Coca- Cola Happiness Machine for Couples.” The vending machine was installed in Istanbul for Valentine’s Day. Couples who showed that they were together got two cans of Coke. Again, another cute feelgood campaign that makes you smile.
Installations at malls or on a busy street are an inexpensive way to advertise and engage customers and the general public. This is also called Guerilla Marketing. The practice has been used around the world. The term was coined by Jay Conrad Levinson, an advertising executive. In 1984, he published a book by the same name, and today it is considered one of the best marketing books ever written. It is available in 62 languages and is required reading for a marketing course. Focusing on low cost creative strategies, the aim of guerrilla marketing is to engage the audience in a unique and thought provoking way. The result is PR buzz.
In 2002 at a major rugby event in Telstra Stadium, two streakers ran onto the field with Vodafone logos painted on their bodies. Burger King’s hard-hitting campaign in 2005 had Ronald McDonald statues wearing Burger King T-shirts, footprints trailing from McDonald’s to Burger King, and signs on empty McDonald’s benches that read “Gone to BK – Ronald.”
Guerilla marketing isn’t just for profit companies. Médecins du Monde, an international humanitarian organization, staged a campaign to draw attention to the issue of homelessness in Paris. Hundreds of tents with Médecins du Monde logo were given to vagrant Parisians. The campaign caused a public outcry and the French government allocated nearly $10 million for emergency housing in Paris. The benevolent guerrilla marketing campaign by Médecins du Monde has been cited as one of the most effective campaigns in the world to date.
If you are looking to start the New Year with a fresh outlook, consider implementing your own guerilla marketing campaign. Do some brainstorming with the team and gather up creative ideas that you could use to engage your target audience in a relevant way. Have fun, do something surprising, innovative and boost your brand in the process.
Pacharee Pantoomano-Pfirsch is a Marketing Consultant at Brand Now, a boutique marketing and PR agency helping clients to communicate their brand. If you’d like to launch a below the line campaign this year, she may be reached at email@example.com