What You Can Learn From Three Smart Guerrilla Campaigns

When you’re organizing a guerrilla marketing campaign, your number 1 goal is to get attention for you or your client’s product. The very last thing you want is a problem that derails the entire campaign or, worse yet, attracts negative attention. For example, a campaign that failed to secure the proper permits before starting or ticks off people in authority by doing something inappropriate is doomed before it starts.

Here are three really smart guerrilla marketing campaigns that did it right, and lessons that you can take from each of them.

McDonald’s Coffee Light

The shape of a streetlight inspired a great campaign from McDonald’s a few years ago. It placed a coffee cup (with a note advertising free coffee) around the bottom of the light. Then it attached a faux coffee pot to the top. That made it appear as though the “coffee” (really the base of the light) was being poured into the cup.

The lesson: make a direct visual connection between the product and the offer.

McDonalds Guerrilla Marketing Campaign

Fed Ex Kinko’s Street Crossing

Fed Ex Kinko’s set a super-sized (fake) bottle of white out on a corner, with the top placed next to the bottle, dripping with white-out. The bottle was located right next to a cross walk with the white stripes on it, making it appear as though the bottle had just finished painting the stripes. The bottle had a note saying “Go to Kinko’s for all your office supply needs.”

The lesson: look at things in a new way and you’ll find inspiration for a campaign, whether it’s set on a street corner or you do viral marketing like the Harlem Shake at the Dover Downs Casino.

Fed Ex Guerrilla Marketing

Fitness Company Weighted Subway Grips

Fitness Company Barbell Marketing

The bars at head level that riders hold onto on subway cars were transformed into weighted barbells by Fitness Company. The company placed faux weights a few feet apart on each bar. When riders clung onto the bars, it appeared that they were effortlessly lifting a very heavy weight over their heads. The Fitness Company logo was placed nearby so that it was clear who had sponsored the clever visual.

The lesson: promote results. Obviously the visual trick was meant to make it appear that when you use Fitness Company products, you become so strong that you can lift heavy dumbbells over your head with ease. It’s a very effective illusion, and it definitely draws attention: the goal of any good guerrilla campaign.

Feminine Hygiene That People Want To Talk About – Farting CEO Goes Viral

Bodyform Marketing Video

Who said feminine hygiene wasn’t marketable?  Well, timing is everything.  And while successful viral marketing campaigns usually occur once in every thousand attempts, this is one that can truly be called the “time of the month.”

While most men hide from the truth, one man had the valor to face his fears and look for the truth.  On October 8th of this year, Richard Neill wrote to British feminine hygiene manufacturer, Bodyform, via Facebook, expressing his disappointment and misperceptions of a woman’s “time of the month.”  Here’s his comment, reflecting the disillusionment as he realized after all these years that Bodyform’s advertisements made light of the reality of a female’s period.

Hi, as a man I must ask why you have lied to us for all these years . As a child I watched your advertisements with interest as to how at this wonderful time of the month that the female gets to enjoy so many things, I felt a little jealous. I mean bike riding , rollercoasters, dancing, parachuting, why couldn’t I get to enjoy this time of joy and ‘blue water’ and wings !! Dam my penis!! Then I got a girlfriend, was so happy and couldn’t wait for this joyous adventurous time of the month to happen …..you lied !! There was no joy, no extreme sports , no blue water spilling over wings and no rocking soundtrack oh no no no. Instead I had to fight against every male urge I had to resist screaming wooaaahhhhh bodddyyyyyyfooorrrmmm bodyformed for youuuuuuu as my lady changed from the loving, gentle, normal skin coloured lady to the little girl from the exorcist with added venom and extra 360 degree head spin. Thanks for setting me up for a fall bodyform, you crafty bugger

After Richard’s post went viral, getting nearly 102,000 likes and generating 4,688 comments, Bodyform responded.  They released a video response, informing Richard and his male compatriots who have also felt misguided all these years by Bodyform’s positive spin on a female’s time of the month.  They did so by sharing on their Facebook “We are always grateful for input from our users, but his comment was particularly poignant. If Facebook had a ‘love’ button, we’d have clicked it. But it doesn’t. So we’ve made Richard a video instead.”

And the response was tremendous; it consisted of a confession by fictional CEO Caroline Williams delivering a faux apology to Richard and all men who felt duped by the “blue water swimming, rock climbing, parachuting, and beaming women” as well as the various positive euphemisms for menstruation portrayed by feminine hygiene advertisers.  However it may not have put Richard and friends at ease.  Instead it continued to expose myths men would particularly prefer to ignore.  Hilariously, the Caroline reminds us that women also do fart.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bpy75q2DDow&version=3&hl=en_US]

Of course the video is entirely fake, provide a self-mocking tone from a confessional CEO, albeit fictional CEO.  But it’s the tone and humor of the video, combined with its timeliness that makes the video so intriguing, and is the reason it’s garnered over 3.5 million views.  It’s provides its own entertainment, as the general public is all too aware of the positive spin used in tampon ads that go to support the illusion of happy times surrounding women’s menstruation.  Bodyform comes straight out confessing their role in disguising this time, all for it to be exposed by Richard’s one comment.  “You Richard, have torn down that veil and exposed that myth, thereby exposing every man to a reality we hoped they would never have to face” states Williams.

Apart from the humorous, satirical and sardonic tone of Williams and the position of Bodyform, the company utilizes a few reinforcements to convey the humor behind the message.  My favorite, is when upon the end of the apology, Williams shatters the myth surrounding whether women pass gas or not.   Additionally, they play on tons of stereotypes surrounding the industry, and make a mockery of the blue liquid that has become a staple in feminine hygiene commercials as a blood substitute.  This comes when Williams takes a moment to rehydrate herself and drinks the very clearly dyed liquid.  Also they updated their own cover photo, with images debunking the enjoyment of biking, parachuting and running women during their time of the month.

As a result, it’s apparent that you don’t need a naturally appealing product to go viral.  In fact, I think few people would say that feminine products are appealing at all.  But by employing certain tactics and thinking outside of the box you can make anything successful.

You can find similar examples all across the web.  As it would appear the trick is surrounded by timeliness!

CJ Pony Parts, a mustang car parts seller, managed to utilize the social conversation surrounding the death of Carroll Shelby, the creator of the original Mustang, to create content interesting to their viewers.  By acting quickly after his Shelby’s death, CJ Pony Parts managed to build discussion from Auto enthusiasts all across the web regarding their brand, and their content.  Here’s the interactive infographic they created highlighting Carroll Shelby’s accomplishments.

Great QR code campaign Portugal

The idea was simple; Launch a QR code, one of the most innovative technologies of the 21st century, made by Portuguese cobblestones, one of the most ancient Portuguese traditions. From the fusion between technology and historical traditions a new and innovative way was born to promote Portugal abroad and to provide relevant cultural content for tourists visiting Chiado.

Well done! This method of this campaign has been picked up by various media and the content behind the QR codes are relevant for people who are looking for cultural information about their destination!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uEAfTrCYpk]

True hard guerrilla for organ donors

In a live experiment in Germany, people in a station are confronted with a patient, who is waiting a bit longer than just for the next train: for a life-saving organ! In Germany patients have to wait so long, that three of them pass away every day. And all because too few of us have an organ donor card.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5cjSHwyU6M]