In your face

In your face

Bang! Chances are you’ve been hit by a guerrilla marketing campaign, where a product has been highlighted in a way that’s impossible to ignore.

For decades, the Goodyear blimp has been an instantly recognisable symbol, much beloved by sports fans at Superbowl games.

In eye-catching blue and yellow, with the Goodyear font and winged boot logo emblazoned across its envelope, the blimp represents the ultimate in guerrilla marketing, drawing every eye as it drifts uninvited across cities, stadiums and public places, making swathes of people gawk and crane their necks.

It would be easy to think of guerrilla marketing as advertising designed to shock – indeed, it often is – but there are other examples too. The only constant is that the campaign has to catch the eye and make potential customers stop and stare.

There are, of course, the weird and wonderful examples: when Folgers mounted a large coffee cup flush with the New York pavement, emitting puffs of steam; or the Oscar Mayar wiener – a giant hot dog sausage mounted on top of a car, cruising the freeways of the US and causing drivers to take a second look in their rear view mirrors.

In theory, it should be relatively simple to create your own guerrilla campaign, based around the classic concept of ‘attention, interest, desire and action’.

  1. First and foremost, grab your customer’s attention with an unexpected twist – it may sound obvious, but the expected is, well, just that and the element of surprise is key to your campaign.
  1. Once you’ve got their attention, you need to hold it, and what better way to pique interest then with the promise of a reward. Or even more effective, the raising of tension. You could argue that a 30ft Oscar Mayer wiener does neither of these; but perhaps it could get you drooling at the thought of a feast, and seeing a huge sausage bearing down on you like the couched lance of a jousting knight would cause anyone a moment of alarm.
  1. Next comes the instilling of desire, where you communicate the unique benefits of the product, creating that ‘must-have’ effect. To commuters walking over the Folgers coffee cup first thing in the morning, the need for caffeine probably became overwhelming.
  1. This leads to the action phase, when the purchase or order of the product takes place and – as the saying goes – everyone’s a winner.

Quite simply, anyone can turn a hand to guerrilla marketing. But make sure the creative juices are flowing first, and think of blimps and giant sausages.

Chris Gilson Journalist CPL
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