Skip to main content

Guerrilla Marketing in a Millennial World

Guerrilla Marketing
Millennials are all about digital media. Companies are clamoring for their piece of the pie on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. However, sometimes what you need is a little bit of guerrilla marketing. Now, not every PR-pro has the grit or the intuition for this sort of thinking outside the box, but I believe those who do have a distinct advantage to their counterparts who only work in the digital or traditional medium.

Some of the best campaigns have been grassroots movements that utilize traffic patterns or public spaces to advertise their message. Some of the first of these clever campaigns simply used bed sheets hung at dawn on overpasses to catch the L.A. traffic rush that often sees hundreds of thousands of commuters.

A few years ago, I served as editor and chief on a local forum that used guerrilla marketing techniques to reach our audience. One of these techniques was borrowed from a hobby called Car Casting whereby you basically created a tiny pirate radio station. It involved modifying a small FM transmitter that you could buy at any electronics store to broadcast your I-pod on to your car radio. I started looking a local laws to make sure I knew I was in compliance with the FCC (the signal had to be under 200 feet) and then I went to work soldering a much larger antenna and power source to the electronics. I was able to gain about 30% more range with a device that could fit in my pocket.

The result was I now had a device that could broadcast to the area around me. Effectively, with less than $50 in parts I could now broadcast whatever message I like to other cars, in a place of business or at sporting events. Today one could even mount the transmitter to a drone or a nearby building to gain further exposure.

Imagine sitting at a long red light in your car. Attached to the telephone pole is a cardboard sign that says, "Tune to 88.5 or Else!" (We can come up with the hook later). Curiosity gets the best of you and you do. On that same telephone pole is such a radio transmitter operated on a few batteries, broadcasting whatever message you want. Now imagine a very busy intersection and the thousands of people being reached inside their cars. That's pretty effective outreach.

Today, it's even easier as you can purchase ready made FM transmitters for Christmas displays.It's all completely legal too, as long as you don't broadcast too far.

This isn't unheard of either. Companies today are tying into technology such as wifi and celluar signals, especially at events gathering data and promoting their messages. That free-wifi you just connected to is a perfect opportunity for people like myself to advertise to you on a splash page and/or track your web surfing habits. Just remember that the next time you walk into Walmart (or the London Underground for my British audience) and agree to their terms of service for their wifi, that this is why they're doing it. It's a marketing platform that is also driving huge amounts of data for them to use in future marketing efforts.

While there's always a place for direct relationships on social media, sometimes what gives a campaign a creative advantage is the ability to think outside the box and build a broader set of tools where you're in control of the data instead of these large social media companies.

Popular posts from this blog

Food Lion: Saying One Thing and Doing Another

Something strange is going on, something's wrong at my local grocer store, a Food Lion. The deli and bakery are missing. Rumors are flying around town as to what's happening. Did the snow storm crush the roof? Is it water damage or is there something more mysterious? As it happens, it's nothing more than continued renovations of the store... but no one told the customers.

In a world of communications where transparency is often the only thing holding your reputation together, not telling the customers anything seems like a little bit of deception. More importantly, why not tell the customers of your super cool improvements coming their way? Before the local townspeople crack completely at their inability to purchase their sliced bologna, I have to wonder if this is poor public relations or something more.

Food Lion is selling it to the media in larger markets (where curious journalists have reached out to the company's media relations) as:
The remodels are part of Foo…

Does Christmas Music Increase Sales?

I'm sitting in a restaurant on Sunday and the music playing over the speakers is a rather obnoxious blend of no name Christmas songs. Playing were knockoff versions of classic songs to deliver us into the spirit of the Holidays, but for myself, it made me want to leave. As I shoveled food into my mouth as quickly as I could, I contemplated that there are likely some people who absolutely hate Christmas and that they find themselves living in complete Hell for about two to three months out of every year. What might seem as blasphemy for those who live in North Pole, Alaska or Santa Clause, Indiana (yes they do exist), is likely Guantanamo style torture for my waitress. There's even a top ten most annoying Christmas song list with Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer topping the charts. I'll admit, perhaps moving Christmas to a leap year schedule would increase the nostalgia for myself. Christmas seems to come too soon these day and there's a reason I feel this way. Busin…

Pepsi Max rebrands itself as Pepsi Zero.

Pepsi Max was designed around the height of Energy Drinks and aimed at the male demographic (aged 20-40) because it was mostly a female demo that drank diet drinks. They even used Jeff Gordan (Nascar driver) as a spokesperson to gain the attention of rugged, testosterone filled guys. It seemed like a good idea. However, with cola sales in decline Pepsi has decided to rebrand Pepsi Max as Pepsi Zero Sugar. The branding still includes "maximum taste" on the can, but clearly they've shifted gears. At least, here in America.

Ironically, while the brand Pepsi Max has struggled with consumers in the U.S., in the European market the brand has outsold it's traditional Pepsi products to become the focus of the company's attention. Yet the market seems to constantly misunderstand Pepsi's message when it comes to branding the product. Often they're giving away cans of Pepsi Max in city centres in Europe with "educators" to spread the gospel of zero calor…