Guerilla Marketing: Daring to cross boundaries

For years now, ad agencies have tried to come up with unique guerilla marketing ideas to promote brands. This week, North Face has been widely criticised for boasting about changing images on community collaboration site Wikipedia. It uploaded its own product placement images on to Wiki to send them to the top of Google’s search results.

Subvert the System

This sort of action is risky. The underhandedness of the campaign goes against all the accepted rules of disclosure in advertising. Plus Wikipedia is a vast resource with many tens of thousands of loyal supporters. These supporters had already begun removing the North Face images, or cropping the products out of the image by the time the ‘campaign’ was revealed.

However, it is widely accepted that outrage breeds exposure and engagement. It just depends how thick your skin is as to whether your brand would go down this kind of road.

Hijack Another Brand

A less successful campaign this month has been Scottish brewers Forest Road’s. They attempted to ‘hijack’ the marketing power of Brewdog by encouraging customers to take photos of themselves holding Forest Road product in front of one of the brewing giant’s premium placement hoardings.

“So, in the spirit of good fun, we’ve masterminded a free campaign for a smaller craft brew who can’t afford this type of media coverage. That’s proper punk.”

If you say so Forest Road…

They seem to have even less of an idea of what punk is than Brewdog do. And that is saying something. But it shows the trend for thinking outside of the box is rife in product promotion at the moment. Where can you put your products so that there is an element of surprise? How do you ensure exponentially more people see them? How do you avoid paying a premium for this?

A successful guerilla marketing campaign can easily go viral and increase your customer base exponentially. But think very carefully whether you are ready to manage the Twitter storm and the digital fallout should it go wrong.

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