Guerrilla marketing is often associated with the radical and extreme. Once a fringe movement in the world of advertising, it has easily made its way into the mainstream, providing an effective way for breaking through today’s advertising blindness.
Here we look at some of the most bananas and thought-provoking guerrilla marketing campaigns of last year, considering some the tactics used and evaluating why they were so successful…
The ‘Rings’ prank that amassed 200m views in 24 hours
Brand: ‘Rings’ movie
[iframe src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/WcuRPzB4RNc?rel=0″ width=”560″ height=”315″]
For the launch of the newest film in The Ring franchise, ‘Rings’, viral marketing agency Thinkmodo opted for shock tactics, as the video above reveals. The real-world prank rapidly went viral receiving 200 million views in 24 hours, becoming the top-trending video on YouTube.
Speaking to Adweek, Thinkmodo co-founder James Percelay, said: “It’s about taking things from a movie and putting them in a real-life context. There’s no separation like there is in a movie trailer. You’re watching it going, ‘Oh my God, I go to TV stores. This could be me.’ There’s this connection that takes it out of Hollywood and puts it into your local Best Buy. We like to inject a little humour, too, which makes [the pranks] even more shareable. Someone coming out of a TV in a Best Buy-like store is scary, but also amusing.”
Greenpeace makes a bold statement with gasmasks
In a series of stunts, aimed at raising awareness of air pollution across the country, Greenpeace scaled the statues of famous icons in London and placed a symbolic gasmask on each of them. The guerrilla campaign was supported by a #cleanairnow hashtag on Twitter, directing the public to a petition demanding British PM David Cameron to create a plan to clean up the country’s air.
The statues of Nelson, Cromwell, Churchill, Sherlock Holmes, Thierry Henry, Isaac Newton and more were all involved in the stunt, creating a mass of photographic and social sharing opportunities.
The petition read: “Air pollution is responsible for cutting short 40,000 lives in the UK every year. It’s time for this government to take robust and steadfast action to address this national health emergency. Please create a bold action plan that cleans our air, reduces pollution and saves lives.”
Image from the @GreenpeaceUK Twitter feed
A silent, ‘live’ theatre commemoration to the soldiers of the Somme
This incredibly beautiful and poignant piece of guerrilla marketing was created by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller in collaboration with Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre, to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. It was commissioned by 14-18 Now, the organisation dedicated to developing art projects during the centenary of the First World War.
‘We’re Here Because We’re Here’ was a piece of living theatre that saw 1,400 volunteers dress in First World War uniforms uniforms and appear unexpectedly in public locations across the UK on 1st July. The intention was to remember the 19,240 men who died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
All of those taking part were silent, apart from the occasional rendition of the song ‘We’re here because we’re here’, which was sung in the trenches during WW1, which served to heighten the emotional impact. Those taking part simply handed out cards with the name and regiment of the soldier they represented, when someone approached them and asked what they were doing.
Although social media became a fundamental part of the campaign, helping to share the message, it was the real-world, creative element which sat at the core, making it probably the most memorable guerrilla marketing campaign of 2016.
(Image from the #WeAreHere website)
Food price hikes by #PricedOutLondoner
Guerrilla campaigns don’t necessarily need to be on any grand scale or budget to have impact, as the #PricedOutLondoner blog demonstrated last summer with its food price stunt. Wishing to bring attention to the rapid house-price inflation in London, the blog’s creative minds Nathalie Gordon Wren Graham, devised a quick and ingenious guerrilla-style campaign which revealed how much supermarket essentials, such as mayonnaise and avocadoes, would cost if their prices rose in line with house prices in the capital.
It “guerrillad” a few Tesco stores located near big publishing and news publications, replacing the product price labels with very convincing ones they’d created, showing the ‘newly’ hiked price. A 350g block of cheddar cheese, for example, was priced at £36.33, illustrating what it would be if it was increased by the same 938% as property prices in Marylebone over the last two decades. Photos of the items and prices were then shared on a #PricedOutLondoner tumblr.
The stunt achieved coverage in The Sun, Metro, Daily Mail, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and ITV news. It was a great example of what can be achieved purely with Photoshop, in a very small timeframe.
House prices have risen 938% in Oval over the last two decades. Credit: Tumblr / Priced Out London