It is that time of year again, when we look back at the best campaigns and content strategies by some of the world’s leading brands. The most effective advertising happens when the consumer is invited to engage, and enjoy a memorable experience that both punctuates a promotional message, while creating a lasting impression about the culture, mission and value of a brand, product or service.
Very few examples of successful marketing are as creative, interesting or powerful in promotional storytelling as guerrilla marketing campaigns.
Why Does Experiential Marketing Work?
We have decades of traditional, conventional broadcast advertising to thank for the degree of numbness that many consumers feel, when they are bombarded by excessive or repetitious advertising. Thanks to Google AdWords, even items that we thought about buying, or websites that we look at, appear in targeted advertising on every page we browse online.
Content saturation means that retention of information, messaging, and storytelling from advertising reaches fewer people, who are inundated with thousands of competing messages per day. Consumers are aware of product placement, advertisement on digital music stations like Pandora, affiliate marketing and other methods of attracting customers.
Today, Guerrilla marketing is also referred to as “experiential marketing” for its ability to pull the consumer into a unique and engaging experience. It can take the form of street art, print advertising, displays or even charitable acts that go viral. Because the method is fun, or deeply meaningful, it doesn’t feel like conventional advertising, and consumers respond strongly to it.
Let’s look at three notable and wildly successful campaigns that drew attention for being creative, unique or impactful in the lives of consumers.
Kellogg’s Krave Creative Art at Comi-Con
Consumers who like comics, cartoons and science fiction must love cereal, because the obsession for all three usually begins in our favorite childhood box of healthy (or unhealthy) breakfast food. Why would Kellogg’s, one of the world’s largest cereal manufacturers, be keen to make a brand impression with readers, and fantasy fan clubs at Comi-Con in San Diego? Because art is cool, but when it is made from cereal, and depicts your favorite superhero, it’s even cooler.
Moreover, when it is created by one of the world’s best comic book illustrators, you lose your mind. Kellogg’s hired Francis Manipur, a Filipino-Canadian comic book artist, to create multiple live art installations, using cereal. The draw in this particular campaign was the celebrity artist, who was world renowned for artwork on THE FLASH for DC Comics, and the TRINITY series. Attendees would not only enjoy the art, but they would get to eat cereal with the artist.
Each creation took five-hours, and the final pieces of art were displayed at Nerd HQ at Comi-Con 2016. The guerrilla marketing campaign launched Kellogg’s new cereal, called Krave, available in chocolate, smores, and double chocolate flavors. Naturally, free samples were provided to attendees, who snap-chatted, tweeted and instagrammed to make the event one of the most memorable brand campaigns.
Few people have acknowledged the profound guerrilla marketing campaign that dominated the summer of 2016. The augmented reality app was made available for free to consumers, who immediately participated in one of the largest and most successful brand pushes of the year. Can it be classified as a mobile health app, given the fact that in the first three months there were an estimated 100 Bn steps taken by players?
While the app was only launched on July 6th, 2016, the Pokémon Go application deserves to be inducted into the guerrilla marketing hall of fame. Residual in-game purchases added $7.5 billion dollars to Nintendo’s market valuation. Sales for the gaming company’s Nintendo 3DS increased by 80%, thanks in large part to the augmented reality game.
One of the biggest gains for the brand, was endearment to families, who found themselves enjoying the app together. The surge in downloads and players of Pokémon Go revealed that 63% of players were women, over the age of eighteen, and 45% of players had a mean income of $50,000 per annum or more. While supposedly designed for children, the app managed to engage the prime purchase decision makers (women).
Whirlpool – Care Counts™ Program
When a brand creates a campaign that is aimed at social good, and making an impact on the lives of its customers, the storytelling takes a different tone. We know that the brand is advertising to recruit new customers, and increase product or service awareness. However, as consumers, we cannot help but become endeared to a company that allocates time and resources to effect positive change.
The Whirlpool Care Counts™ Programme became aware that for many school-aged children, access to clean clothes and safe laundry facilities was a luxury. Disadvantaged children would opt to miss school, as they had no clean clothes to wear; a problem that teachers were aware of. The Whirlpool Care Counts™ Programme installed new washer and dryer sets in schools, and children were encouraged to bring in their laundry weekly for free access to clean their clothes.
The result? Attendance rates shot up, and Whirlpool earned a special place in the hearts of consumers, for eliminating obstacles to education for American children in need.
Over To You
Effective guerrilla marketing does not have to be expensive to work. Neither does it have to be random or unpredictable – businesses and agencies can plan guerrilla marketing campaigns and execute them successfully with a few good strategies:
- Target your audience at the right points along the sales funnel. This is crucial when you’re aiming to improve public relations.
- To avoid any last minute surprises, make full use of tools. For instance, WorkZone can help sales and creative teams collaborate and share updates on campaign progress, while Brandwatch helps monitor how audiences are responding to the campaign on social media and get real-time feedback.
- Vary your content marketing from your usual calendar if your business is strategically targeting local web traffic and search.
- Storefront displays and witty signage can cost very little, but if done correctly, can endear your business to walk-in customers by ambushing them in a friendly way.
Overall, you need to give your audience something creative, entertaining and relatable to succeed at guerrilla marketing. If you have good insights from any other recent successful campaigns, please let’s discuss in the comments!
[The author of this post is Pratik Dholakiya, founder of Growfusely]