Why are Elephants going Guerilla?

Guerilla Marketing, the unconventional way of performing promotional activities, has long been used by small businesses to market their products (and services). But recently, more and more big companies are resorting to this tactic for marketing and advertising their products. This new trend of big companies being attracted towards Guerilla marketing highlights some issues of concern with traditional advertising mediums and some major benefits of Guerilla marketing.

I think the stickiness factor of advertising is one of the most important reasons why companies are looking for alternative ways of product promotion. Due to the developments in information technology, the mediums to which a customer is exposed to has risen dramatically. On an average, a typical individual has access to more than 50 television channels and a dozen radio stations. Along with this there are tens of magazines coming out every month and millions of websites on Internet. This has risen the number of advertisments the customer is exposed to, reducing drastically the stickiness of the messages. Guerilla marketing may look like a rescue for advertisers to attract the customers, or even a boon if the size of budget involved in the effort is comparitively small.

I think budget, though a very big factor, doesn’t seem to be the only factor. Companies with hundreds of millions in marketing budget are also resorting to Guerilla marketing efforts. Guerilla maketing is pulling companies towards itself because it is one of the most targeted way of marketing products. Take for example Red Bull, the highly caffeinated energy drink. Red Bull is one of the companies with the most unconventional advertising strategies in the World. Some Guerilla efforts that made Red Bull the most popular sports drink in the World are organizing extreme events from cliff diving in Hawaii to skateboarding in San Fransisco to support atheletes who compete in these sports and attract a very targeted customer base. Red Bull also conduct a slew of not so typical promotional activities to make it a staple at hip bars around the World including creating student brand managers and consumer educators (read more about Red Bull marketing in Sep 2001 issue of Fast Company)

Another important advantage of some of the bigger Guerilla marketing efforts is the free media attension earned by the companies. Guerilla marketing does miracles in creating a buzz and start people talking about the brand. Consider the KFC campaign to become the first logo visible from outer space right when online firms were investing millions in publishing arial images of the earth. The campaign created more buzz for KFC than any other promotional activity for any fast food company. This also clears a misconception that all Guerilla marketing efforts you see out there are on small budgets. It took more than 50 engineers, designers, architects and other professionals working nearly 3 months round the clock to create the World’s largest logo.

Talking more about the budget, Guerilla marketing normally has the advantage of smaller budget than running campaigns on traditional mediums. One of the more recent successes of Guerilla merketing is the launch of Mini by BMW in the US for a budget of about $13 million. How did BMW pull this successfully in a country where every third advertisement on any conventional advertising medium is of a car? By deploying some great Guerilla marketing tactics.

Guerilla marketing broadens, or we can say removes, the limits of creativity in the space of marketing and advertising. Companies irrespective of their size, products and marketing budgets can use Guerilla marketing to promote their products. And when elephants dance well to the tunes of Guerilla, it readily attracts the customers’ attension and keeps the cash register ringing!

2 responses to “Why are Elephants going Guerilla?

  1. Guerilla marketing is the end all an be all. People are subjected to over 5,000 ads a day. I think I notice about 5 of them and I haven’t watched a tv commercial, heard a radio spot or read a newspaper in months. I suppose I am getting my fill on the Internet… but the fact remains that traditional advertising is on the way out. My company, Kaboom Advertising, specializes in Guerilla Marketing and it’s funny because all of our clients say the same thing. I don’t want to run my business the way my grandfather or even my father did. Running newspaper ads are boring. Get out there and get people talking.

  2. Kudos for the great piece of writing. I am glad I have taken the time to read this.