Mention viral marketing and most people will probably start thinking of the internet, strange Twitter memes and that good looking Old Spice bloke. But, just as many good TV campaigns begin life in a designer’s head, so many good viral campaigns begin life in the quote-unquote ‘real world’. In fact, the most cost effective viral campaigns often start life out on the streets as cheap and creative guerrilla concepts.
Mine’s a Rambo and Coke
In marketing, there are two ways to make an impact: The Coca Cola way and the Rambo way – The high cost, low creativity way, and the low cost, high creativity way. In other words, you can come up with one idea, one image and one message, then throw loads of money at it, driving fleets of trucks through American towns and sponsoring everything. Alternatively, you can go Rambo; go Guerrilla and push your creative talents to the edge in order to minimise spending.
Rambo, cinema’s ultimate Guerrilla, didn’t have much in the way of resources and he was up against people with a lot more to hand than him, but he had a lot of skill and creativity. After all, who else can take down a helicopter with a rock? Apply that to marketing, and replace the weapons with campaigns, and you have guerrilla marketing.
Why go Guerrilla?
Unless you have a bottom line that runs in the billions, or at least hundreds of millions, the Coca Cola way is probably not for you. You need to play to your strengths, make your skills work for you and, most importantly, get creative. Companies, charities and other organisations who do it right find that they can hook people in cheaply with low cost, high impact marketing ideas that stand out to people, stick in their memories and encourage them to tell their friends about it, and about them.
In terms of resources, scope and access, small and medium enterprises can’t compete with the big girls and boys. However, when it comes to ideas and creativity, when it comes to figuring out how to grab attention and stick in the memory, everyone starts on a level playing field. If a small-time player stands out and does the job particularly well, he or she can end up playing in the big leagues pretty quickly.
Going Google Guerrilla
Guerrilla marketing used to be limited to the local area. If you didn’t have a broadcasting budget, you couldn’t go national. Now, in the era of Google, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, anybody can go global. Just ask the cute kittens and stupid dogs with millions of followers. All that is needed is something that is different and attention grabbing. Really, viral marketing is just guerrilla marketing taken online.
This ‘Push To Add Drama’ promotion, set in a real square among real people, is a perfect example:
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