What’s black and white and has been seen by over ten thousand people today? My latest guerilla marketing campaign.
It’s the second day of March, and Spring is only 18 days away. You would find that hard to believe if you live in Toronto and like me, woke up to a thick blanket of snow on the ground. Like every morning, I played my day out in my head and made a mental checklist of the things that needed to get done today. In the midst of completing the first task on that list, which was shoveling my driveway and the sidewalk that wrapped around my house, I was reminded of my childhood and charging my neighbours 10 dollars each, to remove the snow off their walkway and driveway. On a good day, I would come home with $100—which is a lot for a 13-year-old. After doing the math, I thought to myself “How was I even able to shovel ten driveways as a kid?” By the time I’d finished shoveling the one and only driveway (mine) for the day, I put my shovel back in the garage in hopes that it will remain there for several months.
There’s no hiding that I’m an opportunist. Looking back, I realize that I was an opportunist as a child too—although I wasn’t familiar with the word, I knew that while others dreaded the sight of a foot of snow on the ground, I was calculating how much revenue I could generate from it. Not much has changed, and as I was stuck in traffic on my way to work, I saw another GIANT opportunity. No, it wasn’t another driveway, it was the location of my newest guerilla marketing campaign.
If you’ve seen my other blog on 100 best guerrilla marketing campaigns
, you’re probably familiar with the term. If not, the term “guerilla advertising” was coined Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book by which it which bears the same title. In brief, this form of marketing is spontaneous, and the magnitude of the campaigns are usually large and incite lots of emotion from its audience. It catches consumers by surprise leaves a lasting impression because it’s so different from your typical billboard or flyer. Guerrilla advertising requires the ones who are executing the campaign to be very resourceful. The best guerilla marketing campaigns in history
cost very little or nothing at all, and provided the most return on investment out of any other form of marketing.
When I got to work, I shared my idea with Damond, and within the hour, he and I were scaling a twenty-foot fence armed only with four packages of pull ties, two 26’ x 5’ vinyl banners and prayers that we wouldn’t freeze or fall. The cost breakdown of the campaign is as follows:
4 packages of pull-ties from Canadian Tire: $4.99 (we only used one of them)
2 vinyl banners measuring 26’ x 3’ : $500
Damond’s steak lunch: $40.00 (he’s not a cheap date)
I won’t tell you the exact location of our slightly (intentionally) crooked banners, but I will tell you that they are in clear view from the Gardiner Expressway. According to the city of Toronto, an average of 11,567 vehicles pass that stretch of lakeshore between the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on any given weekday. If half of those vehicles caught a glimpse of my campaign, it would be comparable to a commercial that airs on television, at a fraction of the price.
Originally used by small businesses with limited budgets, some large companies that use guerilla marketing like Coca-Cola
, have massive advertising budgets. If you have seen my campaign for yourself, you’ve just proved that this method of marketing works. Feel free to snap a picture and share it on social media while you’re at it. The bottom line is, no matter the size of your marketing budget, tossing guerilla tactics into the mix guarantees a substantial return on investment and remember one thing – if you need a website for your business hire a nerd!
Chris A. Hughes