Guerilla marketing isn’t new! — from the Oscar Meyer wienermobile to the Goodyear Blimp, companies have been trying to get our attention in unconventional ways. Even Roman gladiators advertised their skills via graffiti. But today, there’s more competing for our attention than ever before thanks to social media. That means that these nine truly creative and surprising campaigns are really the crème de la crème of attention grabbing.
Jagermeister: Undercover Games
Easily one of the most creative marketing campaigns, period, this viral sensation created a huge buzz with a combination of nostalgia and cutting edge technology. Jagermeister’s “Undercover Games” Snapchat account fed subscribers hints to an exclusive themed party. Hearkening back to a time when finding the best parties accomplished by keeping one’s ear to the ground, the brand was able to appeal to multiple demographics with its combination of mystery and adventure.
This yearly campaign is part and parcel of what distinguishes Tom’s from other brands. The company, which makes shoes, bags, coffee, and more, has made charity central to its brand identity in a way that few other for-profit companies can compete with. For example, when you purchase a pair of Tom’s shoes, a child in an economically disadvantaged region receives a free pair of shoes from the company via their One for One program.
The #withoutshoes campaign is an annual event that builds brand recognition via even more charity: Fans are encouraged to go “without shoes” for one day a year, and to take a barefoot photo tagged. For every #withoutshoes photo Tom’s sees, another child receives a pair of free shoes. It’s social media engagement at its finest, and spreads further every year.
Ex Machina: Making a Match
SXSW (South by Southwest) is a yearly festival in Austin — and participating companies are always trying to outdo one another with creative marketing. The marketers for the film Ex Machina, which happened to premier in Austin on a Saturday night during the festival came up with an ingeniously guerrilla campaign.
With so many out of towners around, there was more activity on Tinder than usual. But some Tinder hopefuls got botted. Nope, not by a tricky porn service — but by Ava, the artificial intelligence in the film. When users swiped on the simple, pretty photo of a young woman, they were treated to a series of surprising questions like “What makes you human?” before being linked to “Ava’s” Insta, which featured a trailer of the movie.
Chipotle: Scarecrow Film and iOS App
Anyone who was around on social media in 2013 remembers the poignant short film by Chipotle, a restaurant chain that prides itself on sourcing its ingredients ethically. The film generated a ton of social media buzz, but it was only the beginning — Chipotle also released an iOS game that allowed fans to fight against the industrialised, evil company “Crow Foods” by helping animals, the environment, and ethical farmers.
The film and the game both appealed to social media users and sent Chipotle’s message—which might have come across as overbearing otherwise — in a whimsical, engaging, entertaining manner.
Dove: Real Beauty Sketches
Another company that harnessed the guerrilla advantages offered by a compelling, shareable video is Dove. They FBI forensic profile artist Gil Zamora to create two portraits of each of a number of different women—without looking at them. For the first portrait, the woman described herself. For the second, a stranger she’d met in the studio described her. This simple, heart wrenching film reveals our tendencies to be our own worst critics. It’s a universal message that people loved sharing to brighten one another’s day, and it took practically every social media platform available in 2013 by storm.
(This isn’t the only one of Dove’s feel-good “true beauty” videos that have done well as social media marketing—you can check out plenty more at the Dove US YouTube channel.)
Lay’s: Do Us a Flavor
This campaign did so well that Lay’s has revived it repeatedly. The company offered $1 million for a fan-submitted original flavor idea. Fans could submit videos, photos, or written descriptions of their flavor ideas to the company. Finalists are then voted on by their social media followers.
Hamburger Helper: Watch the Stove
This April Fool’s prank garnered tons of laughs and even more social media shares. The unassuming pasta dinner company dropped a five track hip hop mix tape on April 1st, 2016. The tracks were produced by a team from the McNally Smith College of Music and are delightfully high quality — and with titles like “Feed the Streets” and “In Love with the Glove” it was destined to get attention. The company even made two music videos, one of which features the cartoonish glove logo falling in love at the club!
Soul Pancake: Snapchat Creativity
This socially conscious company, the brainchild of actor Rainn Wilson, aims to spread joy through its optimistic, upbeat, and inspirational digital content. In keeping with that same theme, the company’s marketing also focuses on engaging its fans by putting unexpected smiles on their faces. One of the ways they do this is with surprising, creative, artsy, and entertaining Snapchat engagements with their audiences. From games to portrait drawing to “Motivational Mondays,” SoulPancake loves to ambush their fans with unapologetically happy and wholesome content… and it’s working!
Marketing powerhouse Disney probably doesn’t need guerilla marketing to promote their beloved franchises. But they have used guerilla marketing to engage their fans and do some good. Disney and Make-A-Wish have long partnered to make the wishes of children with life threatening conditions come true. The #ShareYourEars campaign promotes this partnership by asking fans to promote Disney by sharing their creative takes on the company’s signature mouse ears on social media. For every #ShareYourEars tagged photo, Disney donated $5.00 to Make-A-Wish above and beyond their usual giving.
Do you also want to start taking advantage of unconventional ways to engage your audience and break through the clutter? Then now is the time to get in touch with your favourite social media agency. We’re always here to help you shine online.