The phrase guerrilla marketing was first coined in 1984 in Jay Levinson’s book, “Guerrilla Marketing.” Today, more than 30 years later, guerrilla marketing is still viable and effective at reaching people in unconventional ways. The guerrilla marketer makes strong, lasting impressions utilizing surprise, stealth, grassroots, astro-turfing and other creative techniques to reach a small audience in a big way. The main idea is to be memorable.
Lately, I have seen many attempts to be surprising by advertisers from urinal mat advertising to ads on fruits and vegetables. Companies now can attach messages to concrete sidewalks or use chalk artists to make a message that is eco-friendly and washes off in the rain. Recently I saw an effective way of surprising people by the company Pure Storage. They wrapped escalator handles. We all have to grab the handles as we ride, but just the tactile difference on the handrail made you look at the message and read it.
In this example, I wish the marketer had crafted the message around the idea of going up or down, or connected more with the escalator environment in some way. But as I rode this escalator, you would see people discover the message and then read the message.
The only downside is the lack of statistics or metrics. Even so, the clutter-busting ideas can be so memorable to the target audience. Just remember, it does take some faith to execute on these kinds of ideas.