ADWEEK published its special report on Guerrilla Marketing a couple of weeks ago including a few quotes from your truly on how marketers are capitalizing on empty retail spaces. These quotes were part of a larger conversation I had with ADWEEK on overall guerrilla trends and the kinds of things you might see in 2010. I’ve collected those thoughts into this piece that looks remarkably similar to an article of mine that appeared in MediaPost this week!
More DO, Less SAY
Guerrilla used to be about “hit and run” stunts that in the best case yielded on-message PR. Like other forms of marketing, guerrilla is evolving into more complex experiences that DO something for the consumer rather than simply saying something to them. The HSBC BankCab (yup, its still driving brand love after seven years!), the Samsung Charging stations and Charmin’s Times Square bathrooms are three examples of the DO versus SAY approach.
Expect a lot more of this in 2010 with new twists that integrate technology and/or social media. For example, Charmin added a search for Tweeters to supports its 2009 “pottie platoon” and HSBC added tweets to the BankCab program.
Meet Up meets Flash Mob
At the heart of the most effective guerrilla campaigns is a physical interaction. Social mobile technologies enable new interactions that guerrilla marketers will undoubtedly exploit. A well-connected marketer will be able to take the notion of a flash mob to new heights, gathering people of extraordinary commonalities at a moments notice. Think Meet Up meets Flash Mob. It is easy to imagine a kitchen appliance company gathering left handed vegan cooks for an “equal rights” march through Bloomingdales that turns into a party to celebrate a new “leftist” friendly product line.
Foursquare, Loopt and Google Latitude all represent interesting opportunities for marketers to connect with likeminded consumers in fresh ways. These tools all create the opportunity for customized micro-events that could make prospects feel a part of something special. For example, liquor brands should have a field day partnering with Foursquare and/or Loopt to create an entire nights worth of experiences.
Pop-up not Pooped Out
With commercial real estate still in the tank, expect guerrilla opportunists to exploit empty spaces in all sorts of new ways. Suddenly these windows could become touch screen displays that are customized ecommerce enabled eco-systems. Smart video technology would assess the people walking by (i.e. male, female, young, old, short, tall) and serve up a customized visual experience.
For example, the video window could display an avatar of the individual walking by and then transport it to sunny beach in the Bahamas for a travel company. The consumer could select their own destination and place their image into it. This image could be emailed to the consumer along with a discount for a cruise to that destination. Less tech heavy uses of storefronts will include live mannequins, video projections and printed posters that change on a daily basis for a reason (weather reports, news items, drinks of the day, etc.)
Taking Tech over the Top
Look for augmented reality to creep into guerrilla programs. For example, a girl could virtually try on a dress she’s just seen via a guerrilla encounter, share that “trial” with a friend, get instant feedback, figure out who makes that dress and then order it on Zappos. Smart phone apps could include components found via a real life scavenger hunt. The consumer would have to find the “clue” and take a picture of it which would help them reach a higher level in the app. The variations on this are endless but all involve integrating mobile technology with a physical experience.
Guerrilla marketers have long pursued random acts of kindness as a means of gaining attention for their brand. Look for these random acts to become less random and more upscale, providing little moments of luxury in 2010. Concierge service in unexpected places, free transport in unique vehicles and exotic food samples for passersby are but three examples you can expect to see this year.
Little luxuries are always welcome and can be delivered on an increasingly personal basis thanks to advancing technology. For example, GPS mash-ups can enable everything from customized messaging to personalized walking tours. This messaging could be educational—like how do you get the best shot of a landmark (that you happened to be at) to what’s the best thing to order at the restaurant across the street. This level of customization will endear brands to their prospects thus transforming them into card-carrying brand evangelists.