Abandoned New York storefronts used to shill Bols Genever

By Todd Wasserman on Wed Jul 28 2010
Day As we’ve previously noted, the phenomenon of recession-driven abandoned storefronts has been an opportunity for guerrilla marketers. Where most people see urban blight, they see a canvas for brand promotion. The latest to embrace the idea is Bols, the Dutch distiller, which is promoting its Genever product with abandoned storefront takeovers in New York. The one pictured, in Williiamsburg, features a small slot (between the “f” and the “e” in “perftect”) where passers-by can peer into what looks like a modern art painting/display. (To get a better idea what it looks like, click here.)The slot is also lit up at night, adding to its curiosity factor. That’s just one part of a campaign from Beattie McGuinness Bungay that also includes logoed stainless steel straws at high-end bars and a Facebook page where attendees at Bols’ parties can tag themselves. As for the spirit, it’s been around for a long, long time and is described as tasting like a cross between vodka and scotch.

Homeless guy unable to convince people to see 'Youth in Revolt'

Posted on Tue Jan 12 2010


Who says there are no more unused pieces of real estate out there for marketing a movie, street-style? Or for that matter, who says Hollywood hasn't sunk to its lowest, most debased level on the human-vs.-animals scale? To answer the latter, I'll tell you about the former. As reported on Deadline.com, a producer of the twee hipster flick Youth in Revolt gave a homeless veteran $100 to hold a poster of the Michael Cera comedy at a busy intersection in L.A. where the man usually collects spare change. (His own homemade sign still got top billing!) The blog's readers—hardened industry types not known for their sensitivity—let loose on the stunt, calling it "demeaning," "generally repugnant" and "absolutely disgusting." It does meet the Brandweek definition of guerrilla marketing—it's an unusual idea with an irreverent execution, containing the element of surprise. But the exploitation part, well, that's just not part of the recipe. Plus, it's god-awful unforgivable. Since Cera's been whoring hard for the flick, it should've been him standing on the corner of San Vicente Boulevard with that goofy one-sheet. Not sure it would've made a difference, though. The Weinstein Co. movie took in a paltry $7 million at the box office this weekend as audiences basically said, "Meh." To its homeless marketing "mastermind," I say, "Dung beetle."

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Tricked-out cars urge you to hook up with 79 ChicagoNow blogs

Posted on Tue Aug 25 2009


Back when people used to slap bumper stickers on their cars, there was one in R. Crumb/Big Daddy Roth style that said, "If this van's a-rockin' don't come a-knockin'." Never loses its '70s trailer-park charm. That oldie sprang to mind today when I looked at an out-of-home stunt from marketing firm Zig for the Tribune Media Group, which runs 79 (count 'em, 79) local blogs under the ChicagoNow banner. (Print's dying, hadn't you heard?) To promote a blog called Sex and the Windy City, about relationships, Zig tricked out a car so it would sway to and fro, implying that a couple inside was getting all kinds of busy. Nice added touches: a trail of undies leading up to the scene and steamy car windows. (It's humid in Chicago!) Another stunt piled cars on top of each other to tout a blog about traffic, congestion and all manner of highway headaches. It's part of a larger campaign for the blogs, whose contributors include former White Sox pitcher Jack McDowell and past Playboy Playmate Candace Jordan (also identified as a "socialite"). Seems to be working so far, as Zig says there was a 234 percent increase in homepage traffic and a nearly 50 percent jump in registered users last week alone.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Pickpockets hired to carry out shady guerrilla campaign in U.K.

Posted on Mon Aug 24 2009

Pickpocket copy

If you've ever said, "Hey, that company just picked my pocket!" there's a stunt going on right now in London that should interest you. A mobile phone marketer called Talk Talk has hired a team of 20 "reformed" pickpockets to slip cash into (and not out of) the coats, pants and bags of unsuspecting Brits. The marketer plans to dole out about $200,000 in all, and is planning to expand the program to other cities in the U.K. next month. So, that's a win-win, right? Giving money back to recession-weary consumers and putting those light-fingered vagabonds to work on the right side of the law? Well, the local cops weren't too keen on the street-level marketing at first, figuring it might serve as a cover for real pickpocketing and could upset some folks who'd initially think they'd been fleeced (or felt up). But police have come to terms with it after talking with the advertiser and hearing the testimonial of Chris Fitch, the Fagan in this Oliver Twist-like experiment, who said, "Every time I put money back in someone's pocket, I feel less guilty about the fact I spent many years taking it out." All this and redemption too—that's a multi-purpose campaign.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

London shop Curb advances environmentally friendly marketing

Posted on Thu Apr 30 2009


When it comes to advertising, you can't get much greener than this: A London firm called Curb uses all-natural settings and materials as its canvas for marketing messages. That means crop ads, mow ads, rake ads, compost art, solar art, snow tagging, sand carving and field ads, among other techniques. The shop has lined up some big-name clients, including Budweiser, Kia and Nike. Curb's latest innovation is "sea tagging," which uses sea water to stencil and create temporary ads on the sidewalk. (Sea water evaporates more slowly than regular water does.) Curb recently sea tagged images of turtles to advertise the London Sea-Life Aquarium. Would something like this work in the U.S.? Well, Snapple already kind of tried it in 2005, when it tried to erect the world's tallest popsicle in New York's Times Square. That didn't work out so well.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Make a call on the world's largest cell phone, courtesy of Cricket

Posted on Fri Apr 24 2009


Wireless company Cricket is taking mobile technology to the streets with its Guinness-anointed "world's largest cell phone," a replica of a Samsung Messenger that's been powered up with its service and may soon pull up to a plaza near you. Alt-marketing agency Neverstop in Seattle created the tricked-out vehicle, which will call on East Coast destinations such as Baltimore and Washington, D.C., this summer. Visitors can make free unlimited calls and texts on the supersized slider or venture inside the store to participate in text message competitions, access video and music from mounted screens, activate wireless plans and pose in a jumbo Polaroid booth. Photos can be retrieved on the Cricket campaign Web site. The overgrown telephone wasn't the only traffic stopper. While schlepping to Chicago and Philadelphia earlier this year, Neverstop dropped 2,000 wallets containing cards, coupons for deals on wireless plans and, in a few cases, cold, hard cash. Straphangers who spotted fellow commuters reading green newspapers featuring the letter "K" and the campaign URL were handed Cricket-branded subway and train passes.

—Posted by Becky Ebenkamp

Jamba Juice's guy in a banana suit battles rising unemployment

Posted on Thu Apr 16 2009


Uncle Sam might not be able to get you a job, but Bananaman can! The Jamba Juice mascot hit the road earlier this week to raise awareness of the 4,000 summer jobs the company currently has available. (He's even doling out job applications, too.) The effort is part of the brand's 2009 School Bananananza (whew, that's one too many na-na's for us!). Participating Jamba Juices will donate 20 percent of all sales to one school each week for the next six weeks, as part of an overall mission to raise over $1 million for schools nationwide. Bananaman, meanwhile, is cruising the country in his banana-smoothie mobile to raise awareness. Yes, he is changing the world, one smoothie at a time.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Amstel brings awesome, dangerous 10-person beer bike to U.S.

Posted on Thu Apr 2 2009


Those crazy Dutch. Not only do they have hash bars and street urinals, they also have "beer bikes." Amstel Light's contraption is essentially a rolling bar that includes a working tap when stationary. After the 8-10 riders have had their fill of their light beer, they must peddle in unison to get the beer bike rolling. (Not an easy task, one would think.) The bikes are part of the brand's continued effort to "bring a taste of Amsterdam to America" under its "One dam good bier" campaign. Fortunately, there is a driver on board who steers the vehicle and who presumably hasn't had any imported beer or hash.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Hot recession advertising media: sandwich boards

Posted on Mon Feb 23 2009

Article-1094449-02CAEBC7000005DC-613_468x594 As we've mentioned before, the economic times seem to have prompted the reemergence of Depression-era fashions and pastimes. But what about advertising media? In the age of Facebook and Twitter, sandwich boards may just do the best all-around job of getting you a job. The Daily Mail in the U.K. seems especially impressed with this tactic, having run two separate stories recently about men who, desperate to find a job, took to wearing a sandwich board advertising their services during peak traffic hours. The most recent beneficiary of the gambit is Jason Fruen, an engineer, who has secured a job this week after five months on and off the dole. While some will no doubt see this as another indicator of troubled times, we prefer to point out that even in this economy, a committed approach to advertising can still net results.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

HBO is really into profanity, theft, vandalism and marijuana use

Posted on Thu Feb 5 2009


You can curse on HBO, but you have to bleep out swear words on HBO street-marketing materials.
  In a stunt to promote the Feb. 15 premiere of HBO's baseball-themed comedy Eastbound and Down, street teams hired by Grand Central Marketing are putting up 5,000 half-baseball clings on windows and mirrors in sports bars, liquor stores and gyms in New York and L.A. Copy on the baseball reads: "Kenny Powers was here motherf&@#ers." Kenny being the show's main character, a former big-league pitching hopeful who was undone by "his fading fastball and his insufferable personality." The idea behind the promo is that men 18-34 will swipe the cool-looking prop, which makes the glass around it look shattered.
  The Powers character is played by Danny McBride, who was in Pineapple Express. So, this stunt seems to endorse profanity, theft, vandalism and pot smoking all at once.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein



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