Silly Marketing

 At first I thought it was a creative marketing campaign. Why not put signs up banning your product throughout a city? Get people talking about it and make it top of mind. Interrupt what you would normally expect to find on a sign and surprise and delight people and make us smile.

But it wasn’t a guerrilla marketing campaign. Instead it was the very real effort of the LA sanitation department trying to eliminate a costly cleanup problem that occurs when kids squirt the gooey substance all over the place.

This made me think of how marketers  can use this street smart marketing idea to get the word out about their brand. 

What happens in a city when people stand outside a new pizza parlor with protest signs marching outside saying, “boycott Joe’s Pizza because it is so damn good or I got addicted to the sweet tomato pies” A group of protesters holding signs walking out front of a store around 5-7 pm could bring a smile to a lot of faces. 

Silly String -  Stunt Marketing from MomentSlater 
Creating a public event that causes you to stop and say, wait – is this for real. It allows a brand to find a way to gain publicity, to entertain and to get notice IF and only IF it connects to a key benefit of the brand. Gimmicks for gimmick sake alone will fail. But well-thought out attention grabbing stunts have merit.

How can your brand use publicity stunts to humanize your brand, gain attention and ultimately drive more business?

Six questions to ask:
  1. What is the key message I want someone to takeaway when they experience the brand's amusing stunt?
  2. How can we break through the “blah, blah, blah” of an ordinary day and do it in a way that doesn’t offend anyone, but makes people smile?
  3. What creative idea fits with the ethos of our brand or service and won’t send the wrong signal about who we are and what the brand stands for.
  4. If my goal is to get on the local news, what time of day allows the stunt to gain coverage?
  5. Are there serious legal repercussions I need to be aware of? We don’t want to deface a building or do any damage but we need to find a way to get noticed.  We of course don’t want to create any kind of safety or public hazard so thinking through a stunt is important.
  6. Can we do something that is highly social in nature and that others will want to spread on social media.

Trade Show Antics
Brands often try and gain attention at trade shows when they have a captive audience. I have seen magicians, singers, celebrities and other ways to bring people to a booth.  A street event is different because it has to capture people who aren’t thinking about your industry during their busy schedule.

A few more ideas to get you thinking about publicity stunts to attract the RIGHT kind of attention. 

A law firm that hires people to go into a business district and get people to sign a petition to make lawyers use fewer big words.  If your law firm is positioned around a “plain-speaking” approach to the law, this kind of awareness stunt could gain attention.  Who doesn't want lawyers speaking more plainly?

An accounting firm who at tax season, hires people to give out bags of beans with their logo printed on the bag. The people giving away the free bags of beans tells everyone that if they need help counting these beans, they should contact Jack’s Tax Services. 

A farmer’s market looking to publicize itself, finds a public garden and plants some fake bushes with canned peas or bags of frozen vegetables growing on it. Little signs say, did you really think your vegetables comes from a box or the freezer case? Visit The Happy Valley Farmers market.

We are all so serious about our work. But a little marketing fun can help you act a little silly and bring a human face to your brand. If you disrupt the pattern of the ordinary, you can get noticed. But make sure it ties-in with the personality of your brand and the impression you want to give your audience. 

What kind of silliness will you squirt?  

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