2 Tales of Gorilla Marketing
"The object of advertising is to sell goods. It has no other justification worth mentioning." —Raymond Rubicam (1892—1978)
Okay, advertising can be used to build brand awareness and raise money.
Here are two quick stories about two entrepreneurs using Guerrilla Marketing and Crowdsourcing.
Brit marketing wizard Drayton Bird calls it Gorilla Marketing!
A Crowdsourcing Spoof
As of Jan. 7, advertising opportunities for the 2015 NBC Super Bowl extravaganza were 95 percent sold out.
The cost: $4.5 million for a 30-second spot.
This did not stop the loons at Newcastle Brown Ale from running a YouTube ad, starring saucy Aubrey Plaza of Parks and Recreation making the following strange offer:
Newcastle is introducing a cheeky, irreverent campaign on Monday, in which it will try to recruit 20 to 30 brands to help it break into the Super Bowl advertising melee. In exchange for a cash contribution, the other brands' logos and messages will be incorporated into a spot crafted with Newcastle by the advertising agency Droga5 that will air online and in some local NBC television markets during the game's broadcast. (Rival beer advertisers are not invited to join.)
In other words, crowdsourcing to buy a 30-second Super Bowl spot.
If this thing ran nationally, and if you are one of the 20 advertisers, your cost is $225,000.
For 30 seconds, a gazillion viewers might catch a split-second glimpse of your tiny logo, along amidst 19 others.
[See the first picture in the media player at right for what these 20 advertisers would get for their $225,000.)
An advertiser would have to be nuts to bite.
It turns out the entire concept was a hoax—a spoof campaign.
The fact is that Newcastle-owner Heineken has plenty of resources to pay for a Super Bowl spot. But Newcastle is blocked from running a national ad during the Super Bowl because Anheuser-Busch InBev holds exclusive beer advertising rights for the game.
I don't get it.
Why are these smartypants pissing away money and energy on a non-starter when they should be spending time figuring out breakthrough strategies for the client?
"Every time we get creative, we lose money," former RCA Record Club CEO Ed McCabe once said to me.
The Million-Dollar Home Page
The first time I came across the concept of crowdsourcing was a 2005 Washington Post story titled:
A Million to One
Chances Are Imitators Can't Match This Student's By-the-Pixel Web Sales Success.
Look what Alex Tew did, and you get one of those "Why didn't I think of that?" flashes. It's so simple, so cheap, so mind-bogglingly lucrative that it took the 21-year-old student from small-town Wiltshire, England, not even five months to go from broke to millionaire.
Worried about paying his college tuition last August, Tew chanced upon one of those rare original money-making ideas. How about creating an Internet Web page out of 1 million blank pixels? And then selling those pinhead-size digital picture elements that make up a computer screen for a dollar apiece, or $100 per 10-by-10-pixel block, to advertisers who turn them into colorful tiny billboards and micro logos linked to their own Web sites?
[See the second picture in the media player at upper right for the finished product. It is dazzling!]
At the time I thought the whole thing was nuts.
A decade later, this million-dollar home page is still alive and well at www.milliondollarhomepage.com.
Still ugly as hell.
Still full of live hyperlinks.
Still generating revenue.
Takeaways to Consider
- These two crowdsourcing campaigns are alike—lotsa advertisers getting together for a co-operative ad buy.
- Ya gotta love Alex Tew. Back in 2005, Steve Boggan of The Times (of London) wrote:
Alex is 21. He's an ordinary middle-class undergraduate: lives in messy student digs, has spiky hair, drinks a lot of Coke. And is on his way to his first million. Meet an Internet whiz-kid.
- A decade later, Alex Tew's million-dollar home page is still alive and well at www.milliondollarhomepage.com.
- Still ugly as hell.
- Still full of live hyperlinks for products and services.
- Still generating revenue.
- Still fascinating.
- What's the better deal: $225,000 for 30 seconds of mouse-type exposure at the Super Bowl 2015 or $100 for 10 years with a hyperlink to a website?
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