Wherever we are, we see a lot of ads these days. A content-hungry consumer with satellite or cable television and an itchy finger on the remote control might see bits and pieces of a hundred ads in the course of an hour.
So how can a marketer grab the attention of a jaded consumer and hold it long enough to make an impression?
Is the answer guerilla marketing?
Book Publishers Do It
Book publishers have been masters of guerrilla marketing for centuries. Send a new book to The New York Times Sunday Book Review to be reviewed, and the cost of the book, plus press release, plus letter to the editor, plus shipping might be $12.
The good news: If you get a one-page review, that is the equivalent of $38,030 (plus design costs) that you would have had to spend for a full-page ad--a terrific return on your $12.
The bad news: With 195,000 new book titles published every year, your chances of being reviewed in The New York Times Sunday Book Review are zilch. Zip. Zero.
The net result: You are out $12 and readers of The New York Times will never hear of your book.
Guerrilla marketing takes many forms.
A huge worldwide television event is the Olympic Games held now every two years. The International Olympic Committee allows 12 TOP (The Olympic Partners) sponsors who pay $50 million to $75 million for the privilege of using the five rings in their ads and calling themselves sponsors. Among the TOP partners for the Beijing games are McDonald's, General Electric and Visa.
At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, the Mars candy people did not wish to pop for becoming TOPs nor spend millions in TV advertising. Instead, they dressed up a slew of employees in M&M character suits and had them line the route of the marathon. When the runners came by, the M&Ms were ordered to jump out from the crowd and wave madly at the TV cameras, so they would be seen by tens of millions of people worldwide.