Donald Trump is the living proof that all news coverage is good news. He’s been vilified, torn apart, proven wrong and burned at the stake of opinion over and over for most of his obnoxious life, but more particularly in his run for President.
And let’s face it, he’s a master of Guerrilla Marketing.
Guerrilla marketing is an advertisement strategy concept designed for businesses to promote their products or services in an unconventional way with little budget to spend.
Some of the Donald’s marketing genius is intentional. I’m sure the Donald likes to push people’s buttons, but I’m also just as sure that sometimes he just says crap and ends up regretting it later (though let’s be honest, the regret part might be a stretch).
Guerrilla marketing campaigns, even when they don’t go exactly right, usually end up being a net benefit to the organization that is putting themselves out there. Being creative can sometimes be a blessing AND a curse. And even when they don’t end up being a net benefit, in the age of the internet, attention spans have shrunk to the point where yesterday’s hashtag war is gone and forgotten before breakfast the next day.
Let’s look at some contemporary examples:
The Libertarian Party’s candidate for president, Gary Johnson, has some interesting and passionate followers. In an attempt to capitalize on the popular #feelthebern hashtag of the Bernie Sanders campaign, they started a guerrilla marketing campaign about Gary Johnson on social media along with the somewhat-tongue-in-cheek hashtag #feelthejohnson. I don’t know if the hashtag was ever disavowed by the candidate, but it was just a little too over-the-top for a lot of folk. Interestingly enough, the search volume for his name has risen steadily, not entirely due to #feelthejohnson.
One of the most talked about commercial Twitter fails is the story of McDonald’s attempting to elicit positive stories about their stores and food. They launched with the hashtag #McDStories which quickly turned into a contest to be the most sarcastic tweet of the day. With attached stories about losing weight after quitting McDonald’s to finding fingernails in a Big Mac, the hashtag pounded McDonald’s.
Sometimes your guerrilla marketing mistakes are as simple as placing the wrong words together in a sentence, like this one…
It isn’t just social media that gets it wrong. Sometimes an organization’s logo – the original guerrilla marketing piece – fails miserably. Here’s a couple that should make you pause, at least for a minute.
First, spacing between letters actually makes a difference:
Second, if you are going to imply something, there are times when you should just draw it:
My dad was named Richard and I heard one of his clients call him Dick, which used to be the shortened version of Richard, once. Most of the time he went by Rich.
There are dozens and dozens of even more offensive, real logos out there. If you want to see more, just reach out to your favorite search engine and you’ll see.
One of the latest big-name rebrands that went bad is Instagram’s icon redos. The major complaint is that it looks like they had their nephew in Photoshop class do it. It lacks polish. But I would put money down that they got new users from all the talk about their icon.
In your efforts at guerrilla marketing, you may have made some mistakes, too. We certainly have. But making a mistake doesn’t have to be the end of the world. The best brands take their mistakes in stride and do better over time.
And don’t let the fear of making these kind of mistakes stop you from putting your business out there. Like Taylor says, “The haters gonna hate.”
If you need 46 hands helping you reach your marketing goals, reach out to us at KickFire.
I'm also a busy and engaged entrepreneur working on a number of interesting side projects.
When I'm not working, I run in the local mountains or work out at the local crossfit gym, ride my '83 Vespa PX200E, play with my kids, date my wife, or study Austrian economics or bitcoin.