Advertising is unavoidable. Everywhere you look there is product and service promotion of all shapes and sizes, especially if you live in London. Nowadays the city is so flooded with this noise that marketers have to find new and inventive ways to get their message to stand out. Guerrilla marketing is a tried and tested technique, helping advertisers to stand out from the masses in a strong and memorable way.
London-based designer Markus Studios explains where this style came from, ‘It was really created and established through small businesses and start-ups with a minimal budget, but this hasn’t stopped the bigger brands sitting up, taking notes and adopting the same methods.’
Most recently, this month, an ‘attack’ was made on the London Underground revolving around a published article in anarchist magazine STRIKE by David Graeber called The Phenomenon of Bulls*** Jobs. According to the magazine’s Facebook page The Special Patrol Group (SPG) have taken credit for the act and identified themselves as being the militant arm of STRIKE itself.
The campaign involved yellow and black ads bombed all over the London Underground network on the morning of January 5th. The first day back to work for most people after the Christmas break, quotes taken from the article included, ‘The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it’ along with the hashtag #bulls***jobs.
The development in this clever advertising has only really taken off in recent years. Why? The waves guerrilla advertising make across social media is key, and with social media being still a very new concept, advertisers can take advantage of many platforms. While before, word of mouth was difficult to track when it came to analysing the progress of your campaigns, now you can witness the snowball effect online, report and develop your advertising strategies.
Back in February 2012, creative agency Fallon helped Cadbury’s bring a little bit of fun to the capital with a gigantic Cream Egg splattered across the middle of Covent Garden. This guerrilla installation, as it were, was related to the recent TV adverts showing comedic ‘eggthletes’ competing with one another as they took part in a range of Olympic sporting events trying to out ‘goo’ each other. A very clever idea with a big impact in an area of London famed for being busy and chaotic. This would have gathered just as many crowds as a witty magician.
The Economist created a great billboard for their ‘less is more’ campaign. The simple yet imaginative design featured a huge light bulb extruding from the centre of an (Economist) red background, with just the logo placed subtly in the bottom right corner. With the use of motion sensors, the light bulb would light up each time a person walked under it. A truly inventive and attention-grabbing idea from one of Britain’s most talented creative agencies, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, it gave many a Londoner a eureka! moment.
Another real eye-catcher, and a first for UK advertising, was the design for the British Airways #lookup campaign last year. Created by the world-renowned Ogilvy Group UK, and using cutting-edge surveillance equipment to track commercial plane flight schedules, they created an interactive billboard in Piccadilly Circus consisting of a child pointing to overhead planes in real time.
Drawing on the childlike excitement of seeing your first ever aeroplane, this really sets the standard for interactive billboard designs. It also taps into one’s curiosity. We’ve all thought, on a gloomy average day, ‘I wonder where that’s going?’—British Airways gave you the answer.
A campaign for Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) in 2013 was probably the best example of street art meeting corporate messaging in a long time. According to CALM, three men under the age of 35 take their own lives in the UK every day, which statistic makes suicide the biggest killer of men under 35. The campaign involved four giant posters erected on Old Street roundabout for 36 hours, before being auctioned off to raise funds to further the campaign.
Using the phrase ‘every Tom, Dick and Harry’ in an unusually bleak way to represent the extent of the issue, the graffiti form added personality and differentiation to a phrasing that suggests every man is the same. The project was led by agency BMB, who choose to use graffiti as a means to raise awareness, utilising the notion of self-expression inherent in any art form.