Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

1 ATM, 28 million+ social media impressions. Check out how this campaign turned heads in 2016! [Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

February 17, 2022

Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more.

A Note from Miles Everson:

I love guerrilla marketing!

For me, this is one of the best ways to effectively raise awareness about your brand and connect with your target audience.

As someone who’s been in the business and consulting industry for 30+ years now, I’ve seen how this marketing strategy does wonders for different brands. Not only does it help generate a good kind of buzz but it also captures attention through unique, fun, and engaging tactics.

Allow me to share with you an example of an awesome guerrilla marketing campaign.

Find out how a Canadian investment banking company welcomed NBA All-Star players during a 2016 event in Toronto and attracted the attention of lots of people.

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing

What’s the image that comes into your mind when you hear or read the words, “financial services company?”


Men wearing black suits and carrying briefcases?

Investors, financial advisors, and other professionals?

It’s easy to associate the finance industry with formality, etiquette, and courtesy. However, in today’s article, you’ll see how one banking company goes out of its professional and formal image to create a unique and attention-grabbing campaign.

The Bank of Montreal or BMO is a Canadian investment bank and financial services company that was founded in Montreal, Quebec. It is the fourth-largest bank in Canada by market capitalization and assets, and one of the ten largest banks in North America.

Photo from Forbes.com

In case you don’t know yet, BMO is the official bank of NBA teams Toronto RaptorsChicago Bulls, and Milwaukee Bucks. It is also a sponsor of NBA players Andrew Wiggins, Kyle Lowry, Tyler Ennis, and Kelly Olynyk.

When NBA players arrived in Toronto for an All-Star weekend event in 2016, the banking company decided to welcome hordes of tall men and promote the basketball event unconventionally.


By placing a 10-foot tall ATM (automated teller machine) in BMO’s headquarters at the First Canadian Place―a 72-storey skyscraper in the financial district of Toronto. The building has a daily foot traffic of around 250,000 people.

The campaign team set up the tall ATM beside a regular-sized ATM. Using the message, “The NBA All-Stars Are Coming,” BMO not only warmly welcomed visiting NBA players but also explained the reason for the unusually tall ATM.

You might be thinking, “How did BMO identify the appropriate height of the ATM for its guerrilla marketing stunt?”

According to Jon Flannery, BMO’s Chief Creative Officer, the campaign team picked the average height of a basketball hoop attached to a backboard during NBA games. This enabled the ATM to give out “slam dunk” vibes to basketball players and passersby alike.

Imagine slam dunking to insert your card into the machine!

This shows that despite having a reputation as a professional and formal financial company, BMO is capable of not only demonstrating the importance of its services to NBA teams and players but also thinking outside of the box to appeal to and engage with its target audience.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the 10-foot tall ATM didn’t contain any cash. If it did, even 7-foot-7 Gheorghe Muresan (the tallest NBA player in 2016) would need to take a running jump to insert the card and enter his PIN (personal identification number).

Was BMO’s 10-foot tall ATM guerrilla marketing stunt effective?

Chief Creative Officer Flannery said that one of the main assets of BMO’s marketing tactic was the simplicity of its concept.

He said,

“It’s such a simple idea that you don’t have to explain too much about it to get it.”

Just seeing how tall the ATM was and reading the message attached to it were enough to get the attention of a lot of people.

Here are the results of the guerrilla marketing stunt:

  • BMO’s Twitter posts about the ATM garnered over 28 million social media impressions in just 4 days. Other Twitter users and NBA players who went to Toronto at the time of the campaign also retweeted these posts.
  • BMO’s marketing tactic was featured in the news segment of BNN Bloomberg―Canada’s Business News Network reporting on finance news and the markets.
  • Several websites and media companies such as CBC Newsthestar.com
    AdWeekTrendHunter.com, and Posterscope featured the 10-foot tall ATM in their articles.
  • The guerrilla marketing stunt won the Silver award under the Out of Home category at the Clio Sports Awards in 2016.

A round of applause for BMO! The positive reception of the public shows that the 10-foot tall ATM was indeed a clever and awesome marketing strategy.

*Clap clap clap*

BMO did two things right in its guerrilla marketing stunt:

First, it knew how to capture the attention of its target audience while sticking to the nature of its brand.

Second, it understood what its prospects and customers liked. This enabled the company to steal the show with a “towering” campaign while also helping the NBA promote its All-Star game.

These are proof that if you want your brand to stand out from your competitors, especially during an upcoming event, you have to think outside of the box and find a connection between your brand’s products or services and that particular occasion.

… but it shouldn’t simply stop at that!

You also have to keep your target audience in mind and what they’d find interesting so your marketing efforts won’t go to waste.

Think about what BMO did in its brand activation: While banking and basketball are quite unrelated to one another, the company still managed to link the two by installing a 10-foot tall ATM.

This not only turned heads and stopped people on their tracks at the First Canadian Place but also strengthened NBA players’ connection with BMO as one of their sponsors.

We hope these lessons from BMO’s campaign encourage you to squeeze your creative juices and think of marketing strategies that will win the hearts of your audience!

Remember: When planning and creating your own guerrilla marketing tactics, it’s not just about your brand. It’s also about your target market and how you’ll compel them to transact with you.

That’s the key to marketing success!

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.)

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing”

Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerrilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”

Guerrilla Marketing is unconventional.

Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers, and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick to their target market’s mind.

Guerrilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.

This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.

It’s about making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).

Guerrilla Marketing can be inexpensive.

The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.

This is every business’ or brand’s dream!

Every Thursday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.

Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.

Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerrilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.

Hope you’ve found this week’s guerrilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Thursday’s Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing!


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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