A CAD 3 million bus stop?! Know more about this “mind-shattering” campaign here… [Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]
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:
It’s “Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing” Thursday!
We’re excited to share today’s feature.
Guerrilla Marketing is an unconventional marketing tactic. According to Jay Conrad Levinson, this strategy works because it’s engaging, easy to execute, and sometimes, inexpensive. I personally enjoy encountering these kinds of campaigns because they make a huge impact and easily stick to consumers’ minds.
Are you excited to know what marketing stunt we’re featuring today?
Keep reading below. I’m sharing how a consumer goods company generated HUGE returns with just a simple, interactive campaign.
Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing
It’s quite challenging to come up with marketing campaigns that effectively capture the public’s attention and imagination.
To break through their minds nowadays, marketing efforts almost always have to be groundbreaking—shaking consumers out of their stupor and making them ask themselves:
“What is going on here?”
One example of this was when automotive company Tesla used bulletproof glass windows in a campaign to demonstrate the capabilities of its Cybertruck, a new line of electricity-powered, light-duty trucks, in 2019.
Here’s the thing: The marketing strategy became controversial because the bulletproof windows easily cracked after a steel ball was thrown at it.
Well, we’re not entirely sure whether or not this was deliberately planned by Tesla to generate buzz about its Cybertruck, BUT!
The mishap resulted in lengthy media discussion and helped increase awareness about the company’s new automotive! In fact, an article from NewsBreak stated the failed demonstration benefited the company more than if it happened smoothly.
Let’s backtrack 14 years earlier from Tesla’s campaign…
Did you know that in 2005, a consumer goods company also used glass windows to show the effectiveness of a new product?
That company is none other than…
3M is a multinational company operating in the fields of worker safety, healthcare, and consumer goods. The firm manufactures over 60,000 products, such as:
- Passive fire protection
- Personal protective equipment
- Window films
- Paint protection films
- Car-care products
- Electronic circuits
… and more.
As of 2021, 3M operates in over 70 countries around the world.
So Near, Yet So Far
In 2005, 3M launched a new product called Scotchshield. This is an Ultra Safety and Security Window Film made of a clear, tear-resistant material. The product helps mitigate hazards from shattered glass, protects people from flying glass shards, and blocks the amount of harmful UV rays from the sun.
Photo from Autofreaks.com
Simply said, the Scotchshield is capable of delivering superior performance in blast and impact events, and maintaining a high level of optical clarity.
Based on these descriptions, it seems like the Scotchshield is truly a must-have product!
So… how did 3M raise awareness about this window security film?
Through the “CAD 3 Million Bus Stop” campaign!
Conducted in Vancouver, Canada in 2005, this one-day guerrilla marketing tactic was simple: CAD 3 million was placed inside an advertising casing at a bus stop. Afterwards, the campaign team covered the casing with Scotchshield to make the glass stronger.
What happened next?
Passersby were challenged to break the glass using only their feet (while wearing their shoes, of course). If they successfully did it, the money would be theirs. Security guards were standing near the bus stop to ensure no one broke the rules.
Woah… who wouldn’t be up for that simple challenge? If we were there during that time, we’d also give it a try!
3M significantly benefited from the campaign: The repeated attempts from the public highlighted the strength of the Scotchshield and the advantages of using it. After all, if passersby couldn’t easily break the glass casing, then the window security film must be a good product.
After several kicks and strategies, the frame of the casing was starting to show serious damage. However, since the challenge was about breaking the glass and not the frame, no one succeeded in taking home the CAD 3 million, and the campaign was declared over.
Once the guerrilla marketing stunt was done, details about it were revealed to the public:
- The glass casing didn’t actually contain CAD 3 million. It only had CAD 500 in real currency and the rest was fake. This meant if someone successfully broke the glass, that person wouldn’t be in a walk-away-with-a-duffel-bag-of-cash situation. He/she would just receive the prize through more secure methods.
- The glass casing wasn’t bulletproof. It only had the Scotchshield applied on it to strengthen it.
- The Scotchshield doesn’t make glass bulletproof. It is only designed to make glass more shatter-resistant so there’s less risk of injury.
Well done, 3M!
Was 3M’s “CAD 3 Million Bus Stop” campaign effective?
The campaign gave passersby the so-near-yet-so-far feeling. Yes, the premise of the stunt was simple yet no one managed to break the glass casing and take home the CAD 3 million. This showed that the CAD 3 Million Bus Stop campaign was not only attention-grabbing and engaging but also successful in showcasing the capabilities of the Scotchshield.
These were the results of the guerrilla marketing stunt:
- 3M generated over CAD 1 million in Scotchshield sales 3 months after the one-day campaign.
- The company recorded an additional 3-month backlog in Scotchshield orders because a lot of Canadians heard about the campaign and were convinced that the product was effective.
- 5 Canadian TV stations covered the guerrilla marketing tactic and featured it in one of their news segments.
- The “CAD 3 Million Bus Stop” story appeared in both local and international newspapers.
Congratulations, 3M! These results show that the bus stop campaign was truly a hit not only in Canada but also in other parts of the world.
The guerrilla marketing tactic was relatively cheap for 3M to conduct considering the publicity it generated. The costs of the campaign were minimal, with the advertising casing rented and security guards paid for just 1 day.
… and seriously. Who wouldn’t fancy their chances of beating the bulletproof glass challenge—especially when CAD 3 million was at stake?
Highly likely, almost everyone would like to try to win that prize!
This campaign represented a tiny overhead that had a huge return on investment. It was a clever stunt that compelled the members of the public to actively participate. It also took advantage of people’s desire to take on a challenge and be rewarded for it.
To this day, 3M’s “CAD 3 Million Bus Stop” campaign is still one of the most well-known marketing stunts in history.
Get inspired with this simple, clever, and fun guerrilla marketing tactic!
This example shows that a well-executed, out-of-the-ordinary plan can have long-lasting benefits for your business.
Besides, there are only a few strategies that scream as loud as—or even louder than—shattering some glass to win millions of customers… and dollars.
So, stand out in a crowded market and do something that grabs the attention of your target market!
(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!
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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