Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

A Transformers car?! This metaphorical campaign brings your traffic-eliminating imaginations to life! [Fridays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

April 23, 2021

Have you ever dreamed of eliminating a gridlock of cars in front of you with just a press of a button?

If you experienced getting stuck in a very looooong traffic jam, we’d understand if you want to answer with a loud, “YEAH!”

In March 2017, one American telecommunications company brought drivers’ and commuters’ traffic-eliminating imaginations to life.

That company is…

Verizon!

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The company wanted to demonstrate how its new vehicle diagnostic and tracking system, Hum, can upgrade a car’s performance.

Just a bit more information…

The Hum is a car diagnostic port device that makes a vehicle “smarter” and connected with a suite of features such as a mechanic hotline, maintenance reminders, boundary and speed alerts, and a WiFi hotspot.

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Wondering about how Verizon introduced this new device to the US market?

To showcase how the Hum can level up a car’s features and capabilities, Verizon came up with an idea of a car that LITERALLY goes up!

That campaign was…

The “Hum Rider” Campaign!

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The Hum Rider was a custom-built car that could master any traffic jam with just a flick of a switch. The car had the ability to widen and elevate so it could pass through a series of other vehicles in front of it.

Unfortunately, there’s only one car like that in the world and it’s not for sale. The only Hum Rider that existed was the one used by Verizon for its Guerrilla Marketing strategy.

Come to think of it. If a bunch of Hum Riders were manufactured and put on sale, a lot of people would probably invest in that type of car just to escape heavy traffic!

So… how did this fun idea come to life?

Verizon enlisted the services of Thinkmodo, a viral marketing agency, to create a Facebook and YouTube video that demonstrated how the Hum device could upgrade one’s car.

While elevating and widening vehicles were not part of the Hum device’s service offers, the promotional vehicle served as a metaphor to how Verizon’s device could enhance a car’s performance and a driver’s on-the-road experience.

Verizon also partnered with A2Zfx, a California-based fabrication company, to transform a Jeep Grand Cherokee into a Hum Rider by delivering a sufficient amount of electricity to the hydraulic pumps to power the steering, braking, driving, and elevating processes.

Now, for the big reveal…

When the Hum Rider was launched in public, it was driven by a Verizon staff to heavy-traffic areas across California.

Every time the vehicle got stuck in a traffic jam, the driver would push the Hum Rider button and voilà!

The car would elevate and expand so it could drive over other vehicles and escape the time-consuming traffic.

Thinkmodo’s campaign video showed the Hum Rider passing through a Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio sedan, and Mazda 3 sedan.

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The reaction of everyone who saw the car transform?

A combination of surprise, amazement, and longing to also have their own Hum Rider!

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The video ended with a series of statements that said:

“Can your car do this?

Of course, your car can’t do that.

But Hum can upgrade your ride with other new tricks.”

That drove home the message that Verizon was trying to convey in its Guerrilla Marketing campaign—get a Hum device to make your car “smarter” and help you with your vehicle and anti-traffic needs.

Was Verizon’s “The Hum Rider” Campaign Effective?

In just 2 days after the campaign video was uploaded on Facebook and YouTube, the Hum Rider immediately gained a total of 320 million online views combined and over a million social media shares.

That’s a large number in such a short period of time!

Aside from that, the campaign was also featured on different websites such as:

  • Forbes
  • AdWeek
  • Mashable
  • MSN
  • The Drive
  • The Verge

… and more.

Additionally, Verizon’s Hum Rider was broadcasted by different media companies in different parts of the world, which means the campaign did not only create a huge marketing wave in the US, but also in Japan, Korea, Spain, Russia, Australia, etc.!

What was the contribution of the fun brand activation to Verizon’s sales?

By the end of the company’s fiscal year 2017, Verizon reported a total of USD 87.5 billion in revenue, 2.1% of which is from the sales of the Hum device.

Verizon, Thinkmodo, and A2Zfx all deserve an applause for a creative and innovative campaign!

While the brand activation didn’t advertise the Hum Rider as a new car model, it tweaked consumer’s imaginations and hinted at the potential of technology to overcome “urban vices” such as traffic jams.

If you’re a driver who’s stuck on the road and you suddenly see a “tall” car drive over you, wouldn’t your eyes open wide and your jaw drop because of the surprise and astonishment?

You’d also probably want to own that type of vehicle to help you deal with your traffic woes.

Use Verizon’s Guerrilla Marketing campaign as inspiration to conceptualize a similarly innovative campaign for your brand!

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Fridays: 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 Friday, 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 Friday’s Gorillas of Guerrilla!

Cheers,

Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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