Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Can the future breathe again? Here’s how this firm’s campaign brought attention to air pollution in 2015! [Thursday: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

December 14, 2023

Miles Everson’s The 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:

With more than 3 decades of industry experience, I’ve seen how marketing greatly affects a brand’s success.

One strategy that stands out the most to me is guerrilla marketing. According to Jay Conrad Levinson, this type of campaign is simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.

Today, allow us to share with you a brilliant example of a guerrilla marketing campaign.

Keep reading to discover how this company raised awareness about a critical environmental issue.

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

Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing 

Industrialization led to significant technological advancements and economic growth. Unfortunately, the developments brought on by this process also introduced an environmental change that negatively impacts human health—air pollution.

With this in mind, how can large groups of people or organizations be inspired to take actions that would mitigate air pollution?

In 2015, Xiao Zhu, a Chinese air purifier company, wanted to highlight air pollution as a pressing environmental concern.

To do this, the firm came up with a unique way to address the problem.

Xiao Zhu’s answer?

An advertisement video featuring smoke art! 

China is known for its bustling industrial sector, characterized by the nation’s numerous power plants, cutting-edge factories, and extensive transportation systems.

While these power plants, factories, and transportation networks bring numerous advantages, they’re also responsible for worsening air pollution in many parts of the country.

In light of this alarming situation, Xiao Zhu took a step forward to tackle the environmental problem by releasing a video titled “Breathe Again.

Photo from Art-Sheep

The video kicked off by flashing the estimated count of people who lost their lives due to illnesses caused by air pollution. What stood out was that a significant portion of these casualties were CHILDREN! 

Acknowledging this fact, Xiao Zhu’s video featured faces of Chinese children expressing negative emotions like distress, suffering, and suffocation against the backdrop of billowing factory smoke.

Aside from evoking strong emotions and grabbing attention, the video told a powerful story that shed light on the environmental and humanitarian damage caused by air pollution.

Photo from Designboom

If you look closely, you’ll notice that Xiao Zhu’s guerrilla marketing campaign focused on factories. This implied that power plants were the primary culprits behind the air pollution in China.

Lastly, the video ended with this striking catchphrase: “Clean the air. Let the future breathe again.

This statement urged both viewers and concerned authorities to undertake initiatives to combat the negative effects of air pollution, ensuring a healthy environment for future generations. 

Was Xiao Zhu’s “Breathe Again” Campaign Successful?


Following the launch of the guerrilla marketing campaign, Xiao Zhu faced criticisms from factory owners for speaking up about air pollution. Nevertheless, this reaction didn’t stop the public from gaining awareness, as the initiative amassed over 17 million social media impressions.

What else?

The guerrilla marketing initiative generated USD 3.15 million worth of media coverage, and the company’s website reached 4.8 million at the height of the “Breathe Again” campaign.

Moreover, a week after the campaign’s release, Xiao Zhu obtained a 38% increase in its brand awareness.

In addition to these results, Xiao Zhu’s “Breathe Again” campaign received the following accolades:

  • Clio Awards 2015:
    • Bronze Winner for Public Relations – Product/Service: Environmental Category

  • Cannes Lions 2015:
    • Outdoor Gold – Ambient: Non-formatted Digital Outdoor
    • Media Bronze – Product & Service: Corporate Image & Communication
    • PR Bronze – Sectors: Other Consumer Products

  • Red Apple International Advertising Festival 2015:
    • Silver – Outdoor Advertising: Durable Goods

A round of applause to the company and the people behind the “Breathe Again” guerrilla marketing campaign!

What is the lesson that can be gained from Xiao Zhu’s guerrilla marketing campaign?

Xiao Zhu generated buzz for its brand by raising public awareness and inspiring action about an important environmental concern through a guerrilla marketing campaign. By doing this, the firm showed that it wasn’t just after profits, it was also committed to a better future.

The “Breathe Again” campaign served as a rallying cry to protect human health, preserve the environment, and actively contribute to a sustainable future. 

We hope today’s feature left you with valuable takeaways about the flexibility and effectiveness of guerrilla marketing initiatives!

(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 
Powered by Valens Research

View All

You don’t have access to the Valens Research Premium Application.

To get access to our best content including the highly regarded Conviction Long List and Market Phase Cycle macro newsletter, please contact our Client Relations Team at 630-841-0683 or email client.relations@valens-research.com.

Please fill out the fields below so that our client relations team can contact you

Or contact our Client Relationship Team at 630-841-0683