Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

“Hey, WAKE UP!” – One phone call was all it took to boost this sport’s viewership rates in 2021… [Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

April 12, 2023

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:

Hello and welcome to “Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing!”

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it yet, guerrilla marketing is an unconventional, engaging, and impactful marketing strategy. Campaigns of this type spark an emotional reaction that leads to lasting brand recall and sometimes, awareness about a social issue.

I personally like reading these kinds of topics online. They remind me that promoting or advertising a brand doesn’t always have to be too formal or traditional.

Today, let’s talk about a fun guerrilla marketing stunt in the world of sports.

Keep reading to know how Formula 1 (F1) fans got the chance to communicate with their favorite racers over the phone in 2021.

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

Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing

Calling all Formula 1 (F1) fans!

Who’s your favorite F1 racer?

Max Verstappen?

Lewis Hamilton?

Daniel Ricciardo?

The F1 is the highest class of international racing for open-wheel, single-seater racing cars sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) since 1950. One season consists of a series of races, known as Grands Prix. These take place in multiple countries and continents on either purpose-built circuits or closed public roads.

A Literal “Wake-up Call”

Photo from F1

Throughout the years, F1 has garnered millions of fans from different parts of the world. These people would ensure to count the days until they see their favorite racers on their TV screens no matter what time of day.

… but there’s a catch.

Depending on where the Grand Prix is taking place AND where a fan lives, the beginning of a race might be at an inopportune time, like extremely early in the morning or at midnight.

The majority of fans who experience this dilemma?

Those in the U.S.!

Since many Grands Prix are taking place in Europe or Asia, American fans usually miss tuning in to lots of on-track action because they’re asleep during those times.

In fact, many of them had to choose between watching the race live or getting enough sleep!

F1 knows how challenging this decision-making is. So, for fans who don’t want to miss the beginning of a Grand Prix while also not compromising their sleep, F1 and advertising agency Ogilvy U.K. created this guerrilla marketing stunt in 2021:

The “Wake-up Call” campaign!

Photo from Alex & Eva

At the start of the F1 season in 2021, Ogilvy U.K. created a “Wake-up Call” landing page where F1 fans could register their contact details and book their favorite racers.

The idea was to help fans wake up just in time for the start of a Grand Prix. By booking their favorite racers, they received an actual phone call from these F1 figures, urging them to get out of bed or else they’d miss the race.

Photo from Ogilvy U.K.

Photo from Ogilvy U.K.

Photo from Ogilvy U.K.

Imagine getting a phone call from Verstappen, Hamilton, Vettel, Leclerc, or other F1 racers first thing in the morning or in the wee hours of night. Who wouldn’t literally jump out of bed because of that?

We bet you would!

Was F1’s “Wake-up Call” campaign effective?

At the start of the F1 season in 2021, the race garnered attention not only because it always does but also because of the guerrilla marketing stunt. Lots of fans from all over the world tweeted about receiving calls from their favorite racers and even used the hashtag, #f1wakeup.

Here are the results of the campaign:

  • F1 recorded over 2.1 million tweets with the hashtag, #f1wakeup throughout its 2021 season.
  • Over 4 million fans received phone calls from their favorite F1 racers during the “Wake-up Call” campaign.
  • Since the “Wake-up Call” campaign literally woke people up from their sleep, 33% more fans were able to tune in to the 2021 F1 World Championship compared to the previous year.
  • The campaign won a DMA Gold for Best Use of Voice or Audio at the DMA Awards 2021.

Way to go, F1 and Ogilvy U.K.! These results show the “Wake-up Call” campaign effectively hyped up fans and helped them watch the race despite differences or inconveniences in time zones.

Indeed, guerrilla marketing helps connect brands and businesses with their target audience on a deeper level!

In F1’s case, the “Wake-up Call” campaign was used to serve F1 fans’ needs, learn more about them, and nurture relationships with them.

Additionally, the strategy served as a way to communicate to fans that the sport appreciates the extra effort they make—waking up at an inopportune time—just to tune in to the race.

Get inspired by today’s guerrilla marketing feature!

Use this as your “wake-up call” to think outside the box and conduct fun marketing activities that will help boost your brand’s engagement rates and leave a lasting impression on your target market’s minds.

Tune in to next week’s “Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing!”

(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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