Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

How did this guerrilla marketing campaign save a NFL tradition in 2020? [Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

January 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:

Are you looking for ways to creatively promote your products or services?

If you are, then you should consider guerrilla marketing!

According to Jay Conrad Levinson, guerrilla marketing is unconventional, engaging, impactful, and often easy to execute. Campaigns of this type create a lasting impression that lets consumers actively interact with a brand. 

For today’s article, we’ll talk about a guerrilla marketing stunt that generated lots of attention for a laundry brand.

Continue reading to know how a sports tradition was used to promote a new product.

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

Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing 

In every sport, there are traditions and unwritten rules almost every player adheres to.


In professional golf, players do not walk across the opponent’s putting line (the area where the golf ball travels) as a sign of courtesy.

In the National Hockey League (NHL), the Stanley Cup is the only trophy that should be touched and lifted.

In Major League Baseball (MLB), when a team is winning, players aren’t supposed to steal a base from their opponents.

Meanwhile, there’s another popular tradition in a major sports league… 

In the National Football League (NFL), players swap their jerseys with each other as a sign of respect. 

NFL players are highly selective with whom they exchange uniforms. They only swap game-worn apparel with those they admire or consider a friend.

Unfortunately, jersey swapping was banned in July 2020 as part of the league’s health and safety protocols to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

While the ban disrupted this sports tradition, the prohibition provided an opportunity for a well-known laundry brand to promote a brand new product.

The name of this brand?


Photo courtesy of Tide

Tide is a laundry detergent brand sold and manufactured by Procter & Gamble. The brand has been around since 1946 and is being used in many households and professional cleaning services around the globe.

In 2020, Tide launched a new product called Hygienic Clean. The offering is positioned as the laundry brand’s deep-cleaning product and is advertised as being able to clean visible and invisible dirt. 

Hygienic Clean’s release was timely during the pandemic. At the peak of the health crisis, most, if not all, wanted to be sure their clothes were free from dirt, germs, or any other particles.

However, while Tide’s product could address hygienic needs, the brand needed a strategy to effectively market its new offering. 

With this challenge in mind, Tide partnered with advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi

Using a Laundry Detergent to solve the NFL’s Problem

Instead of promoting Hygienic Clean traditionally, Tide and Saatchi & Saatchi came up with a clever way to market the new product.

With the NFL’s consent, Tide created the Clean Jersey Swap program for the league’s athletes. Over the course of the 2020 NFL season, over 1,400 players joined the initiative.

How did the Clean Jersey Swap work out?

Equipment managers of each NFL team used Tide’s new product to clean the game-worn apparel of every participant. To remain consistent with the league’s health and safety protocols, the uniforms were mailed to their intended recipients.

Photo courtesy of The Clio Awards

Players who participated in the initiative posted photos and videos of themselves sending or receiving jerseys from their fellow athletes on social media. They also mentioned Tide in each of their posts, providing further exposure for the brand and its product.

Photo courtesy of Twitter

What were the results of Tide’s guerrilla marketing campaign?

Thanks to the Clean Jersey Swap program, Tide was able to increase its brand awareness by 61% and its sales went up by 22% by the end of 2020. Additionally, the laundry brand earned 800 million social media impressions at the end of the campaign.

What else? 

Tide and Saatchi & Saatchi won the following accolades:

  • 3 Graphite Pencils under the Use of Talent & Influencers, Reactive Response, and Product Launch categories at the D&AD’s 2021 awards.
  • 1 Bronze Pencil under the Personalized Digital Award category at the The One Show’s 2021 awards.
  • 1 Silver Award under the Other category and 5 Bronze Awards under the Partnerships/Co-Creation, Events, Integrated Campaign, Multi-Platform, Other, Creative Effectiveness, and Partnerships & Collaborations categories at the 2022 Clio Awards.

Now that’s what you call a creative and effective guerrilla marketing campaign! 

A Creative Way of Promoting a Laundry Product

Instead of relying on a traditional advertising campaign, Tide used the NFL’s jersey swap ban as an opportunity to promote its new offering.

Through the use of guerrilla marketing, Tide showed its target audience what its new product can do. Moreover, the brand’s use of social media enabled it to interact with millions of audiences not only across the U.S. but also around the globe.

We hope this guerrilla marketing campaign inspired you to come up with creative and memorable ways to generate interests for your brand and offerings too!

Remember: There’s no point in having a great product if no one is aware of its existence in the first place. Product and brand awareness go a long way in generating high sales.

Have an amazing Thursday, everyone!

(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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