Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Let’s get SHADY! Here’s how one campaign compelled the public to stop skin cancer one summer at a time! [Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

February 24, 2022

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:

Guerrilla marketing. 

―a cost-effective marketing strategy that uses unconventional and inventive tactics to get exposure for a product or brand. 

As someone who’s been in the business and consulting industry for 30+ years now, I believe this is one of the best ways to effectively generate buzz, raise awareness about your brand, and connect with your target audience. 

I’d like to share with you an example of a cleverly awesome guerrilla marketing campaign. 

Keep reading to know how an interactive bus stop in Sydney, Australia captured passersby’s attention and raised awareness about the prevalence of skin cancer in the country. 

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

Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing 

Pearly or waxy bumps. 

Scar-like lesions. 

Bleeding or scabbing sores. 

These are some of the symptoms of skin cancer―a type of cancer that often develops on skin exposed too much to the sun. 

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, skin cancer is a major cause of illness in Australia. In 2016, over 13,000 new cases were diagnosed and over 1,700 people died from the disease. 

So, in that same year, the Cancer Institute New South Wales (CINSW) launched a social awareness guerrilla marketing campaign. The organization called it… 

The Pretty Shady campaign! 

The campaign aimed to raise awareness about the dangers of getting too much exposure to sunlight. CINSW conducted this during the summer of 2016, a time of beach vacations, shorts, and sleeveless shirts due to the hot, humid weather. 

Here’s how the campaign played out: 

With the help of out-of-home advertising company JCDecaux, CINSW set up interactive bus stops across Sydney. 

By “interactive,” we mean people could just play an iconic arcade game while waiting for their ride. How? 

Through the “Pretty Shady” claw machine! 

The campaign team redesigned the bus stops using captivating black and yellow posters with the calls-to-action, 

“Protect Your Skin”

“Be part of the generation. Stop skin cancer one summer at a time.” 

As soon as people stopped or passed by, they were captivated by the vibrant bus stop shelters that offered an arcade game vibe. They flocked the area and cheered players on while waiting for their turn in the claw machine. 

Those who were good at this game clawed more than one sunscreen and “Pretty Shady” badge. Take note: These items were for FREE and didn’t require players to pay to use the machine. 

All they had to do was press the “Go” button and in 1-2-3… 

Ta-da! They experienced a fun waiting time at the bus stop. 

One of the interesting things about the campaign? 

Those who participated were quick to act on the guerrilla marketing stunt’s calls-to-action! After clawing the sunscreen, they immediately applied it on their bodies―ON. THE. SPOT. 

Through this, they became part of the “Pretty Shady” generation that protects their skin and helps stop skin cancer in Australia one summer at a time. 

Was CINSW’s “Pretty Shady” campaign effective? 

The interactive bus stops became a hit. Whether or not passersby were waiting for a bus or not, they were intrigued enough to stop and try their hand at the claw machine. 

These were the results of CINSW’s guerrilla marketing campaign: 

  • Over 300,000 Australians interacted with the bus stops’ claw machines during the duration of the campaign. 
  • JCDecaux reported that the campaign and the hashtag, #PrettyShaded, reached 34% of the Australian population―approximately 8 million people―through social media. 
  • The YouTube video of the campaign garnered 100,000+ views just a week after it was posted. 
  • A post-campaign survey showed that 47% of those who interacted with the guerrilla marketing tactic would increase their use of sunscreens and 80% of those who are tan-skinned would start using sunscreens. 
  • CINSW’s “Pretty Shaded” website recorded 463 clicks per day for 15 days. 
  • The “Pretty Shaded” campaign was featured in various media companies’ articles. These included TrendHunter.com, MarketingMag.com.au, AdWeek, Arizona Billboard Company, and AdForum

These results show that CINSW effectively got its message across and reminded people to protect their skin from the harmful rays of the sun. 

Congratulations, CINSW and JCDecaux! 


Executing the campaign at bus stops across Sydney is a clever idea because people don’t have much to do while waiting for the bus to arrive. It’s the perfect time to notice and interact with ads. 

What else? 

Aside from being a fun challenge during a period of waiting, the claw machines at the bus stops served as an easy way for people to grab sun protection on the go. Since summer time in Australia can reach higher than 30oC, many Australians appreciated the free sunscreens. 

Let’s not forget about the “Pretty Shady” badges… 

According to Alan Klein, Head of Creative Solutions at JCDecaux, these small pins were also handy because someone wearing it could prompt someone else to check out the campaign and understand what “Pretty Shady” was all about. 

He said, 

“Out-of-home is now more than ever, an active medium that provides unique engagement opportunities that deliver real results. The ‘Pretty Shady’ activity is the perfect example of how out-of-home can deliver a real value exchange by providing tangible benefits to those who engage or come into contact with the campaign.” 

As a business owner or marketer, what can you learn from this guerrilla marketing tactic? 

First, make sure your call-to-actions are easily doable and naturally tie in with your marketing strategy. This will make it easier for your target market to interact with your campaign. 

Second, be clear and communicative in your marketing statements. A good guerrilla marketing tactic is one that is fun, compelling, and effective in delivering its message. 

Third, timing is important. You have to know the most appropriate time to conduct your campaign so that your customers and prospects will appreciate it and value its essence. 

We hope you find this guerrilla marketing example inspiring! 

With a unique, meaningful, and engaging strategy, you’ll also make your target market stop on their tracks and “claw” on your brand’s products or services.

(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 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 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