Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Rerouting you to the nearest fast food store: See how this brand used a navigation app to promote itself! [Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

May 18, 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:

Welcome to “Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing!” 

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

For today’s issue, we’re thrilled to talk about a brilliant guerrilla marketing campaign by a fast food giant.

Continue reading to know more about this campaign.

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

Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing 

In 2018, McDonald’s announced the return of its limited edition menu item called the McRib, a barbecue-flavored pork sandwich known for its rich and savory taste.

In case you don’t know yet, the food item has been taken on and off the fast food chain’s menu since its debut in 1981. While this may seem an odd way of offering a product, McDonald’s has reaped tons of sales from this strategy.

Going back to the topic, McDonald’s needed a new way to promote the McRib in time for its return in 2018.

The fast food chain’s solution?

Billboards and a navigation app!

Photo from Movia

McDonald’s partnered with navigation app Waze to come up with a strategy to promote the McRib. 

As part of the collaboration, Waze mapped and integrated around 300 McDonald’s billboards in Southern California to its database. 

Once this was done, the developers of Waze programmed the app to point its users to the nearest branch of the fast food chain whenever they traveled along a route where a McDonald’s billboard was near.

Photo from OAAA

Waze users who were driving saw the notification only when their cars were stopped. The ad included a photo of the McRib and offered drivers the option to reroute to a nearby McDonald’s.

Did the digital guerilla marketing campaign work?


More than 8,000 re-routes occurred, which meant drivers went to the nearest McDonald’s branches throughout the 8-week run of the campaign. Additionally, the marketing strategy reached over a million consumers and generated over 6 million mobile impressions. 

The results were quite astonishing and effective. What Waze did for McDonald’s was actually a test for the navigation app’s new advertising capabilities.

What made the campaign work?

The answer is simple: It caught everyone by surprise!

While applications back then were used for advertising, navigation apps were rarely considered for promoting products. Because of the surprise factor, those who noticed the McRib ad on the Waze app were intrigued and took a drive to the nearest McDonald’s branch.

We hope you enjoyed reading today’s feature!

Remember: When a guerrilla marketing campaign utilizes available technologies, it can effectively capture the attention of audiences in a way that’s never been done before.

(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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