STOP or BUMP: Find out how this campaign surprised drivers with an important road safety lesson! [Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]
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, everyone! We’re excited to share with you today’s article on “Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing!”
Guerrilla marketing campaigns are attention-grabbing and fun. Many marketers use this strategy to spice things up and make an impact on their target market’s lives.
Did you know that campaigns of this type can also be serious and thought-provoking? They not only help expand your brand’s reach but also raise awareness and educate an audience.
Allow us to share with you an example of guerilla marketing used as a hard-hitting awareness campaign.
Read on to know how one automobile corporation helped save people’s lives in Québec, Canada by educating them about road safety rules and regulations.
Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing
The Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) or the Québec Automobile Insurance Corporation is a crown corporation responsible for licensing drivers and vehicles in Québec, Canada.
One of its missions is to protect individuals against the inherent risks while traveling and increase road safety awareness to improve Québec’s pedestrian-friendliness record.
As a famous corporation in the Canadian city, SAAQ has gained a reputation for creating impressive road safety awareness strategies for the past 10 years. The brand is also known to frequently work with Canadian marketing agency lg2 to produce intense campaigns.
One of their cutting-edge, creative awareness tactics?
The Crossing Fence!
Photo from Applied Arts
In 2017, SAAQ received a report that over 5,000 injuries and deaths in Québec were due to road accidents. There were also concerns about drivers not safely giving way to pedestrians in the city.
These were serious statistics. The corporation knew they needed to do something to reduce these numbers and remind drivers, commuters, and pedestrians that road safety is of utmost priority.
So, what did SAAQ do?
In March 2019, it once again partnered with lg2 to create a stunt that literally forced drivers to stop for pedestrians—hence, the crossing fence.
The campaign team installed the crosswalk on the corner of Saint-Hubert and Gilford streets in Québec. According to reports, this was the place where most of the accidents happened.
The crosswalk had sensors so that every time a pedestrian arrived at the street corner and a car got closer, the yellow lines popped up and transformed into fences. In that case, there was actually no way cars could pass through.
Photo from Applied Arts
The drivers’ reactions upon seeing the pop-up fences?
Surprised and confused! They didn’t expect that such a crosswalk in Québec existed.
Photo from SAAQ’s Facebook
Wait… aren’t guerilla marketing campaigns supposed to have a clear message and not leave people confused?
That is true!
… and so to satisfy drivers’ curiosity as to why the yellow lines on the crosswalk were suddenly popping up, SAAQ displayed a written message on the middle fence, saying:
“This crossing protects pedestrians. Thank you for stopping.”
Now that made sense. What a gentle yet compelling message!
Meanwhile, pedestrians who witnessed the clever stunt felt empowered and safe.
Take a look at the smirk this pedestrian had. You may also check out how others reacted by watching the campaign’s official Facebook video here.
Photo from SAAQ’s Facebook
Amazing, wasn’t it?
SAAQ’s guerrilla marketing stunt lasted until the first week of April 2019.
Was “The Crossing Fence” campaign effective?
Many people in Québec found the campaign unique, creative, and surprising. The Crossing Fence not only left a lasting brand recall on the pedestrians’ and drivers’ minds but also captured the attention of those who watched the video on Facebook.
Here are the results of the month-long campaign:
- The Crossing Fence video reached a total of 10 million people around the world, thanks to thousands of likes, shares, and comments on Facebook.
- Until today, the Crossing Fence video is used as an instructional tool for new drivers in Québec, reminding them to always give the right of way to pedestrians.
- SAAQ and lg2 received bronze CLIO statuettes in 2019. Meanwhile, The Crossing Fence campaign bagged 3 CLIO awards under the “Spatial Design,” “Guerilla Marketing,” and “Ambient Marketing” categories.
- The campaign won awards at the Worldwide Partners Impact Awards in May 2020 under the “Social Good” and “Best in Show” categories.
- The Crossing Fence won a Gold Award under the “Ambient Category – Large Scale” at the 100th Marketing Awards in February 2022.
- After the campaign, there was a 35% decrease in the number of road accidents on Québec roads.
It’s clear as day…
These results show that SAAQ didn’t just effectively get its message across to a small group of people in Québec, but also expanded its reach to millions across the globe!
Truly, SAAQ deserves a big round of applause for this impressive guerrilla marketing stunt!
Sometimes, telling people to do something requires actually making them do it.
Take The Crossing Fence campaign as an example…
Through the yellow pop-up fences, SAAQ compelled drivers to literally stop for pedestrians and wait for them to cross the road before passing through.
As a result, the company didn’t just achieve the goal it originally intended for the campaign but also helped spread awareness on road safety rules and regulations to millions of people around the world.
We hope you find this guerrilla marketing tactic compelling!
Keep in mind that while digital marketing such as promotions on social media or traditional advertising like TV commercials, posters, etc. are great marketing strategies, those alone won’t always influence the actions and decisions of consumers.
Sometimes, and when it’s appropriate for your brand’s image, you need to execute an unconventional marketing tactic to get your message across and leave a strong and lasting impression on your target market’s minds.
Have fun planning your own captivating marketing campaigns!
(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!
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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