Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

The World’s Cheapest Taxi: Here’s how commuters had the eco(nomically)-friendliest ride in 2012! [Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

March 17, 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:

I love Guerrilla Marketing! 

For me, this is one of the things that can help business owners and marketers effectively engage with their target market. 

If you think this cost-effective marketing tactic is suitable for your brand’s image, I suggest that you try conducting one in the future. Think of unconventional and inventive ideas to get exposure for your business and boost your engagement rates. 

Allow me to share with you an awesome guerrilla marketing strategy. 

Today’s article will show you how an automotive brand captured people’s attention in London and introduced a new environment-friendly type of car in 2012. 

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

Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing 

Too much consumption of gasoline contributes to air pollution. 

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), burning gasoline produces carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and unburned hydrocarbons that are harmful not only to the environment but also to humans. 

This is why a lot of organizations and businesses are thinking of ways to help reduce gasoline consumption in the world and transition to eco-friendly alternatives. 

In July 2012, one of these companies even used a guerrilla marketing strategy to tackle this issue and at the same time, introduce a new product. 

What’s the name of this company? 


Nissan is a multinational automobile manufacturer headquartered in Yokohama, Japan. The company sells its vehicles under the Nissan, Infiniti, and Datsun brand, with in-house performance tuning products labeled as Nismo

In 2010, the brand started creating electric vehicles (EVs) to help address the growing issue on gasoline consumption. However, it was only until 2012 when the company’s EVs gained traction. 

So… to further raise awareness about this new breed of cars, Nissan launched a guerrilla marketing campaign that drew people’s attention towards its new line of EVs―the Nissan LEAF

The title of the campaign? 

“The World’s Cheapest Taxi Rank!” 

[Taxi Rank: A place where taxis park while waiting for passengers.] 

The campaign aimed to educate the UK public about the negative impacts of too much fuel consumption on their health and on the environment. 

Aside from that, Nissan’s guerrilla marketing strategy addressed another concern about why drivers should transition to electric cars: 

The rising fuel prices

Here’s the premise of the campaign: 

“Fuel prices are getting ridiculous. But, what if you could fill up for under GBP 2? You can with 100% electric driving! It’s 6x cheaper than petrol.” 

To prove this claim, Nissan enlisted the services of London-based marketing agency Hotcow and set up a taxi rank in Truman Brewery in East London and Central Station in Amsterdam. 

Each taxi rank consisted of 10 Nissan LEAF taxis that had HUGE “The BIG Turn On” stickers on them. The vehicles provided commuters with a FREE ride to any destination in their respective cities. 

How did UK commuters take part in the campaign? 

Hotcow’s team set up giant “Tweet” boards for each taxi rank, asking people to tweet their destination using the hashtag, #6xCheaper

The large digital billboards displayed the tweets as they came in. Nissan’s social media team replied to each tweet by highlighting the comparative costs of electric cars versus petrol cars and awarding the participants their free ride. 

Additionally, Nissan’s campaign team walked around the vicinity of the taxi ranks and encouraged commuters to book a free ride using the Nissan LEAF taxis. A lot of people got excited and took the opportunity to experience riding electric vehicles. 

… and that’s not all! 

Some commuters who knew how to drive also got the chance to take hold of the steering wheel. All they had to do was provide their contact details and personal information so they could have a test drive. 

Way to go, Nissan and Hotcow! 

Was Nissan’s “The World’s Cheapest Taxi Rank” campaign effective? 

The experiential activity was integrated across digital channels, particularly on Twitter and YouTube. Various video content from Nissan and those who participated in the brand activation were posted on the social media platforms during the two-day campaign. 

Below are other results recorded after the duration of the guerrilla marketing tactic: 

  • Nissan’s official Twitter account experienced a 300 times increase in activity after interacting with a lot of online users through the campaign. 
  • The car company’s campaign video got 20,000+ views on YouTube two days after it was uploaded. 
  • Over 700 miles were covered by the Nissan LEAF taxis. 
  • More than 250 passengers in London and Amsterdam experienced riding the electric vehicle taxis for free. 
  • 80+ liters of fuel were saved during the campaign. 
  • Over 40 people signed up for the test drives using the Nissan LEAF. 
  • The campaign was featured in several articles from websites and media companies like Pinterest, The Drum, Ad Spot, Little Black Book, AdPitch Blog, etc. 
  • By the end of 2012, Nissan recorded over 9,000 purchases of the Nissan LEAF electric vehicles―25% of those orders were from the UK. 

Clearly, these numbers show that the automobile company effectively communicated its message about the advantages of electric driving and engaged with its target audience in the UK. 

Nissan’s “World’s Cheapest Taxi Rank” campaign earned positive reactions from people who interacted with it. According to Jim Wright, Nissan GB’s former Managing Director, 

“Every passenger got out of the Nissan LEAF taxi with a smile on their faces. They loved the near silence and general refinement of the car… and were blown away when they discovered how cheap it is to fuel. Using peak-off electricity―such as when recharging overnight―means it really costs just a few pence in fuel to go anywhere by Nissan LEAF.” 

Wright also said that the “World’s Cheapest Taxi Rank” campaign reflected Nissan’s position as leader of the EV market and showed how economic and eco-friendly the Nissan LEAF is. 

For him, the guerrilla marketing strategy would help kickstart the research for the “taxi of the future.” 

Great job, Nissan and Hotcow! 

Nissan’s campaign captured the attention of a lot of people because of two reasons: 

First, it offered free taxi rides to commuters in London and Amsterdam. Remember: “Free” is a powerful word in marketing. It eliminates risks in the minds of undecided consumers and rewards those seeking great deals and bargains. 

By not requiring any payment, Nissan enabled passengers to focus on the electric driving experience without thinking about the pressure of having to pay regardless of whether or not they liked the ride. 

Second, the campaign effectively communicated the environmental and economical benefits of electric cars. These answered the question many consumers ask every time they encounter a new product or service: 

“What’s in it for me?” 

By informing the UK public about the advantages of the new car model, Nissan appealed to its target market who then saw how beneficial this is for them and the environment. 

According to an article from the World Economic Forum, consumers prefer brands that are driven by purpose, principles, and values. That’s why it’s important for business owners and marketers to make sure their marketing campaigns align with and reflect their brands’ beliefs. 

Get motivated with Nissan’s guerrilla marketing campaign! 

With a purpose-driven strategy, your brand can also be a “BIG Turn On” for your target market, compelling them to engage with you and act on your call-to-action. 

(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 
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