Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

This guerrilla marketing stunt helped a brand save over USD 12 million in ad spending! [Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

May 4, 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 remember a brand.

For today’s issue, we’re thrilled to talk about a brilliant guerrilla marketing stunt from a bottled water brand.

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 2019, Fiji Water conducted a guerrilla marketing stunt that saw its brand garner widespread social media attention and press coverage.

The interesting thing about the stunt was it generated buzz for the bottled water brand through the sidelines of a high-profile event.

How did Fiji Water pull off this feat?

Fiji Water served as the Golden Globes Awards’ official water partner in 2019. This was in line with its previous efforts of maintaining a presence at high-profile events like award shows, international film festivals, and movie premieres.

As part of its partnership with the award show, Fiji Water had its brand ambassadors provide water to the guests. Additionally, the firm commissioned Getty Images to take photos of celebrities holding or sipping the company’s products.

While the brand’s brand promotion efforts at the 2019 Golden Globes Awards seemed like a typical advertising campaign, things took an interesting turn.

Photo from Express

This is due to the fact that Kelleth Cuthbert, a model and one of the brand ambassadors, was spotted as she posed behind celebrities who had their photos taken by the press.

Since the photobombing was hilarious, Cuthbert and Fiji Water effectively stole the show during the Golden Globes Awards and the stunt quickly went viral on social media.

Photo from CNN

In fact, the bottled water brand immediately took advantage of the situation by directly referencing Cuthbert through a Twitter post.

Photo from Twitter

When asked about whether the photobombing was deliberate or not, Cuthbert was coy, stating that what she did was “all strategic.”

How effective was the guerrilla marketing campaign?

Fiji Water and Cuthbert were the talk of the town on social media, with tweets about both reaching more than 50,000. Additionally, the stunt was featured on various YouTube videos whose total viewership numbered in millions.

Aside from being talked about online, the guerrilla marketing stunt was featured on notable publications such as TIMEBusiness InsiderCNNThe GuardianYahoo FinanceBBC, and more.

The marketing tactic also earned the brand over USD 12 million in ad impressions across television, radio, digital, and social media mentions.

What else?

By undertaking a guerilla marketing campaign to generate buzz for its brand, Fiji Water saved lots of money.

According to Eric Smallwood, president of consulting firm Apex Marketing Group, the bottled water brand would have had to spend more than USD 12 million on traditional advertising to generate the same amount of buzz that its guerrilla marketing stunt achieved.

These results show that all in all, Fiji Water’s guerrilla marketing stunt was a success.

So, what made the campaign work?

The answer is simple: It caught everyone by surprise!

While photobombing was common in 2019, no one had thought of doing it during a marquee event. Because of the surprise factor of such an act, those who noticed the stunt talked about it immediately and spread the word through social media and the Internet.

Cuthbert’s amusing expression also added to the appeal and hilariousness of the guerrilla marketing stunt, enabling audiences to actively remember the bottled water brand.

We hope you enjoyed reading today’s feature!

Remember: A business does not need to be the center of attention to garner media recognition and promote its brand. Sometimes, all it takes is a guerrilla marketing campaign that can capture the attention of audiences through unconventional means.

(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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