Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Until death do us part? Check out this wedding dress women would never ever wish to wear! [Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

September 29, 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:

Hello, everyone!

We’re excited to share with you another brilliant guerrilla marketing campaign.

According to “Father of Guerrilla Marketing” Jay Conrad Levinson, this marketing strategy is unconventional, engaging, impactful, and easy to execute. Every Thursday, we write about these campaigns and show how effective they are in sticking to consumers’ minds.

Excited to know what today’s article is about?

Read on and find out how this lager beer brand hit two birds with one stone through its captivating and eye-opening guerrilla marketing strategy in 2021.

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

Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).

—a type of domestic violence by a spouse against his or her partner. This includes physical, verbal, emotional, economic, and sexual abuse.

According to UN Women’s South Africa Demographic and Health Survey in 2016, around 87% of South African women experience physical and/or sexual IPV. This is one of the major reasons why the country has a high femicide (female homicide) rate.

Using this data, one lager beer brand launched the #NOEXCUSE campaign in 2017. The movement highlighted true “Champion Men’s” virtues, which included loving, protecting, AND never abusing their partners.

The name of this brand?

Carling Black Label!

Photo from 702

Carling Black Label, also known as “Carling” or “Black Label,” is a brand manufactured by the Carling Brewing Company.

As the company’s flagship brand, Carling Black Label has been in existence since the 1870s and is the world’s first beer to be brewed on a mass international scale.

IPV and Carling’s #NOEXCUSE Movement

As one of the most famous beer brands in South Africa, Carling is known for its “Champion Men” advertising that plays on the theme of masculinity.

Men are expected to be tough, competitive, and in charge of their own lives, thus the advertisement that only the most exceptional men—the “Champions”—drink Carling Black Label.

However, with the alarming statistics about IPV in South Africa, the beer brand decided to redefine its “Champion Men” ad…

*Enter the extraordinary BRIDE*

Following the #NOEXCUSE movement in 2017, Carling Black Label launched another eye-opening campaign in 2021 and called it…

The “Bride Armour” campaign.

Created in partnership with marketing agency Ogilvy South Africa and gender-based violence (GBV) counseling center LifeLine, the campaign aimed to raise awareness about IPV and make the vow against violence a reality for couples.

Here’s the context for the “Bride Armour”:

In South Africa, IPV is the most prevalent cause of woman abuse. Women are raped, beaten, tortured, burned, or even killed by men who had vowed to protect them. This gives a sinister meaning to current wedding vows that end with,

“Until death do us part.”

Carling Black Label stands firm that getting drunk is not an excuse for physical and sexual abuse. In fact, there should NEVER be an excuse for such violence at all!

So, with the help of award-winning fashion designer and sculptor Suzaan Heyns, Carling, LifeLine, and Ogilvy South Africa created the “Bride Armour”—a wedding gown that spoke of every painful IPV tale in every stitch.

The gown was made of materials such as Kevlar and fireproof elements because the testimonies of IPV survivors involved shootings, stabbings, and being set on fire.

Additionally, all their stories were hand-woven into the gown’s 50-meter train to symbolize that while life goes on, the scars will follow these women for life.

It was such an exquisite, captivating, yet horrifying gown!

The “Bride Armour” toured South Africa and was showcased at various fashion events, bridal expos, and taverns in prominent GBV hotspots in the country.

Carling Black Label’s packaging was also redesigned, with a huge #NOEXCUSE printed on it to serve as a reminder to millions of male customers to stand against abuse.

Photo from WPP

Lastly, LifeLine asked South Africans to sign an online petition calling for a new marriage vow in the country. Instead of, “Until death do us part,” the new vow would end with,

“I vow to love, protect, and NEVER ABUSE you.”

The “Bride Armour” campaign lasted for 16 days (in line with the 16 Days of Activism event in South Africa), and Carling beer bottles with the #NOEXCUSE packaging went on until supplies last.

Was Carling Black Label’s “Bride Armour” campaign effective?

The guerrilla marketing campaign became a topic of discussion across online and offline platforms in South Africa. It also shed light on the prevalence of IPV and opened the public’s minds on how they could help stop this type of abuse.

These were the results of the campaign:

  • The “Bride Armour” reached a total of 38 million people during its 16-day campaign.
  • The campaign garnered over 30 million social media impressions and more than 36 million earned media throughout its duration.
  • According to the Kantar MDS Score, Carling Black label got its highest brand power score in history through the “Bride Armour” campaign.
  • After the campaign, Carling Black Label’s brand equity increased by 59%.
  • The “Bride Armour” won a Gold Lion at the Cannes Lions 2022 under the Engagement category.

These results show the guerrilla marketing strategy didn’t only prove profitable for Carling but also helped raise people’s social awareness about IPV and how to stop it.

Kudos, Carling, LifeLine, and Ogilvy South Africa!


Through the “Bride Armour,” Carling showed that although its products are one of the possible causes of IPV—drinking too much beer causes drunkenness, and drunkenness can lead to abuse—it’s not an excuse to do horrible things towards one’s partner.

As Arné Rust, Carling Black Label’s Brand Director, said:

“Our ultimate goal for this campaign is to rewrite wedding vows to acknowledge the promise to never harm your partner—a commitment all South Africans can make to oppose domestic violence. We are working with the Department of Home Affairs to see how they can get the vow changed to include this commitment that all South Africans can make when they get married to oppose gender-based violence.”

What else?

While Carling’s brand essence has always been about “Champion Men” getting more refreshment, talking about “Champion Men” in the face of IPV statistics in South Africa was a breath of fresh air.

This shows the brand is not just making men feel more masculine by drinking its beer, but also reminding them that true masculinity is not seen through power and aggressiveness but through caring for others—especially women.

…that’s what real “Champion Men” is all about.

Get inspired with this guerrilla marketing campaign!

By giving your target market a good reason and purpose for choosing your brand, you will not only achieve your objectives but also experience a ripple of positive results in overall reach, engagement rates, sales, and more.

Start championing your brand’s marketing strategies!

(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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