Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

“Who you gonna call?” – Check out this campaign’s ghost-busting strategy in 2016! [Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

June 2, 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:

As someone who’s been in the industry for over 3 decades now, I’ve seen how marketing plays a significant role in the achievement of a brand’s goals. One of the marketing strategies that I always find exciting?

Guerrilla Marketing!

According to Jay Conrad Levinson, the Father of Guerrilla Marketing, this technique looks beyond the traditional ways of advertising a product or service. Campaigns of this type are engaging, easy to execute, and sometimes, inexpensive.

Allow us to share with you an awesomely clever and fun example of this marketing strategy.

Read on to learn how a guerrilla marketing stunt for a fantasy-comedy film reboot captured the attention of thousands of commuters in London in 2016.

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

Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing

Imagine this: What if one day, you wake up and find that the once peaceful city you’re living in gets disturbed by various kinds of scary creatures?

Mood slimes…

A giant, angry marshmallow man…


All the mythical characters you read in books and watch in fantasy movies suddenly keep appearing in town!

Oh no. This seems like an invasion. You need help from someone or a team who knows how to drive these spirits away.



Photo from WIRED

Ghostbusters is a 1984 supernatural comedy film starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, and Rick Moranis. It revolves around the story of 3 parapsychologists who set up their unique ghost removal service in New York City to help frightened yet skeptical customers.

The success of the Ghostbusters film launched a multi-billion US dollar franchise. It had a second movie—Ghostbusters II—released in 1989, and various merchandise such as video games, board games, comic books, clothing, music, and haunted attractions.

In 2016, a movie reboot that starred female counterparts of the original cast was created. In 2021, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, a sequel to the first 2 Ghostbuster films in the 1980s, was also released.

Let’s focus on the 2016 movie of the franchise…

Paranormal researcher Abby Yates (played by Melissa McCarthy) and physicist Erin Gilbert (played by Kristen Wiig) are trying to prove that ghosts exist. When strange apparitions appear in Manhattan, they turn to engineer Jillian Holtzmann (played by Kate McKinnon) for help.

Joining their trio is lifelong New Yorker Patty Tolan (played by Leslie Jones), who knows the city inside out. Using plenty of proton packs and attitude, the 4 protagonists battle it out to defeat over 1,000 mischievous ghosts that descend on Times Square.

Photo from Den of Geek

With an all-new female cast, the movie’s production team were extra challenged to promote the Ghostbusters reboot. Even before the release date of the film, some movie enthusiasts were doubting whether or not it’s as entertaining as the first two installations in the franchise.

So… what did the movie’s marketing team do to encourage consumers to watch the reboot?

Guerrilla Marketing!

Partnering with out-of-home marketing agency JCDecaux during the second week of July 2016, Ghostbusters’ campaign team invaded London’s Waterloo Train Station—London’s busiest train station—and informed commuters that the movie reboot was already showing in cinemas.

Here’s what they did:

Once the train station closed down at the end of the day, the campaign team transformed the place into “a world of ghosts.”

They installed a 9-foot tall Stay Puft Marshmallow Man bursting from the ground…

… green slimes surrounding the train station’s security cameras and slime markings on the ground…

… and a pop-up store selling Ghostbusters movie tickets and merchandise.

What’s more?

The train station’s commuter tunnel was covered with Ghostbusters vinyl wraps. The atmospheric audio also included eerie snatches of sound from the movie reboot itself. Lastly, the train station’s TV screens showed the 2016 film’s trailer.

Campaign team members also distributed Ghostbusters calling cards to commuters. The cards encouraged people to call the movie characters’ headquarters and hear a message from the cast.

The Ghostbusters invasion at London’s Waterloo Train Station lasted for two weeks. The campaign team created a 2-minute video from the campaign footage and uploaded it on YouTube on July 26, 2016.

Was the “ghost invasion” at London’s busiest train station effective?

Thousands of commuters enjoyed the guerrilla marketing stunt. Many of them took photos of and with the ghost installations at the train station and bought movie tickets and merchandise at the pop-up shop.

Below are the results of the campaign:

  • The campaign video on YouTube got a total of 70,000+ views and 13,000+ shares.
  • From July 11-21, 2016, the Ghostbusters invasion at Waterloo Train Station generated a total of 53 million social media impressions.
  • The number of calls the Ghostbusters hotline written in the business cards received was over 360,000.
  • A total of 20,000+ commuters bought movie tickets and merchandise from the Ghostbusters pop-up shop.
  • The campaign was featured in articles from various media companies worldwide such as The MetroThe Evening StandardTimeOut9News AustraliaABC News, and Jakarta Glove Indonesia.

It’s evident…

Based on these numbers, the guerrilla marketing campaign became a hit and helped Ghostbusters’ production and marketing team promote the movie reboot.

Great job, Ghostbusters campaign team and JCDecaux!

Guerrilla marketing takes many forms—flash mobs, ambient marketing, grassroots marketing, projection advertising, out-of-home (OOH) marketing, and more. The Ghostbusters invasion at London’s Waterloo Train Station was a form of OOH marketing.

From the name itself, OOH is a form of advertising done outside the home. Traditionally, this includes billboards, bus shelters, benches, and everything in between.

However, with the growth of digital advertising, a brand’s message can sometimes go unheard or unnoticed. That’s why nowadays, OOH is combined with technological and digital advancements to make it a more powerful tool for marketers.

Take for example the guerrilla marketing stunt for the Ghostbusters reboot.

By using various installations, business cards, a pop-up shop, vinyl wraps, and more, the campaign team captured commuters’ attention at the Waterloo Train Station. Thanks as well to the marketing collaterals’ attention-grabbing sizes and contrasts to the real-world environment!

We hope you enjoyed reading today’s topic.

Remember: Now is an exciting time to be involved in the OOH advertising space. So, if you think these kinds of marketing strategies are appropriate for your brand, start planning your own guerrilla marketing tactics!

With a combination of some technological advancements and traditional benefits of real-world, tangible ads, you can also make your OOH advertising efforts irresistible for your target market.

Get ready to create mind-blowing, boredom-busting, and creative marketing ideas!

(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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