Friday, April 20, 2012

Another Great Example of (Non-Solar) Guerrilla Marketing

Friday, April 20, 2012

I love finding guerrilla marketing examples on YouTube. Unfortunately, I rarely find ones that are related to solar. Bummer. Nevertheless, it’s always great to get inspired, and below is a wonderful model that you might be able to adapt…if you’re willing to push that button.

Watch this video first, and then we’ll discuss why it has nearly 80,000 views on YouTube, as of this writing, and we'll also go into how this structure might be adapted for solar marketing purposes. 

So, why does this work? Let me count the ways:

1. It’s fun. There’s a smile on your face when you’re watching this. You’re saying, “Wow, this is so crazy, so cool, so amazing, so…” etc.

2. It’s mysterious. Big button, middle of the street, and a sign that says “Push this button for drama.” We’re naturally curious humans, and we also like to be challenged. Sure, there’s a little danger there, but that sign is so odd. Someone is going to have the courage to push that button.

3. It’s surprising. If people pushed that button, and someone just shook their hand, that wouldn’t go viral. What makes this work so well is that it exceeds our curious expectations. Not one, but many dramatic scenarios happen after pushing that button. The marketers here did not disappoint our expectations for  “drama.” Which brings me to...

4. It had a purpose.  This was a crazy kind of stunt, but by the end you see that there was actually a method to this madness. The stunt of perpetual "drama" was related to TNT, an international cable channel that offers dramatic films and television. Therefore, these stunts were designed to mimic the dramatic scenarios that you might see every night on TNT. It wasn’t push the button and see 20 clowns coming out of a Mini Cooper. That would be unrelated. Instead, you saw "drama" that hammered the point that TNT is the channel you want to be watching when you’re in the mood for... action and drama.

5. It was video taped. Guerrilla marketing isn’t going to be cost effective if only the attending audience views the stunt. This puppy was filmed so that others could enjoy it on websites, media, and social media, such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and of course, YouTube. So, whatever you come up with, film it to make it last.

How to apply this lesson for solar guerrilla marketing:

Essentially, this is “Pandora’s Box” guerrilla marketing. You need to make a sign that points to an object and dares the reader to do some action.

With that in mind, choose a public place. If it's too mysterious (like the TNT example above), alert the police or internal security guards and let them know what’s going to happen. A box, trunk, or button in the middle of the street or park plaza could be seen as a threat, so if anyone calls authorities, they’ll tell them what’s going on. Naturally, obey all local laws. If you need a permit to do street theater, get one.

it’s up to your company’s creative solar engineers to figure out the Rube Goldberg solar-related event that’s going to happen when you hit that button, or lift up that box, or uncover those panels. Could you demo a small solar tracking system? Perhaps an AC/micro-inverter solar panel?

Huzzah. Go for it. But be sure to structure a beginning, middle, and end to your plan. That is, once the panels point towards the sun or are uncovered, then what happens? What’s that solar panel juice going to turn on and energize? An over sized radio with a real rock band inside? An air conditioner? Huge fan on a hot summer day? A fridge with free, solar-cooled soda?

And what happens when the panels are covered abruptly or a cloud goes by? That is, what further unexpected thing will happen when the solar power disappears, either naturally, or by pushing another button?

Finally, what’s your ending? Like the banner that comes down at the end of the above video, build in a fun way to identify your brand—and your point.

Just another fun way…to UnThink Solar.

Tor Valenza a.k.a. “Solar Fred” advises solar companies on marketing, communications, and public relations. Contact him through UnThink Solar or follow him on Twitter @SolarFred.

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