Brewer Direct

Guerrilla Marketing Pays Rich Dividends

Taking fundraising to the streets
Guerrilla chalk painting

Guerrilla Marketing Pays Rich Dividends

Last year, as part of the integrated multi-media strategy for nonprofit client Wheeler Mission celebrating their 125th anniversary, Brewer Direct spearheaded a truly unique guerrilla marketing campaign on the streets of Indianapolis. 

This campaign, led by Brewer Direct’s Lolly Colombo (VP/Client Service) and Matt Sommer (VP/Creative Director), led to millions of impressions and lots of sharing on social media. Both shared their own thoughts on the power of guerrilla marketing, and why it’s such an effective tactic for nonprofits.

“Today’s consumer is inundated with advertising and promotions,” Matt says. “In the 1970s, it was estimated that consumers saw about 500 ads per day. Today, digital marketing experts say that figure has exploded to 4,000 to 10,000 impressions per day. The question is: How do you cut through all that clutter and make a meaningful, lasting, even ‘actionable’ impression? Guerrilla marketing helps with that.”

“Guerrilla Marketing is all about the element of surprise,” Lolly adds. “There is nothing like the power of the unexpected!”  

Here’s the power of this type of tactic: it breaks through on a whole different level. Matt notes that when consumers see something outside of the normal channels, it causes them to pause and take notice. For the Wheeler Mission anniversary – called Wheeler 125 – Brewer Direct took their guerrilla marketing to the sidewalks with a set of printable sidewalk-adhesive decals.

“We placed sidewalk clings throughout Indianapolis,” Matt says. “This placement perfectly suited the dire circumstances that homeless people find themselves in. They, of course, literally sleep on the streets. And the fact that Wheeler 125 was focused on women and children made it even more moving.”

With original photography of homeless women and children sleeping on the streets, and a variety of Call to Action (CTA) messaging, the sidewalk clings surprised people walking along their familiar city streets. “We hoped to stop people in their tracks, make an unforgettable impression,” Lolly says, “and get them thinking about something really important.”  
Lolly states that there were 4 main goals Brewer Direct hoped to accomplish with the Wheeler 125 sidewalk cling campaign:

  1. We set out to DISRUPT the morning walk to work, the afternoon errand run, the routine evening stroll and the event-goer on the way to the game.
  2. We hoped to leverage the invaluable POWER OF WORD-OF-MOUTH. We wanted to start a conversation. To create buzz across the dinner table, the local coffee shop, and traditional and social media.
  3. We wanted to FIRE UP our current constituents – ultimately increasing their levels of commitment, loyalty and generosity to Wheeler Mission.  
  4. And without a doubt, we set out to RAISE EYEBROWS. Our goal was to turn heads and engage new stakeholders.

Matt notes that not only did the guerrilla placements garner the interest of passers, but also the interest of local news outlets like the IndyStar News and even NPR. All this created an estimated 8 to 10 million impressions.

“You could say that guerrilla marketing makes the homeless situation ‘real,’” Matt says. “There’s an ‘AHA! I-get-it-and-my-heart-goes-out-to-them’ moment. It’s not just advertising – it’s an emotional impression, which makes it longer lasting.”

Both Matt and Lolly say that this is all part of Brewer Direct’s commitment to creating evocative communication that garners maximized response. This guerrilla marketing tactic had Indianapolis buzzing (online and IRL!) about this innovative street art. “And,” Lolly adds, “the most exciting thing is that the conversation hasn’t stopped!”



Want more? For this month’s “Need to Read” on Brewer Direct’s 3 questions that will make your organization better, click here.

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