WestJet’s Christmas Miracle Video hit 12 million viewers in YouTube in less than three days and is well on its way to becoming a YouTube sensation. In the process, it increased the positive perception of the brand. And of course, it has created 10 plus brand ambassadors through its passengers. Nothing short of miraculous right?
WestJet’s Christmas Miracle Video is a golden example of guerilla marketing. Guerilla marketing is an undercover stunt that surprises people and getting them to share their experience in social media networks.
The fact is traditional advertising isn’t just getting as much attention as it used to so brands are thinking of creative ways to get through to their audience. And in the advent of media and shareable content, guerilla marketing seems to be the key. But guerilla marketing can be tricky. It needs the element of surprise. It requires uniqueness. It demands timing. When done right, it can be a marketing success (like what happened to WestJet) or it can be an epic failure (have you heard of Snapple’s stunt in Times Square?).
So how do you make a successful guerilla marketing campaign?
1. Make it unusual and out of this world creative
Here’s the harsh truth in guerilla marketing: No one shares the common. If you want your content to be viewed and shared, you have to surprise, shock and bewilder. Take a look at WestJet’s Christmas Miracle. Not only is it totally unexpected, it is completely surreal – almost too good to be true. WestJet also did a good job of engaging the audience in social media because they showed a backstory. Part of the video showed WestJet employees scrambling store after store to find the gifts for the customers. The audience got to see just how crazy and hard this feat was. And it didn’t go unnoticed
2. Go big or go home
Can you imagine the reactions of people if they received Christmas cards or sugar canes? Do you think it would be the same as opening a giant box with a 3D TV inside? Part of the surprise is the “bigness” of the antics. There is a difference between, “wow, they did that?!” and “nice, that’s cute.” If the WestJet video is anything to go by, if you are to plan a guerilla campaign, go massive! Remember, you only get one chance at a guerilla campaign so you’ve got to give it all you’ve got.
3. Capture real emotions
Marketing is all about winning your target audience’s emotions. Tell us you didn’t feel a tug in your heart as you see passengers tear up when they opened their gifts. The key to an engaging guerilla marketing is to create emotions deep enough to affect those who watch it from miles away. Filming the act is only one part of it. Real reactions and emotions – that’s the other part.