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PR Agencies

PR know-how: Successful guerrilla marketing PR primer

A guerrilla marketing PR campaign takes a focused plan of attack. This case study from a veteran PR company shows how its PR blitzkrieg at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games generated one company's highest online sales ever.

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When 180s, a manufacturer of wintersport performance accessories including gloves and ear warmers, reported the highest volume of online sales in its history during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, it was no accident. The sales boost could be directly linked to a three-day guerrilla marketing initiative that had everything to do with highly coordinated PR efforts and blanket saturation through product seeding.

The onsite marketing program was developed to support 180s’ sponsorship of Olympic hopeful Patrick Deneen, who, although he did not medal, played a key role in raising product awareness for the year leading up to the Olympic Games through social media and traditional media relations. Over 1,000 fans and followers regularly received updates.

SNEWS® spoke with the agency behind the PR blitzkrieg, CGPR, and asked company president Chris Goddard to share her thoughts on what makes a guerrilla PR campaign successful.

Step 1 – Client commitment: First and foremost for any PR campaign like this, you must have a client who is committed to the project, both with regard to financial resources and providing necessary product for distribution. It is all about going big or going home…seriously. This only worked for us and 180s because the company was completely committed to the concept and carefully considered our recommendations, and then fully embraced the project from the very top of management. Having a strong partnership is critical to the success of this kind event.

Step 2 – Do your homework: It is all about doing in-depth homework and conducting investigative research to find out what the opportunities are for a guerrilla PR initiative. In this case, it was the Olympics. As a result, we had to be very buttoned up with the details for security, access, distribution restrictions, venue limitations, the best sources of possible media exposure and more.

Step 3 – Measurement goals: Establish very clear goals that you will measure all of your actions and planning against. For us, after distilling our research, we felt generating additional onsite visibility on the “Today Show” by putting product in the hands of its staff, camera crew and technicians was key. We also planned on seeding over 500 ear warmers in high-traffic areas where TV cameras and news coverage would film people wearing our client’s products. Where possible, we planned to distribute ear warmers to people of note so that we could leverage that exposure later.

Step 4 – Leveraging success: Have a plan to leverage the success of what you do at an event back to retailers and your client’s sales force. It was part of our plan to take all the photos and video we shot, as well as media exposure we received, and package it in a way that would reinforce 180s’ leadership in the category and could be used as a sales tool.

Step 5 – Branding: Prior to this event, we approached Eastern Mountain Sports management, who provided our team with jackets to wear at the Olympics. We had 180s embroidered in large, 12-inch letters on the back of the jacket and the logo on the front, so it was clearly visible whenever we appeared on TV or had a photo taken.

Step 6 – Organize:

Step 7 – Execute: Upon arrival in Vancouver, we warmed up before our three-day blitzkrieg by distributing ear warmers on the train heading downtown to Robson Square and distributed more ear warmers to the crowd gathered to watch the opening ceremonies on the big screens. The key was to capture as many people wearing the ear warmers as we could with photos, which we did. We watched the opening ceremonies in the Fairmont Hotel and gave more ear warmers to people at the bar and to the bartender who put them on.

–Michael Hodgson