A couple of days ago, I came across a lovely guerilla campaign by SpareRoom.co.uk right next to Wimbledon station. While walking down the street, I was surprised to see that all the bicycles chained on the sidewalk had ORANGE seats! At a closer glance, it turned out that all the bicycle seats were fitted with an orange cover with SpareRoom.co.uk's logo along with "wheely good flatmates".
I was truly amazed how this simple low cost campaign could be much more effective and touching than bombarding the web with ads about SpareRoom, and here is why:
1. Reaching the correct target audience
If you think about SpareRoom's audience, the first thing that comes to your mind is certainly not men with suits. You would think more of students on budget, single young professionals who are debuting their careers, and explorers who would like to roam the world. And certainly bikers fit these criteria.
2. Adding value beyond just marketing
Most marketing campaigns tend to be uni-directional. If you take a look around high streets in London for example, you would encounter Tesco persuading you with their ugly banners to join their Club Card programs to save money, British Airways telling about their new destinations and discounts, or banks competing to tell you about their offers and benefits of joining them, and so on. But they revolve around the same concept: businesses trying to send polished persuasive messages using the fanciest mediums to consumers. It is like going to market places where sellers are shouting with a range of styles from grunge voices "BUYYYYYY OWWEEONNNEE AND GEEETT ONEEE FREEEE" , to expressions on repeat modes "Biggest Discounts today! 50% off on everything! Biggest Discounts today, 50% off on everything!...", or to personalized ones "Hey Sunshine! You look sad today, come and try-on our products..." and so on. Going back to our SpareRoom Campaign, they succeeded not only in drawing your attention and delivering a message, but they also provided their audience with a memorable and valuable solution. In a country where it rains almost everyday, going back to your bike to find its seat fitted with a vibrant water-proof cover would certainly make your day and value to your life!
3. Playing on emotions
This guerilla campaign certainly managed to touch on the emotions of its target audience. The element of surprise was very strong for the bikers, coming back to see their bikes fitted with a free orange seat cover is surprising. Then, realizing that they got a free gift and that their seats got protected from getting wet would only make them happy and leave positive thoughts about SpareRoom in their minds. Unless they were bothered by the "violation" of their property or annoyed by taking a couple more seconds to figure out which one is their bike.
Other than the bikers, the people passing by - including myself - were also intrigued by the sight of stacked bicycles with orange covers. It drove many of them to get closer to understand what is happening, especially that these bike parking racks are situated in strategic locations: next to tube stations and bus stops. Encountering such an experience would trigger inspiration and respect towards the brand that took the initiative.
4. A well designed campaign
This guerilla campaign is simple yet effective. Other than reaching the correct target audience and adding value to their lives, SpareRoom addressed them with a pun (play on words): "Wheely good flatmates". Also, the vibrant Orange stood out really well in contrast with the urban surrounding with its earth-tone color palette.
I hope to see more of these creative campaigns in the future, especially that consumers have now more than ever very high expectations of their beloved brands, and mediocre campaigns would certainly not move their emotions.