Opinion

How to make guerrilla marketing work for you

Sometimes your competition can do plenty of the hard lifting for you when it comes to making your brand shine, as Chapel Street Precinct Association marketing manager Chrissie Maus explains...

There was no doubt when I started at Chapel Street Precinct Association (CSPA) three months ago I had my work cut out for me; we had to put the street back on the map, and quickly!  chrissie-maus-chapel-street-precinct-association

National attention was the aspiration, but with a bare-bones budget, it had to be catchy, clever and just a little bit controversial.

The idea germinated after John Lotton (our CSPA President) and I had a night out in Kings Cross; this once colourful, vivacious, thriving epicentre of activity at any time of the day or night had become what I can only describe as a desolate location with tumble weeds!

It was in that moment of overwhelming disappointment the idea of our guerrilla campaign came to us.

Convincing the people of Sydney to fly to Melbourne because their city’s nightlife was suffering an agonising death at the hands of its own State Premier was going to be tough.

Guerrilla marketing is not safe marketing – there is no creativity in safe and certainly no change. While everyone is ‘grabbing the bull by the horns,’ we at Chapel St decided to ‘grab the bull by the balls’ and be unapologetically bold in our approach.

John Lotton and I put a body of ideas together that poked fun at Sydney’s ailing nightlife in a way that didn’t get Sydneysiders offside. One line stood out and we knew it was the launching point for all of the creative: ‘Play till it’s MY bedtime, not Mike Baird time!’ was born.

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

We contorted this creative message into a series of videos and imagery to seed out across our social channels working with Creative Writer Paul Menz and Videographer Darren McLeod – and, just as we had planned, with extremely fertile social channel soils, those seeds started to grow quickly, and before we knew it, there were over two thousand people changing their profile pictures to our campaign picture …. (And by the fact Mike Baird himself blocked me on Twitter.)chapel-street-precinct-association-mike-baird-poster-campaign

The combination of the social swell and a targeted above-the-line campaign featuring rock posters and Adshels, made the campaign a heated talking point across Sydney, and a thorn in the side of the Premier; that’s when PR practitioner and friend Drew Lambert of DL COMMS came knocking.

Seeing the campaign come to life on his social media, Drew suggested our marketing campaign could attract genuine interest from news media.

With his guidance, our campaign was being discussed on news.com.au, The Daily Telegraph, The Herald Sun, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Today Show as well as several major metro radio interviews.  chapel-street-precinct-associationfacebook-photo-mike-baird

Chatter has continued to snowball across social media channels of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat even as I type this. It really was a marketing executive’s dream come true!

Overall, we took a lot of risks with the campaign but we believed in the cleverness of the message and that’s what gave us the confidence to push through. Plus our gut always told us it would be a success.

It’s a new and exciting time for the Chapel Street brand and with increased competition from retailers in the city and outer-suburban mega malls, the timing couldn’t have been better to inject some cheeky personality to set our precinct apart. No one can say we are vanilla, that’s for sure!

Note: The Chapel Street Precinct Association supported Sydney’s Keep Sydney Open Rally

Chrissie Maus is the marketing and events director at Chapel Street Precinct Association

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