Back in August, it was noted satellite provider DISH, copying Half.com's renaming of Halfway, Oregon and fifties radio show Truth or Consequences' renaming of Hot Springs, New Mexico, was on the prowl for a town that would rename itself DISH. Yesterday, it was announced Dish had finally found a town desperate enough for the money to take the company up on its offer. The 373 residents of Clark, Texas have agreed to rename their town DISH, Texas in exchange for $440,477 and ten years worth of free basic satellite service. As Sploid notes, "In a few years, when DISH Network has been consumed by some other satellite/entertainment monster, the children of DISH may wonder why their town has such a stupid name."
Currently, these efforts are limited to stealth efforts with small towns simply for their press value. With the continued proliferation of advertising into every conceivable corner of life, it's not out of the realm of possibility that Microsoft, five years down the road facing defeat by Google, might approach a city the size of, say Boston, and offer up a few million or billion for naming rights.
In late September we began receiving links to a site called Great Pointed Archer which positioned itself as a save/rename the rat cause site. They even sent us T-shirts. Of course we immediately figured it was a front for something else but the folks behind the site held fast and insisted it was simply an effort to be nice to rats. Sure. Well, as expected, it was a ploy. Today, an Adrants reader went to a Great Pointed Archer rally in Manhattan and reports it is, in fact, just a stealth marketing effort by a PR firm who, he figured, wishes they were an advertising firm. At least that's what we've been told We're tracking down the details.
UPDATE: According to Alex from Museum of Hoaxes, this same claim that a rally occurred in Manhattan was received by him. Our sense is it really is just a stealth stunt by some entity who is playing all of us to some final purpose which, at some point, will be revealed making us all look foolish.
To help promote MSN's The Wall, a project that allows people to create virtual grafitti, The Wexley School for Girls created a contest whereby entrants could submit their grafitti. Wexley then projected the winners' work tagged Atlanta using high-powered light projectors, throwing artwork on various buildings. There are plans in place to roll the promotion out to other cities. See the work here.
Hopefully targeting more than just homeless teens who don't own a television, Marketing services agency Mr. Youth LLC and nighttime teen network The N have teamed up to reach teenagers on the streets of Manhattan to promote The N's South of Nowhere. Today, Street teams, accompanied by a fleet of branded Vespas, will offer $4 Metrocards, which, as a side benefit, is a very good thing for a homeless teen, along with South of Nowhere-branded Metrocard holders to teens heading south on the subways. The street teams, outfitted with chest-mounted TVs, will be positioned outside of downtown subway stations along the N subway line, along with visiting nearby high schools and commuter train stations from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and Friday, November 4th. The N's South of Nowhere series premiere will air on Friday, November 4th at 8:30 p.m. (ET).
Citigroup financial services firm Women & Co. has launched a very unique (and this time the word is warranted) four market, outdoor/street campaign consisting of mirrors, rather than posters, hung in cities containing messages such as "You're one of a kind. Is your financial plan?," "That smile would go great with a financial future" and "You look like a million bucks. Does your retirement account?" The mirrors carried the companies web address. The mirrors were partnered with a street team which handed out branded compact mirrors to remind women to keep looking at their finances. The campaign was created by New York-based Interference.
Like muffins falling out off a billboard and crushing a car, large red balls are popping up - on crushed cars - to promote Powerball. Flicker user Andy explains, "I took it in the Twin Cities. These two cars (and Powerballs) were on the back of a flatbed truck, being driven somewhere, possibly the MN State Fair, that was going on at the time." Yes, this happened back in September so don't get all pissy on us complaining the story isn't two seconds old.
Graeme Klass points out an HP and Intel street promotion in Melbourne Australia, called "The Color Factory," which lets people inside the digital picture creation process to experience it first hand.
While riding to work this morning on a train in Chicago, CTA Tattler reader, Robin, saw a man, with his face painted blue and a cell phone to his ear, get on the train and blather on annoyingly so all could hear. Robin noticed the man's hoodie had a logo on the front but couldn't quite make it out. After a bit, he moves closer to her, turns around and reveals the back of is hoodie which read, "Talk Until You're Blue in the Face with U.S. Cellular." Once the man had the attention of Robin and a few others, he began to tell whomever he was on the phone with "Naw, don't worry about it, brah, I've got free incoming calls with this thing. Yeah, and they gave me a sweet phone, too. Yeah, we could walkie-talkie. Even takes pictures." Now there's some nasty ass guerrilla marketing.
Robin didn't take kindly to the stunt and said, because of the stunt, she'd never spend money with U.S. Cellular and would tell all her friends and family not to as well. Not quite the reaction U.S. Cellular was hoping for. Robin also mentions the Chicago Transit Authority's daily announcements, "Solicitation on CTA trains is prohibited; violators will be arrested," and wonders whether this man, and U.S Cellular, were breaking the law or whether the Transit Authority was breaking its own rule by taking money from U.S. Cellular and allowing this stunt. Gotta love guerrilla marketing.
This morning at New York City's Grand Central Vanderbuilt Hall, Bank of America held an event to promote its new debit card product, "Keep the Change," which rounds up purchases to the nearest dollar and places it in a saving account for the card holder. To attract attention to the new card, a gigantic, 20 foot long, 10 foot high sofa was placed in the Hall where people could climb on and reach beneath the cushions to find prizes such as MetroCards, Starbucks cards, restaurant gift certificates, retailer gift certificates and Apple store discounts.
This promotion, created by Jack Morton, aligns quite well with the whole money-stuck-under-the-couch-cushion thing. More photos to follow.
Yesterday, Commercial Alert's Gary Ruskin said his organization sent a letter to the FTC asking it to investigate buzz marketers, whom he claims "are perpetrating large-scale deception upon consumers by deploying buzz marketers who fail to disclose that they have been enlisted to promote products. This failure to disclose is fundamentally fraudulent and misleading." He specifically named P&G's 250,000-strong Tremor, a group made up of teenagers who talk up products to their friends.
As pointed out by Word of Mouth Marketing Association President Andy Sernovitz, Ruskin incorrectly lumps together buzz marketing with guerrilla and stealth marketing. Following the Commercial Alert release, WOMMA quickly responded with a clarification of the difference between buzz, stealth, guerilla and word of mouth methods and procided a statement of its position on word of mouth and buzz marketing which, in a nutshell, requires open, honest and full disclosure in all marketing efforts.