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Consumer Activism: Carrotmob

How much fun is there to be had at a boycott? Aside from the pleasure brought by catchy one-liners chanted in unison from the chords of diligent, dissatisfied customers, not much. Enter Carrotmob, “a method of activism that leverages consumer power to make the most socially-responsible business practices also the most profitable choices.” Carrotmob has re-written the Activist’s Guide to Effective Protest by changing the rules; instead of yelling at those who do wrong, they tip their hats to those who pledge to do right. How Carrotmob works: Companies compete by pledging a percentage of mob-day-sales to greening business operations. The winning company is then mobbed by the avid network of carrotmobsters who bolster sales by doing what they do best: consume. The company then uses the pledged money to lower energy usage, replace aged piping or use sustainable inputs. In addition to the short-run gain in sales revenue, the company is able to achieve long-term savings and favorable positioning as a socially-conscious business. Carrotmobs have succeeded domestically in several cities including San Francisco, Portland, Brooklyn, Seattle and Chicago, while expanding internationally to Finland, Germany, Australia and Canada. The philosophy behind Carrotmob is that it’s much more enjoyable and effective to lure companies in with a carrot (Carrotmob) than to poke them with a stick (boycott). Learn more about Carrotmob at http://carrotmob.org/.


Commuter Marketing: Joint Juice Hits S.F. (Cue Rocky Music)

San Francisco MUNI and BART riders face the same daily question: “Stairs or Escalator?” To help ease the pain of climbing the dreaded stairway, Joint Juice suggests commuters try their new glucosamine infused Fitness Water. The mobile marketing campaign was launched in MUNI and BART underground stop stations and on SF MUNI public transit buses (“Can you bend like this bus?”).

Street Marketing: McDonald's Have You Had Your Coffee Fix Today?

To promote their 2 week long free coffee promotion, McDonald's teamed up with Cossette Atlantic to transform light posts on the streets of Vancouver, Canada into "java" filled coffee pots and cups. Supporting bus shelters reminded consumers of the promotions' approaching end date, illustrated by a dwindling mass of coffee beans. Bottoms up!


Publicity Stunt: Havaianas

There comes a time each year when droves of people neatly fold their fleece lined coats, retire their two pairs of tightly knit wool socks, reluctantly let go of bad weather as a catch-all-excuse for being lazy, and embrace spring. For Havaianas, a Brazilian originated sandal company, they are just keeping up with the seasonal flow of fashion. From Rome to London, Havaianas invites locals and tourists alike to spring into the season with bright pink, orange, yellow and blue footwear. Brand ambassadors simultaneously rose across Europe’s major cities to decorate world famous lawns with sprouting flowers. Only this time, by flowers, we mean shoes.

Street Marketing: Calgary Farmers' Market

The saying goes, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. When it comes to fresh produce, a group of Calgary Farmers in Alberta, Canada want to remind you that their apples never fall in the freezer. In the snow ridden streets, lined with embarrassingly naked trees, Calgary invites us to get in the holiday spirit and enjoy a delicious, always fresh, juicy, red ornament donned with a simple freshness guarantee, “Fresh All Winter”. An unknown number of passer-bys actually ate the fruit, while everyone else visually digested the idea that fresh fruit should be expected, whether the occasion coincides with a fertile spring day in April or a bitter, frosty night in December.

Promotional Campaign: Eichborn

Is this a red flag for PETA or a unique promotional campaign? Curious crowds at the Frankfurt Book Fair suggest the latter. Equipped with red promotional banners attached by wax strings, flies were set free in the convention to create buzz for the German publishing house Eichborn. Unsuspecting book goers were greeted by these little creatures along with a brand message; a message that would have gone nearly unnoticed had it been in the form of a traditional, oversized banner flying above the booth. Whether or not the significance of insect rights lingered in the back of apprehensive consumer minds, traffic was driven to Eichborn and its products. At the end of the day one thing may have been missing; a strategic partnership with an electric fly swatter company.

Street Marketing: PBR

Question: How can you convince a too-cool-for-school, fixie riding, Ray-ban wearing, tattooed hipster to be a brand ambassador for your product? Answer: Use non-traditional tactics to induce a feeling of ''lifestyle as dissent'' or ''consumption as protest''. Pabst Blue Ribbon, a beer that originally belonged to middle-aged men in dark Milwaukee bars, is now being framed as the underground sweetheart of beer; not by PBR itself, but by these so-called anti-consumers. In an effort to expand its small, yet steady market share, PBR is tip-toeing right by these scensters and putting marketing efforts in their hands. This is the idea behind the annual PBR Art Contest, where faithful drinkers submit a piece of art that is “constructed of, inspired by or captures the essence of the Pabst brand/logo” in hopes of winning a cash prize and free beer. Another guerrilla tactic used by the “virtual brewery” (PBR no longer actually brews its own beer, Miller does) is subtle sponsorship of small-scale indie-rock music scenes, bike polo competitions and beer-stacking contests. Will you be seeing huge fliers, business representatives and cheesy print ads at these events? No. But you will find plenty of free beer.

Street Marketing: Mr. Clean

We all know this man. We have all faced a dirty kitchen sink or scummy bathroom floor with no companion near except Mr. Clean. With his firm cross-arm stance, shinny head and all-knowing smirk, we trust he will not abandon us until our tiles are as white as his cross walk strip. This subtle, inexpensive and fun technique used by Mr. Clean speaks to the character of guerrilla marketing. With not much effort on the brands part, pedestrians were sorely reminded how closely their tiles resembled the abused white sidewalk strips and ran home to spend some quality time with their old friend Mr. Clean.


BuzzWorthy: Industry Happy Hour in San Francisco

Join us and other industry professionals for a free Happy Hour in downtown S.F. next week, 11/10/09. We hope to see there. RSVP here or via the Facebook Event Page.


Branded Egg Hunt: Sony PS3 Slim

To promote the release of the new Playstation 3 Slim, Sony spread out a number of extra large, hollow eggs at undisclosed, high-traffic locations throughout Dublin City, Ireland. Laying on top of each bird-less capsule was a wooden mallet reading, “The Game is Just the Start.” Any curious bystander brave enough to break open the shell would be rewarded with a real PS3 Slim. An egg-cellent win!

Watch the video.