In general, advertising is incredibly derivative. Promotion forever copies the next new thing in the hopes of creating buzz or catching the latest wave of popular opinion. Guerrilla Ads are ones that are, by definition, completely unique. They work by breaking through everyday noise and recreating the mundane into something completely discontinuous.
Here are some of my favorite examples from the above link:
And yet, these ads are ones that take an incredible amount of thought and execution. They require just the right person to use just the right space to create the powerful message that is required to break through the noise. Because they are looking to establish something that makes you think and sticks with you, they can’t be done all of the time. They have to be created, spend their time in the limelight and then fade away. Otherwise, they just become more noise.
Even with all of their drawbacks, this kind of advertising is what I a most drawn to, other than word of mouth and networked recommendation. It is the kind of work that makes me think that there is hope for the art of persuasion in every day life. Each example of this type of advertising takes a real place and then introduces something authentic, experimental, and transformational out of it. It asks that our spaces be more than what they were designed for. It asks us to mix real life and fiction in a way that only great pieces of art can do. And that is what I would consider many of these ads: great public art.
And yet, I want Guerrilla marketing to make itself. I want it to grow organically out of the spaces that exist in our world. I want this kind of art to be the collaboration of thousands of people descending on public places and reworking the objects that have so much potential. And I want the ads to be about more than products too. I want them to be about ideas.
I want education to have guerilla advertising. I want kids to be running out of brick buildings. I want the words “School” posted on every public space so that we know that learning can happen anywhere. I want teachers depicted as writing shakespeare graffiti on walls. I want the stuff that goes on inside of our learning institutions to be incredibly visible everywhere.
I want thought to be displayed as virtue. I want idea bubbles to pop out of subway stops. I want moving walkways to have story starters on them. I want ears to be on walls, ready to listen to whatever people have to say.
I want guerilla ads for collaboration. I want large scale puzzles being put together with parking lot spaces. I want pictures of people helping one another climb up steps. I want hands reaching out from walls ready to shake and share information (and for that matter, I want contact kiosks where you can get information sent to your phone from anyone who decided to “bump” their phone into the kiosk or input their information and share their interests).
And that is just me. If we stopped taking for granted that we can only draw in designated areas or make statements on our own, then we all become guerrilla advertisers. I believe it is time that we stop letting products make the best statements in our society. Large companies can’t be the only ones to break through the noise. Little ideas and collections of people need to be able to do that too. Right?
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