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In the PR industry, there are principles that are a prerequisite for everything we do for our clients: No brand is boring and a good idea at the right time can achieve great things. The best example of this is the campaign video we produced for La Val Hotel & Spa in Brigels: In "No time for Corona", the world's most famous agent flees from his greatest enemy Covid-19 to the Grisons mountains. But what does this story have to do with a Swiss hotel? In this blog, we reveal how we use guerrilla marketing to make our customers the number one topic of conversation and why this strategy works so well.

Nowadays, according to studies, a person is confronted with around 3,000 advertising messages per day - a well-thought-out battle plan is needed to prevail here. Welcome to the pinnacle of PR: guerrilla marketing. The term actually comes from military terminology and was coined in the 1980s by US marketing expert Jay Conrad Levinson. Guerrilla warfare relies on unconventional tactics to defeat the opponent in a targeted manner. In the advertising world, this strategy is used to make a product stand out from the crowd and to anchor it in the memory through surprise and emotion. For our day-to-day work, this means that we can use our core discipline of storytelling to tell stories that trigger emotions and fascinate again and again. 

Using current social issues: Bond vs. Covid-19

During the coronavirus crisis, many companies were presented with a "once in a lifetime opportunity". They used the virus for solidarity campaigns, for example, to generate attention for their brand. Potential that our client, the La Val Hotel & Spa in Brigelswanted to exploit. With our idea for a campaign video we hit the bull's eye: in "No time for Corona", we combined a highly topical social issue with a well-known story element that appeals to a broad target group. After all, what is the world's most famous agent actually doing during the coronavirus crisis? Our video answers a question that no one had asked, but everyone was interested in the answer: James Bond flees from his greatest enemy to the perfect hiding place far away from the crowds and through traffic - La Val Hotel & Spa. 

The surprise effect: Strike when least expected

In the campaign video, Daniel Craig lookalike Martin Langanke goes on a mission. The man from Thurgau looks just like Daniel Craig and even doubles the real James Bond in a scene in "Quantum of Solace". With the humorous video, we were able to inspire numerous print and online media from Switzerland and also from the neighboring countries of Austria and Germany. La Val Hotel & Spa benefited from the surprising character of the video. With this emotional topic, nobody expected it to be an advertisement for a Swiss hotel. In contrast to traditional advertising formats, the campaign, implemented as a video, was not rejected, but was happily shared and consumed as entertainment. 

The "viral aspect" of guerrilla marketing becomes visible when print and online media, or even TV stations, pick up the story and it is widely shared on social media. These free multipliers contribute to the story becoming the number one topic of conversation. Thanks to the high entertainment value, the actual advertising message behind the whole story only becomes visible at a later stage.

The prank video that we produced for the Engadin St. Moritz Tourismus AG for Engadin St. Moritz Tourismus AG. In the equally successful clip, comedian Kiko tries to sell his "snow" to passers-by in Zurich as a snow dealer. He had real snow from the Engadin in his (refrigerated) luggage and hidden advertising for the dynamic pricing model "Snow-Deal". As he was also accompanied by hidden cameras, nobody suspected that the inconspicuous snow dealer Kiko was acting as an advertising ambassador for the Engadin. The media were thrilled and the video went viral on social media.

Timing is everything

The Bond story would certainly never have worked as well at any other time as it does when a virus paralyzes the whole world. Timing therefore plays a major role, which is why current events should always be monitored very closely. Behind many a news report lies hidden potential for your own customers. One topic dominated the media again and again in winter 2017/18: the ever-growing selfie trend. This was repeatedly criticized, as selfies while cycling or on the ski slopes had great potential for accidents. A creative solution had to be found: for Corvatsch AG we therefore opened the first safe selfie station in Switzerland. The installation on the black Lagalb slope ensured safety and selfie fun, and we received numerous media reports at home and abroad.

Media-effective content production: family at the safe selfie point as part of the season opening on the Lagalb. (c) Joseph Khakshouri

Another, somewhat elaborate but equally innovative innovative PR stunt we carried out for our long-standing client Edelweiss for our long-standing client Edelweiss. To generate attention for their new non-stop flight to Rio de Janeiro and inspire people to travel to faraway Brazil, we brought Rio's most famous landmark to the Uetliberg in a night-and-fog campaign in 2016. The sensation was huge when a replica of one of the seven new wonders of the world suddenly appeared above Zurich on a beautiful spring morning. A media mailing revealed what the new statue was all about: Edelweiss was launching a new flight destination - Rio de Janeiro. Whether the media liked the solution or not, they were now obliged to publish the answer to the riddle. 

A different way of attracting attention: as part of an innovative PR stunt, we brought Cristo to the Uetliberg.

Achieve a lot with little effort: Guerrilla marketing example

The supreme discipline in guerrilla marketing are campaigns that hardly incur any costs but still achieve a great effect. In addition to the safe selfie station, we discovered another tradition in the Engadin with plenty of media potential: "World Shovel Day". When summer and the mountain bike season begins in the Engadin, everyone from mountain railway employees to bike guides grabs a shovel. Everyone helps to clear the mountain bike trails of the last snow. A photo of this snow-covered and unusual action in early summer was sent to the media with the declaration of World Shovel Day and printed many times due to the unexpected subject.

Making a mountain out of a molehill: The tradition surrounding World Shovel Day on the Corviglia offers plenty of media potential.

Even if the actual impact or even the viral nature of a guerrilla campaign can never be predicted beyond doubt, one thing is certain: with creativity, good planning, the right timing and our unconventional approach, we have always been able to make our clients stand out from the crowd. In this way, we always generate attention for them and also for their ideas. We have taken a liking to this type of PR and are always forging new creative battle plans. 

To be continued...