Free Advertising from Customer-Generated Guerrilla Ads

Wm. Hovey Smith is a writer whose products include 14 books, thousands of news. magazine, and E-media articles as well as PR and advertising copy.

  One way to get free advertising  is to have customers make “Guerrilla Video  Ads” to participate in a contest where prizes, and exposure, would result when the ads are run on TV and the Web.

  The sponsoring company could announce the contest, establish the rules, ad lengths and deadlines; and then let their customers create the ads. When the ads are received the best ads could be selected and aired. 

  Some of these videos will be “leaked” to Web sources and make their way through the Internet. This uncontrolled exposure of a brand name in a “Guerrilla Ad” would be unacceptable to some companies, but even a terrible ad would draw attention to the brand, its products and perhaps even result in news coverage.

 Except for being in video format  this is little different from “jingle contests,” “naming contest” and “bake offs” that have been a part of advertising since the early 1900s. The proliferation of “funniest moments” coverage on reality TV is an ample demonstration that the public has the technology to produce such ads. In fact, these “Guerrilla Ads” could become a new type of reality program.

  The general concept for the ads would be that they be short, not libelous, mention only the sponsor’s product, not show any illegal acts and be family friendly in content. Almost everyone has seen a TV ad and thought, “I could do better than that.” These guerrilla ads would allow the public to try their hands at producing advertising to support products that they like.  

  Below  is “The plain truth about Buck Knives” which is a  “Guerrilla Ad” that I recently shot on the plains of  South Dakota.  While I was shooting the ad a truck drove by on the gravel road.  I left this and my “bloopers” in the ad.

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