New Guerilla Advertising Technique: Bag O’ Rocks

Guerilla Advertising - Rock Bag

“This was on your driveway,” one of my employees said after walking down to check my mail yesterday. I took it from her hands and examined it. On first glance, I thought it was some type of gravel or rock company that offered refacing. Why else would I be holding a cheap Ziploc bag containing a small flyer and four sparkly rocks?

The flyer corrected my mistaken impression. It’s a local pressure cleaning company that has decided to use a technique that I haven’t seen before to get their message out there. In their minds, taking the time to print each flyer, cut it with a paper cutter (I can tell it’s been done by hand) so it fits in a bag, find enough rocks, open the Ziploc bag, throw some rocks in, insert the flyer, and seal the bag, then driving through neighborhoods pitching the bags out the car window as they blur by each house is faster than just printing the flyers and tucking them behind each mailbox flag. With no website on the flyer, “Aqua Klean” forgoes the new route of using social media and SEO to grow their business and relies on an old classic: guerilla marketing. Now with rocks!

I applaud this small company’s initiative and ability to spell everything correctly on their materials, and while I might not agree that this is the most cost and time-effective technique to get some business, I can understand the need to try new things.

That’s why I think I should start a local guerilla marketing firm called Gorilla Guerilla Marketing, Inc., that will offer some innovative ways to get your message out to consumers. Here are some of my ideas:

1. Hobo Instant Messaging – with today’s record unemployment rates, the streets of every major city are replete with bums and panhandlers. We’ll carefully position each of them down the sidewalk of your choosing, each baring a message neatly printed on their back. When read together, all the messages will form a little jingle or catchy phrase, much like the Burma Shave ads of old. For example,

Bum #1: “Ignore this bum”
Bum #2: “Don’t make a scene”
Bum #3: “You should come”
Bum #4: “To Aqua Klean!”
Bum #5: “407-694-1478”

Cost: $10 for sign supplies and four bottles of hooch.

2. The Sponsored Riot – Next time your city has a riot, due to a poorly decided court case, a winning game for your local sports team, or just a random riot brought on by economic unrest and financial turmoil, don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to gain some visibility. We will stock the city with crowbars, flaming trashcans, riot gear, and rocks, all branded with your company name, logo, and phone number. In addition, we’ll take on the task of making sure that all cars under a certain weight class will proudly display your brand on the undercarriage, just in case they are flipped over during the festivities! We’ll use embossed lettering on all riot gear, as well, so that eager policemen can leave an imprint of your company name on the foreheads, backs, and arms of your prospective customers! Also, don’t forget to ask about our sponsored layoffs.

Cost: $500 per thousand residents of your city. $10,000 per thousand residents if you live in Detroit.

3. Ninjas.

Cost: $10/hour from discount ninja warehouse. Sponsored hari kiri is extra.

4. Sneak Lottery Attack – By secretly seeding gas stations and grocery stores with fake scratch-off lottery tickets, we can surprise people into being your next prospective client! Just imagine their reaction after buying their ticket, when they scratch it off only to discover that they’ve won $100,000! And then imagine their further reaction as they read it more carefully and learn that the ticket in their hands is actually just a coupon for a free One Hundred Grand candy bar if they purchase your services. You’ll have people banging down your door!

Cost: $0.30 per printed lottery ticket plus $0.45 per 100 Grand candy bar given away.

5. Old School – This is the simplest and most effective means of getting your message into the hands of people who will truly pay attention to it. Using state of the art Sharpie markers and white paper, along with NASA-tested rubber bands, we will write very simple, targeted messages on each piece of paper, use the rubber band scientifically to attach the paper to a large brick, and then drive through the neighborhoods of your choice, launching each brick through the windows of your prospective customers’ homes. Your phone will be ringing off the hook! This technique is especially effective if you own a window replacement company, in which case, we will actually put your competitor’s name and phone number on the brick instead of yours!

Cost: $15 per brick. $10,000 for an Los Angeles Bail Bonds company.

6. The Silver Bullet – There’s no reason that you shouldn’t be able to take advantage of the paranoia and burgeoning fear of all of the right-wing conspiracy theorists. They’re buying up guns in anticipation of a suspension of our civil rights as if we were still under President Bush! And of course, with all of the guns in circulation right now, shootings have become even more prevalent than before. Parents are shooting themselves and their families, people are shooting up offices, dogs are shooting cats, it’s a gun-crazy world out there. And most of these people are horrible shots! That’s why we’ll strike a deal with every major bullet manufacturer in the world to have your brand permanently etched into each bullet and casing out there. Whether it’s a maintenance guy cleaning up ejected shells, the police confiscating the remainder of the unused bullets after a murder-suicide, or a physician digging a bullet out of a survivor, brand recognition is only a desperate man away!

Cost: $0.21 per bullet. Ask about our singing bullet option that will sing your jingle after it’s been fired.

So, who’s interested? Anybody want to hire Gorilla Guerilla Marketing, Inc.? We promise that at least one person will show up at your door* or your money back!

*Person could include police, SWAT, an attorney, or an angry mob.

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25 Replies to “New Guerilla Advertising Technique: Bag O’ Rocks”

  1. Greg

    Yeah, I got a bag like this a few weeks ago from a local company but it didn’t do anything for me. Didn’t seem worth the effort. I’ve also been receiving bags hanging on my front door with a test tube inside for a “water inspection” company. But you know they’re hoping the smartasses in the neighborhood will use it to give them a semen sample. Genius reverse psychology-using marketing firms…

  2. Grant

    I think it would have been more effective if they advertised glass repair and hurled it through a window. Or maybe if they cleaned carpets, they could break in and shit the message on your floor.

  3. Valerie

    Old school was very funny. We’ve been getting the bag of rocks advertisements for awhile. I feel it’s a waste because I put it directly in the garbage can in the garage. Avon and lawn care service is what they’re advertising in my neighborhood. You should call them just to congratulate them on correct spelling.

  4. y not i

    Seems like I recall some doofus who owns a glass replacement company doing the “Old School” recently (albeit without the messages). He was throwing rocks through the windows of a business, then casually showing up the next day and ‘mentioning’ his line of work. They caught on after the third or fourth time it happened.

  5. Blondefabulous

    I knew someone who advertised like that….. excapt he passed the actual distribution of the bags of to his teenage son and friends. One weekend he got several angry threats from neighbors because the idiot kids were actually hitting cars and boats in the driveways with the bagged stones, thinking it was a jolly fun time. The residents were NOT thrilled.

  6. Sighbrrgal

    Adam? Are you losing weight? You’re looking a lot lighter in that photo.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with you if you haven’t been losing weight … but I think that is the best photo I’ve ever seen of you and I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years now.

    Just curious.

  7. Avitable

    LMSS, the ninjas have already been purchased from the discount ninja warehouse.

    Tracy, I feel ya.

    Kris, I do not get your reference.

    Just Beth, can I use that as a testimonial? “So funny you’ll shit!”

    Greg, you should totally go for it!

    Hello, that’s not that far fetched an idea either.

    BE Earl, so I shouldn’t have rinsed my mouth with them? Damn.

    Kapgar, they would have definitely gotten your attention then.

    NYCWD, ah, but these are high quality bums who can stand in one spot all day long.

    Robin, it’s a super secret method so we’ll have to kill you after we do it.

    Grant, isn’t that what I suggested in my post?

    Sybil, you mean my bum, don’t you?

    Finn, yeah, I know why they do the rocks, so they can toss them from the car and so they don’t blow away, but they could just tuck it between the flag and the mailbox too.

    Valerie, have they been spelling it correctly? They usually don’t.

    Y not I, that doesn’t surprise me.

    DAwn, I’d never seen it until this week.

    Arjan, the harikiri is what makes it fun!

    Kevin Spencer, no, your rocks are totally diamonds in the rough. Keep them.

    Blondefabulous, that would piss me off to no end.

    Poppy, probably stole them.

    Sighbrrgal, I think it’s just a trick of the light!

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