3 Affordable ways for Guerilla College Marketing

April 10, 2006 - Get free updates of new posts here

These 2 ideas were shared with me from David at Pixpulse.

Guerilla Marketing Commando

1-    Sponsor Pizza Boxes– If you haven’t noticed college kids love to eat and drink. Many weekends and  late nights begin or conclude with pizza. Contact all the local pizzerias at your target school and get your flyers, coupons or sponsor pizza for a weekend to get your message out.

2-    Spray Paint: David made a stencil of his companies website and got spray paint chalk and covered the University of Washington with it. It is very visible, you can mix it up with tons of colors and is quite unique. Preferably use hairspray over the spray paint chalk so it lasts longer.

3-    Soda Vending Machines: College students purchase TONS of soda all around campus. Why not get your logo and/or advertisement as the cover of the machine. A company did this on my campus and it was quite noticeable.

I know that some of these tactics depend on what you are trying to market but they are affordable and different than what your competitors are doing.

Funny Bonus One: Condoms- David suggested this funny idea but it may not fit your brand image. Put your company logo on the outside packaging and give them out for free or partner with the campus health centers.

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6 responses to “3 Affordable ways for Guerilla College Marketing

  1. Brian Balfour Reply

    We considered the condom thing for one of my past companies that targeted college students. There are a number of places that you can get your logo/message printed on the packaging. But it usually costs around $1 per condom with a minimum order of 1000 or 5000 condoms. Thats a lot of money for a startup to spend on condoms 🙂

    Other ideas to target college students:

    Logo on Ping Pong Balls – Almost every student plays beer pong or beiruit. And how many times have you needed more ping pong balls?

    Logo on Shot glasses – for obvious reasons. Who doesn’t want a free shot glass. This is actually more affordable then the condoms.

    T-Shirt – Expensive, but effective if you get them in the right hands i.e. attractive people

    Flyer Lecture Halls – Visit the large lecture halls at 7am before classes start and flood them with flyers. Students get so bored in class they will look for anything to distract them.


  2. Shivani Reply

    I think those ideas are great ways to increase brand recognition, but I don’t think any of those suggestions would actually get students to use the product. So, if I was trying to market for a new website or product I’d probably try to advertise on a more personal level, like through the dorms, or through different clubs/organizations. There’s no action step with the pizza boxes, chalking, or soda vending machines, so people would just look at it and move on. For a company that’s already well known all of those ideas would work much better since it keeps reminding students that the product exists.

    Also, the chalking idea doesn’t work on campuses that are chalked constantly (ex. Berkeley). I used to walk over those chalkings without thinking twice about what they said since because I saw so many of them. Chalking = flyering in my mind…they both take tons of time and they don’t produce many results.

  3. Wen Reply

    Shivani, I disagree. When I worked at my last company, there was a pizza ad up in the kitchen. Everyday, I would strangely, strangely, want pizza! So if you are advertising on a soda machine and you see it everyday, it would probably would work.

    The condoms idea is awful, and this is why: People want to buy things if they are constantly bombarded by it. If you notice – yes, people buy luxury goods because of ads. But its more likely because they see it on a) other rich looking people and b) on celebs. That is far more powerful than any advertising (hence why Jessica Simpson is getting sued.) So unless you are throwing condoms at people left and right, it won’t work. And come on, when you are at that crucial moment where you might be opening a condom, who the hell is going to take a look at the wrapper and say “Hey, you know, I might need product xyz or service xyz…'” trust me, at that point, that BETTER not be what you are thinking about..

  4. David Reply

    I agree with Shivani on most of her points. Flyers, chalking, pizza boxes, etc have very low conversion rates. Most of these methods are also better suited to a company selling a product than a web service.

    In marketing it takes 7 impressions or touches before the user actually takes action. Facebook had strips of paper saying “www.thefacebook.com” on the back of bathroom stalls at a sorority in UW–pretty damn good coverage.

    Smart coverage is still king when it comes to guerilla marketing.


  5. Tim MMF Reply

    Those are all pretty good ideas. I don’t think the spraypainting one would fly on most campuses. I know it wouldn’t on mine.

    The condom idea would probably work well unless you’re targeting a more conservative market that might get offended by it. 🙂

  6. Ned Reply

    The condom idea isn’t bad, it really depends on the price per unit (lol unit). If it is a free condom then it is asumed that the person didn’t go buy one, and if they didn’t feel the need to go buy a box of condoms they didn’t think they would be having enough or any sex to need a whole box of it(or they dont care about wearing a rubber). The point is that if you are about to have sex and the only condom you have is a freebe with an ad on it one of two things will happen. One – you grab it from where ever you tucked it and go “good thing xyz provided this condom”. Or if you are running over to your RA(floor boss, or w/e) to get one and it doesn’t say Trojan or Lifestyles on it you are going to take a second and see what you are about to put on your penis and make sure it isn’t crap. Because the guy is going to check it out he has to read your ad, and the “I’m about to get laid” feeling that is going through his mind will gaurentee a possitive reaction(like the bridge sexual atraction experiment). I’ve also gotten a coupon in form of a small matchbook like cover on a freebe condom, possibly a cheaper option.