How can an idea so small be so right? How do you create a phenomenon?
How do you generate so much brand heat that you’re the talk of the town in London? New York? Berlin? Or Tokyo? How do you get that brand to sizzle?
Sure advertising helps, but today, sending in the US Marines isn’t the only way to go. Say hello to BlueberryFrog.
The world’s first cross-border guerrilla and viral marketing agency that unashamedly uses every media necessary to create buzz and make a brand your best friend.
Since starting up in some tunnels in southeast Amsterdam last year, the world’s only cross border agency, has come above ground for brands such as the global launch of Netbabyworld.com, Motorola’s V-box across Asia and the USA, Viagra, Heineken, and the European launch of Microsoft’s MSN search engine.
Guerrilla marketing started as a means to generate a lot of noise for local bands and DJs in and around New York and London in the 1970s. It’s always had that rebel image, but recently guerrilla marketing has been the topic of discussion in some of the world’s most smoky boardrooms. It caught on with the big blue chip brands as they were looking for new, more effective, and cost-smart ways to create a relationships with customers. As with the music and fashion industry, the street level contact with consumers is key to building brand relevance, surprise and the cool factor which translates into all important ‘trust’ between the consumer and the brand.
In this world, BlueberryFrog set out in the year 2000 to create buzz for brands across borders. Today, the company’s creative director and partner, Mark Chalmers feels things have taken a turn for the better: “There is so much more technology and digital media out there” says Mark Chalmers. The convergence of digital media means opportunity.”
Chalmers should know, he was the mind behind the hugely successful stunts and guerrilla marketing to make Tango (the UK soft drink) one of the most successful brand launches in the UK ever.
“We used to find new exciting ways to create personal experience a few years ago, when we worked for Adidas, or Sony Playstation…but today, every new day , there are so many new ways of communicating with our audience. Look at fashion and clothing for instance, collaborations between Levi and Phillips – technology, mobile communication devices, mp3 players all integrated into what we wear. Look at Samsonite utilizing their packaging knowledge to package us in Samsonite clothing. Smart, intelligent materials are being developed, they act as an extensions of our senses, second skins. Steve Austin used to be ahead of his time, now we are becoming the six million dollar people,” Chalmers continues.
“You are in the fishbowl is how we marketers used to look at things. Now, you are the bowl and the fish, and the feeder…and well…anything your mind wants you to be. The average individual recognizes 1000 brands and only 10 species of plants…no wonder there has been a backlash to brands – they can infringe our space and we are tired already. The definition of personal space is the text message on our phone in our pocket.
The best brands, are a hell of a lot cleverer than that. Yes, they add value. Yes, they explore new media channels. Yes they excite. Yes they entertain you.
So Mark, who are you?
30 yrs old, British, creative director; trained as an architect and still consider what I am doing architecture. – I’m still constructing environments – one of the best ‘campaigns’ has got to be a place of religion, church. Beautiful in all it’s detail, the door handle on the door is as much a reflection of the overall building as the space within it. Look at what Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim has done for Bilbao, is that architecture or advertising? Every photo of it looks like a fantastic press ad.
What do you believe?
Nothing beats a good idea. But nothing beats inventive execution either. You can have a million charts, fifty million dollars, a thousand rationale but if the idea+execution ain’t any good you may as well go home. Smart guerrilla will get the world talking.
What do you hate?
I hate not appreciating life. You only get one pop on this planet so I suppose it’s when people don’t appreciate that. It’s good to have a go, good to make mistakes and good to have another go.
What do you love?
I love what’s going on at the moment. The Internet, the technology, the opportunities. I hope to be walking around one day with a microchip in my head. And not forgetting trainers – they are totally inspirational. But I can’t tell you what brand is my favorite. I am not in love at the moment however. Still looking for the love of my life! Ha.
What are the coolest projects BF has done to date?
It has to be our launch of Microsoft’s MSN search engine project “Where’s Hans”. A blending of advertising, entertainment, culture and yes, BIG BROTHER. The idea was to hide someone, get the public to search for him using the MSN search engine and all it’s tools. Two days after we started 415,000 people turned in on the website. It all began when we proposed to Microsoft to bury a guy, named Hans, six foot under somewhere in Europe with the general public having 7 days to find him. The client turned white and then passed out. Kidding aside, they were very supportive. And incredibly smart at recognizing the possibilities inherent in this idea. We used approximately nine different media from a very cool website, which was the centre of the campaign, to flyposters to press ads to personal columns to viral emails. It was great because all the media worked really hard cross-referencing one another. Everywhere the public went , everywhere they looked it was ‘Where’s Hans’. We knew it was a great success, yes from the results but more so when we kept overhearing people talking about it. That’s when you’ve created a real buzz.
What are the coolest things you’ve ever done with guerrilla?
Projecting the faces of the UK football team on the White Cliffs of Dover for Adidas when the team flew over to play the French. And now, more recently, I would have to say the Silent Bill Motorola launch in the USA: www.leavesyouspeechless.com, in terms of scale. The viral marketing campaign reached 35,000,000 viewers in households in the USA. It all started with a simple emailing of 6 different megs to 50,000 of the coolest people in the USA. The results were so amazing that Rolling Stone wrote about the campaign. And we got over 8 million visitors to visit the interactive experience: www.leavesyouspeechless.com
Who is your dream client?
An Asian client who wants to become the biggest, most talked about brand in Europe. Let me meet them! Good products are naturally key but as manufacturing standards get more advanced it is almost a given. The real dream is to get a brand that says yes I want to change the world.
Is Asia ripe for BlueberryFrog?
Are you kidding? Look at Pokemon, Tamagotchi…these are phenomenal creations. This is what it’s all about. BlueberryFrog thrives in a consumer society and you’ve got one of the best. It’s technology heaven.
What is your ideal woman?
I could tell you her name as I’ve just met her..