Real World Attention

Your mum may well have told you not to be an attention-seeker, but forget that - we're your mother now. Campaigning is about making as much noise as possible, and we’re going to show you how.

We asked ethical marketing man Chris Arnold 'what is the best way to get attention for a campaign in the real world?'

Great ideas that emotionally connect. No one notices the bland, only the exceptional. If you want a response, you first need to get a reaction. So make people laugh, cry, feel shocked, surprised or just fascinated. Leave them with something they want to remember. A reaction is an experience and we remember experiences more than what we see and read.

Here’s what successful entrepreneur Jamie Murray Wells suggests:

To make people sit bold upright, take notice and get involved, we’re going to have to get the campaign noticed. That means hard-hitting PR, outrageous stunts, and celebrity involvement. We have to turn the campaign idea into a movement by galvanizing people into action. We have to prompt them, cajole them, persuade them and influence them - and once we get them on board we have to make them go out and do the same. Again and again. In this case the craziest promo ideas are going to be the winners - let’s get the thinking caps on.

We asked Chris Arnold: What's the best example of marketing you can think of?

Wow! Big question. There are too many answers because it depends of the many different types and goals of marketing.  From my own folio, my most satisfying was the WHO PAYS? campaign I created for Action Aid. It created massive and effective change. The campaign was created to make consumers aware that when supermarkets make discounts it's often the farmers that pay for it, not them. Individuals and companies could sign up on the website as supporters of this cause; we were raising awareness and asking people to write to their MP too. The campaign signed up over 50,000 people to the campaign but best of all it forced supermarkets to come clean. Within weeks Sainsbury's ran an ad that declared that they were paying for the discount on bananas, not farmers. That's the kind of marketing that leaves you feeling very good.

And here are his tips for what to do when you’ve got a very limited budget available, i.e. almost no money whatsoever.

  • Be imaginative, resourceful and clever. Use social networks, the web and PR. You don't need big budgets to make a big impact. A viral, a guerrilla idea, a stunt can cost nothing. Many things cost nothing - like the guy who put bubbles in the Trafalgar Square fountains. Cost a few quid.  We stuck a 21 foot condom on the Cerne Abbas Giant (that large chalk figure of a naked man in Dorset) and got worldwide publicity for Family Planning.
  • Often the very limitation of small budgets or no budgets forces you to be clever.  Having lots of money gives you the sense that money will crack it for you. 95% of marketing budgets do very little, it's the 5% that works. If we could just spend the 5% that works we wouldn't need the other 95%.

Of course, however imaginative, resourceful and clever you’re being you must stay within the law: it's hard to run a campaign from a prison cell. Check out the legal advice from Chapter 3 of the handbook before you embark on any attention seeking stunts.

We asked advertising guru Jeremy Garner for advice on how to get attention for your campaign:

I think that advertising, in its traditional form, is not effective anymore. People’s media consumption habits have changed and technology has given people the means to blank advertising out. People are so advertising-literate these days too, so unless something’s clever, entertaining and respects their intelligence they’re really not going to give it the time of day.

Plus, the internet has given rise to so many different channels that any sort of advertising has to be very entertaining if it is to get people’s attention and keep it. People are spending less time watching TV and more time online. They’re in full control of the information they’re taking in. So the only way to reach people is to try to engage them on their terms. There has to be something in it for them. It has to be entertaining. Whatever you do has to capture the ‘truth’ of what you’re all about - in other words, what makes you or your campaign unique and different to everything else.

A great campaigning example of the above is the ‘Tap project’ campaign for Unicef. The idea was pretty simple: restaurants in New York invited their customers to donate a dollar for tap water that they would normally get for free. In effect, they turned tap water into a brand. Tap water was freely available, had a vast distribution network, and what it represented was the chance for people to donate a dollar for glass of it - which would in turn be used by Unicef to provide a child with clean drinking water for 40 days. Over 2,000 restaurants signed up to the programme, they could sign up online. There was celebrity endorsement too.

Guerilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is using your clever brain to generate a lot of publicity at very little expense, and it's an excellent opportunity to have a good laugh into the bargain. Here are some tips on dreaming up something a bit nuts, and then doing it.

Into the future (from Utrophia)

Utrophia are an adventurous marketing company who have pulled off all sorts of weird and very wonderful stunts. Here are their pearls:

  • What is guerilla marketing? Guerilla marketing is something that has been attached to the very honest, brave and worthy actions of groups and individuals who see that there is a huge shift in moral and material values approaching humanity and who are amassing accordingly. To use these public spectacles to market anything is quite beside the point. These actions are nothing but adverts for the fact they are happening and that this is a point in time where people strive very hard and very honestly to side step a brand or price tag on experience.
  • What can I do? Let go of everything to find something honest to dedicate your time to.
  • How do I do it? EAR: Experience, Awareness, Research. Be the chance you wish to see.
  • What are some great examples? Ghandi / Andy Kauffman.
  • How can I set up a stunt? Start small and let it grow.
  • What do I need to remember? (is there a stunt checklist?) Be honest. Let the journey and the process be the most essential element of what you're doing, not the end result. For example, you're not doing it for fame or for a TV career, you're doing it because it could well be a point in history that people look back on and see how someone did well for humanity. Let the reasons for what you're doing be led by instinct, magic, the inexplicable, something bigger than anyone could even understand and then see what happens. Revel and relish. Strive and be strong. I guess most importantly, you've got to love people.

So now you’re doing all this great stuff to promote your campaign, but you need to let people know about it. This is where the press come in handy. Find out how to use them in the press section.