Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Zyrtec Telephone Pole Ad Campaign: Guerilla or Gorilla Marketing?

This morning, I posted a note about a Zyrtec print reminder ad (see "Zyrtec Reminder Print Ad -- Is It Legal?"), which seemed to be a follow-on to what Fard Johnmar called "a clever guerrilla marketing campaign once reserved for consumer packaged goods companies and underground musical acts."

The "guerrilla" aspect of this campaign involves hiring Zyrtec ad agency minions to nail flyers to telephone poles as illustrated in the print ad. Fard stepped out of his office in NYC and actually saw one of these flyers!

Of course, there are no telephone poles in NYC and the flyer Fard saw was attached to some scaffolding at a construction site.

I don't know about you, but I walk on the other side of the street from construction sites when I pedest in the Big Apple! You never know when the errant construction crane or bucket of cement is going to come tumbling down on you!

There ARE plenty of telephone poles out here in the suburbs, but I NEVER see anything posted on them. Except for teenagers crashing their cars into them, we suburbanites and country folk never get close and personal with telephone poles.

There are two things I'd like to know about such "clever guerilla marketing campaigns":
  • Who's the audience? Most people who can afford OTC Zyrtec are not cruising the streets taking phone numbers off flyers!
  • How much is McNeil paying riffraff to plaster our cities with this debris? Which brings me back to Jack Friday's question: Is it legal?
I suspect that pasting unauthorized ads on scaffolds and nailing them to telephone poles is definitely NOT legal in most US cities!

So, the print ad showing a flyer attached to a telephone pole IS legal, but the real-world notices that Fard is seeing are NOT legal! And the print ad tells us exactly who the culprit is!

P.S. If hundreds of these flyers were nailed to telephone poles and no-one in the media or blogosphere wrote about it, would it make a sound?

If hundreds of these flyers were nailed to telephone poles and not ALSO seen in full-page magazine ads and on TV DTC ads, would it make a sound?


  1. Anonymous5:54 PM

    At least in NYC this is one hundred percent illegal. I'm on the case on behalf of my block association and I won't rest until the proper enforcement authorities have swung into action.

    The very idea.

  2. Anonymous1:21 AM

    This is an extreme and somewhat comical example, but there is no doubt that drug companies are looking to market to masses rather than docs especially as the medical profession seems to currently be up in arms over docs receiving a free lunch and a few pens.

  3. I don't really know how appealing it is for them to have marketing on telephone poles. I think the reason they don't use the pole for multiple purposes is because of distractions. We don't want more teens driving into those poles than already are. But it's a great idea!


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