What if you’ve been exposed to messages without being aware it’s a marketing scheme? For decades people have been bombarded with advertising on TV, social media, and magazines. We’ve evolved from these many decades, however. We’ve learned to filter the messages and block advertising.
When the advertising comes in the form of a movie, conversation, or game it becomes a little harder to filter the messages and thus stealth marketing was born. It is a marketing technique that involves selling or marketing a product to audiences without them knowing.
If you want to bring stealth marketing into your company here are a few methods that you can try and some examples.
1. Use Actors
In today’s world, companies will hire a bulk of actors and put them in twos and threes. These actors will travel around cities to get the attention of the general public.
The actors then spread the word about the product. They talk about the different features, and unique traits, all without revealing their identities. That’s actually why some people find this practice illegal.
You can carry this out over a period of a few days or a week until you feel like your product has been thoroughly advertised. A similar thing you can do is send these actors to huge organizations so they can indulge the number of people present.
A note for you, these conversations will be scripted so make sure it flows naturally so the audience is none the wiser.
2. Video Releases
Videos featuring the product can be made to look like press releases when in reality the products are being advertised on television and online channels.
The people in the videos may or may not be actual artists and in a surprise twist of the ages, it may be possible that one of the marketers have been posing as a broadcaster as well.
Another way you can use video is by paying to subtly advertise products in movies and television.
3. Social Networking Sites
Using social networking sites is one of the most common ways to advertise. Your products will be widely launched on online channels, blogs, and websites. For it to work you have established yourself as a well-known company first.
Prior to the launch of the product, you will hire advertisers to spread the word about it so when it’s officially launched, your audience is already looking forward to picking it up.
4. Product Displays
Product displays are a tactic that’s been used in traditional media for a while. Products are proudly displayed on television and other media. This isn’t what makes this method stealthy.
What makes it stealthy is when companies display their products in important locations. You can do this by placing advertisements in fake newsletters that are put around a large neighborhood.
You can also hand out products using the company tag, both will get people talking about you.
Examples of Stealth Marketing Campaigns Used by Companies
Now that we have gone over some ways that you can use stealth advertising, let’s look at a few examples in media.
In the film The Italian Job, the team of thieves pulls off their heist in a whole crew of Mini Coopers. The car was displayed so much and made such a big part of the film that you could say the entire movie was one big ad for Mini Cooper.
Remember the movie Cast Away? Though Tom Hank’s character lived on a stranded island for years, FedEx always remained a prominent part of the film.
Not only does it keep him from going completely insane but also serves nicely to wrap up the end of the movie when he finally delivers the letter that kept him going throughout the film.
Some may argue that the subliminal message of the film is FedEx will deliver through rain, shine, or being stranded on an island and becoming friends with a volleyball named Wilson.
In 2002 Sony did a fake ad that involved an actor promoting their T681 mobile phone.
The actor went around and asked unsuspecting bystanders to take their photos in front of several different tourist locations in New York. The actor subtly marketed the phone by telling the bystander about the different features the camera had.
In 2006 a couple by the name of Jim and Laura wrote a blog that chronicled their adventures to different Wal-Marts across the United States.
This blog gained a huge following but lost it’s charm when people realized that it was being sponsored by Wal-Mart.
Most people would say that controversy is negative for their company unless you’re Starbucks. In 2015 they racked up a bunch of it for their soiled Christmas cup collection.
This is actually a way to employ stealth marketing. The buzz about the product gets thrown out of proportion and the news about it will travel fast through the media.
The fake controversy behind it was that consumers hated the cup and wanted it to be taken off the shelves. Nobody was actually wasting their energy hating a cup but everyone knew about it so sales went up by a lot.
In 2007, a YouTube video featuring a bride having a bad hair day on her wedding day and cutting off her hair went viral with a whopping 3 million views.
The video was actually an advertisement for Sunsilk’s hair care product line. No one is actually crazy enough to cut off all their hair on their wedding day unless they can rock that look, of course.
Beautiful Examples of Stealth Marketing to Try Out
Stealth marketing is a great way to promote your products without shoving them in your customer’s faces. Depending on how subtle your strategy is, you could find people subconsciously drifting toward your product.
So go, make a strange YouTube video, pay to have your product advertised in a movie, or stir the pot with some fake controversy. The sky is the limit!