Marketing Mafia

Gas Balloons, Girls, Guerrilla Marketing

My first guerrilla marketing strategy was during Saraang – 2016, a cultural fest that happens in IIT Chennai. It had been 4 months since I had quit my job. I had no salary for almost four months. December was the worst because of the Chennai floods.

I wanted to market to more people hence decided to have our stall in Saraang. The stall for the 5-day festival itself was obtained in a unique way. The place, worth 40k, was bartered for the arrangement of flash mobs and traditional music troupe performances. We believed this would serve the dual purpose of taking our cultural identities in the art forms to one of the biggest platforms where they can be showcased, bringing these art forms recognition and making them popular amongst the impressionable young students. This was also cost-effective marketing, an effort to make our brand visible and memorable by other correlated events. But on the day of the fest when we landed there, we were given a 4X4 square feet stall in a small corner beside the stage. Our stall was not even visible, and we could not even be heard over the noise from the speakers on stage, where other events were happening, taking the eyes away from our stall.

So we had to think on our feet, and find some other effective technique using our marketers’ brains. To begin, we requested the organisers for a different location for our stall, and we shifted to a nearby place. Our competitor stalls were big names like the Times of India, MRF, and other businesses who had extravagant marketing inflow and thereby had better stalls placed in the prime areas. And they had events lined up with best of Emcees & giveaways and here I was, handing out flyers MYTH #1 GUERRILLA MARKETING IS FOR BIG BRANDS 13 For a small moment, it felt as if we were overshadowed by bigger brands with a better budget. And then, our outlier marketing ideas kicked in, and we knew we would make the best out of it. We decided to bombard the entire IIT campus with our brand. We called up the balloon seller anna, asking if he could deliver 500 gas balloons at short notice. He arranged them for us at the best rate because we used his services regularly.

We quickly had a colleague buy CD/ OHP markers, and some nuts and bolts. We already had flyers advertising us ready in hand, to distribute to people who came to our stall. And we decided to use them uniquely.


In a different attempt, we had 5 feet long balloon strings – we wanted our product to be visible to everyone. We tied a nut & bolt to the end of the string, so the balloons would not fly away. The metal weighed down the balloons and kept them floating instead of flying. In a stellar cost-effective marketing idea, we placed the balloons tied with our flyers all over the campus. The floating balloons kept our flyers at eye level, making sure everyone noticed them. For an hour, from 2 PM – 3 PM, we dropped around 450 balloons in the campus, and at around 4 PM, most of the campus was actively reading our flyers. The girls were having our vibrant, brightly coloured, heart shaped gas balloons, and were reading our flyers. A crowd had been attracted, and the brand made visible. Within a short while, many people visited our stalls and started hearing out our surprise ideas. What we had originally planned with stalls happened manifold better with our excellent Guerrilla Marketing idea.

Students liked the innovative approach very much and even started carrying our balloons outside the campus, increasing visibility beyond the initial scope. Some friends from the Anna University noticed our balloons idea. They called us and appreciated our idea. Our brand marketing had expanded beyond the initially planned area. We were so happy that story had gotten its first reach via guerrilla marketing and we were able to compete with the bigger brands (and their increased better budget) at very lowcost marketing. We got two orders on the day we did this, and 20k leads with this marketing idea. The promotions were also advertised on social media (not only from us but also those who loved the idea). The story and the unique idea were appreciated by everyone and it had an organic reach without any sponsored post shares.