Marketing Mafia

UPCYCLING – Banners to Tents

Bharathi Homes is a well-known builder in Chennai. They approached us for a unique marketing campaign with a different reach, and we thought of introducing guerrilla marketing to the brand, thereby taking it beyond the normal audience scope. We discussed with the team and understood that they had flex banners that they used to promote their properties usually.

These were previously used resources for regular marketing strategies, where banners are designed with the idea of advertising their company and brand. We wanted to provide cost effective guerrilla marketing and we decided to reuse what was already available to create something unique out of our brains. We went back and worked on the story. After some brainstorming we decided to use the same flex banners they had designed, and create tents for them. The idea was to provide these tents to the homeless people living on the streets. The concept was that they could use these tents to sleep in, at nights when they needed a little more protection from the direct rain and during days when they needed some respite from the sun. This would help them have some structure to ease their lives and improve their living conditions, but it would also create more avenues for the brand of Bharathi Homes to be recognised everywhere.

The number of homeless people in the city, with many of them sporting tents which are made out of used flex banners consisting of the brand’s name is a different kind of advertisement that will surely stay in the minds of the people who notice them. MYTH #5 GUERRILLA MARKETING CANNOT HELP OTHERS! 37 And that was how the idea took birth. As with all guerrilla marketers, we now faced our real challenge. The homeless people living on the streets do not have a permanent spot even, to call theirs. They have to keep moving around, and they would need to constantly be able to take their meagre belongings along with them. The tents could not be bulky or hard to erect. So we brainstormed and decided to design tents that are portable, weigh less, and also can be assembled and dismantled easily. This would help the people take these wherever they go, thereby increasing the longevity of the product and the effectiveness of the campaign.

The tent was designed with tamper proof features and could be assembled in less than five minutes. It can also be taken down easily, and folded into a very small capacity to be taken around. We made 100+ such tents and delivered them across Chennai. We got a very good response for this initiative, and from the people who received the tent. We spoke with them and spent time listening to their stories, refining our approach based on their valuable inputs. We loved the way they reacted, and we realised that with our simple outlier marketing idea we had essentially changed the lives of some people in a little way at least.

The next day saw some rains and we witnessed the people putting the tents we had given to good use. The marketing happened by itself, with the advertisement now reaching closer to the hearts of those who saw them, and noticed what we had used them for. But more importantly, our idea sent a wave of happiness amidst lesser fortunate people, making them happier with something they could use to safeguard themselves from the ruthless elements of nature. The news print and visual media quickly caught on and this story was featured in couple of Print Media. The story also got organic reach in social media, where a few popular pages shared the content and the pictures of the homeless people using the tents. Our guerrilla marketing campaign won the hearts as much as it got the brand name across with people. Many other brands came forward to offer their used flex banners later on for the construction of tents but the rains did not happen much after November 17 of that year so we had to wait to elaborate on the effectiveness of the same