Street marketing

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Street marketing is marketing or promoting products or services in an unconventional way in public places.[1][2][3] The main characteristic of street marketing is that the campaigns are run exclusively on the streets. Ambient marketing uses other public places,[4] such as shopping centers.[5] Unlike typical public marketing campaigns that utilize billboards, street marketing involves the application of multiple techniques and practices in order to establish direct contact with the customers.[5][6] The goals of this interaction include causing an emotional reaction in potential customers,[5] and getting people to remember brands in a different way.[2]


Street marketing was mentioned by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book Guerrilla Marketing. Street marketing has adapted from the simple use of advertising on the streets to developing inventive ways to promote businesses. A method used by many businesses is the distribution of fliers, using personal contact to deliver a message directly into the customer's hands. There are many other techniques to catch the attention of customers, such as billboards, ads on public transport vehicles, etc. The first case study about street marketing was published at Harvard Business School in November 2014 (written by Lena Goldberg, Marcel Saucet and Christine Snively).[7] Street marketing is more a non-conventional media used by startups and big companies. USA Book News conferred its 2015 Best American "Business: Marketing & Advertising" book award to a book on the subject.[specify][relevant? ][8]

Comparison with guerrilla marketing[edit]

Street marketing is a subset of guerrilla marketing, which is about investing time, energy and imagination into a business campaign. Guerrilla marketing is popular among large businesses, as it uses low-cost unconventional communications which can provide a higher impact for a given investment. The use of viral marketing and engagement marketing help to heighten this impact.[9] Guerrilla marketing exploits services which already exist, such as social networking sites, to create brand awareness. This could be spread by word of mouth or by exploiting social media.[10] Viral messages appeal to individuals who already make high use of social networking, and because the messages do not look like traditional advertising the target audience is less likely to ignore them. Guerrilla marketing targets those who are more likely to share the message with others.[10]

Street marketing has the characteristic of being non-conventional. However, unlike other forms of guerrilla marketing, it is limited to the streets or public places, and does not make use of other media or processes to establish communication with customers. The goal of street marketing is to create experiences that engage the target demographic while meeting the expectations of the advertiser.[11] One technique is to place advertisements such as billboards and static ads in unexpected or random locations, such as down alleys or behind large buildings. Although the ad itself is conventional, the unexpected placement is intriguing and people may take an extra moment to ponder the ad.[11] Street marketing may also use brand ambassadors (typically of the target demographic) who give away samples and coupons to customers that stop and take time to answer questions. Giving customers a choice of interacting with the products makes a stronger impact on purchasing decisions.[11]

Street marketing can be used as a general term encompassing six principal types of activities:[1]

  • Distribution of flyers or products – this activity is more traditional and the most-common form of street marketing employed by brands.
  • Product animations – the redressing of a high-traffic space using brand imagery. The idea is to create a micro-universe in order to promote a new product or service.
  • Human animations – creating a space in which the brand's message is communicated through human activity.
  • Road shows – a mobile presentation, often using atypical transportation such as a taxibike, Segway, etc.
  • Uncovered actions – the customization of street elements.
  • Event actions – spectacles, such as flash mobs or contests. The idea is to promote a product, service or brand value through organization of a public event.

Before implementing a street-marketing plan, companies and their marketing firms should understand how they are perceived in the marketplace, how their products differ from those of competitors and what their most-appealing features are, and what markets they want to target. After identifying their target customers and where these people gather, specific goals for a street-marketing campaign can be established (Megan Phillips, 2015).

Campaign development[edit]

Public places for the campaign should be identified, such as beaches, cultural events, places close to schools,[5] sporting events and recreation centers for children.[12] Companies then develop a plan to attract different media and the target market.[5][13] Street marketing events involve unusual activities[2][3][5] and technology, in order to gain the attention of potential consumers.[14]

Plans should take into account global communication; the campaign interacts directly with the customers and media at the scene, and through them has the potential to reach a much wider audience.[5] They may also be developed to identify opportunities and collect information about products, markets and competitors.[15] To retain customers, strategies are implemented to prevent losing market position[16] and the street marketing campaign may be augmented with supplemental advertisement through other mediums, such as radio and television.[5]

A psychological approach should also be considered, exploiting customers' behavior and preferences. Almost all street marketing campaigns are based on repeating the messages spread among their customers; repetition affects the unconscious part of the mind that makes decisions, such as what to purchase. The more people paying attention to the campaign, the better the chance for the campaign to be remembered.


The majority of street marketing campaigns have been from small companies,[2] but large companies have also been involved.[17][18][19] Most of the examples put into action include costumed persons, the distribution of tickets, and people providing samples.[17][18]

Distribution of fliers can create awareness in consumers.[20] One example of this took place in Montpelier, Vermont, where the New England Culinary Institute (NECI) sent a group of students to a movie theater to hand out 400 fliers. Those fliers had coupons in which NECI invited people to its monthly theme dinners. Another company, Boston's Kung-Fu Tai Chi Club, chose the option of disseminating fliers to promote its self-defense classes for women.[21]

Other businesses apply the technique of sending disguised people to promote things on the streets. For example, a dating website organized a street marketing activity in the "Feria del Libro" ("Book Fair") in Madrid. It consisted of a man dressed as a prince who walked among the crowd looking for his "true love", and got some women to try on a glass slipper. A woman followed him distributing bookmarks with messages such as "Times have changed; the way to find love, too" with the website's address. In Madrid and Barcelona, a campaign called "Avestruz" ("Ostrich") used a group of life-sized ostrich puppets to interact with young people to promote mobile phones.[17]

There are enterprises that disseminate passes or tickets to concerts and other events sponsored by a company.[18] A more unusual example is a French fashion retailer which promoted a new store by distributing denims in the neighborhood.[17] An Italian campaign for a video game plastered the streets with Post-it Notes shaped like game characters.[19]

Some street marketing may incite the ire of local authorities, such as when an agency attached a styrofoam replica of a car to the side of a downtown building in Houston, Texas.[22] For the cost of a small city-issued fine, the company received front-page advertising in the Houston Chronicle.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Cova, Saucet, 2014, The secret lives of unconventional campaigns: Street marketing on the fringe, Journal of Marketing Communications, Volume 21, Issue 1, 2015, Special Issue: Ambient Marketing: Expanding the Concept of Marketing Communication for Transitional Times,
  2. ^ a b c d Levinson, Jay (1998). Guerrilla Marketing. New York, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. pp. 1–89. ISBN 978-0-395-90625-5.
  3. ^ a b "What is Guerrilla Marketing". 2010. Retrieved October 17, 2010.
  4. ^ Ambient Communication: How to Engage Consumers in Urban Touch-Points, Gambetti, Rossella C. 52/3 (Spring 2010): 34-51,
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Olamendi, G. "Street Marketing" (PDF). Retrieved October 12, 2010.
  6. ^ Gonzalez, R. (October 12, 2010). "Street marketing y field marketing. Estrategias en auge" [Street Marketing and field marketing] (in Spanish). Retrieved October 12, 2010.
  7. ^ Goldberg, Lena G.; Saucet, Marcel; Snively, Christine (6 November 2014). "Taryn Rose Launches Dresr: Street Marketing a Luxury Brand". Retrieved 7 November 2016 – via
  8. ^ "USA Book News Announces Winners and Finalists of the 2015 USA Best Book Awards". November 2015. Archived from the original on November 15, 2015.
  9. ^ Ay, Canan; Aytekin, Pinar; Nardali, Sinan. American Journal of Economics and Business Administration2.3(2010): 280-286. Retrieved from
  10. ^ a b Hutter, Katharina; Hoffmann, Stefan. Asian Journal of Marketing 5.2 (2011): 39. Retrieved from
  11. ^ a b c Balasubramanian, S., Peterson, R.A. and Jarvenpaa, S.L. (2002), "Exploring the implications of m‐commerce for markets and marketing", Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 348‐62. Retrieved from
  12. ^ Frey, D. (2002). "Street Marketing for Small Business". Retrieved October 12, 2010.
  13. ^ Berry, T. (10 December 1999). "Segment the Target Market in Your Business Plan". Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  14. ^ Franch, E. (January 2009). "La Creatividad de la publicidad exterior: teoría y práctica a partir de la visión de los creativos" [Creativity Theory]. Area Abierta (in Spanish) (22): 1–18.
  15. ^ Villa, C. (March 2010). "Tiempo de Mercadeo" [Marketing Time] (in Spanish). Retrieved October 15, 2010.
  16. ^ Tanda, J. D.; Marrero, M. "La identidad urbana vista como elemento estratégico del marketing de ciudades" [The urban identity as a strategic element of Marketing in Cities] (PDF) (in Spanish). Retrieved October 12, 2010.
  17. ^ a b c d Rodriguez, H. (2007). "Ejemplos de acciones de street marketing" [Examples of Street Marketing] (in Spanish). Retrieved October 12, 2010.
  18. ^ a b c Pereira, J. (2007). "Sobre el Street Marketing" [About Street Marketing] (in Spanish). Retrieved October 12, 2010.
  19. ^ a b Blocs, M. (19 April 2010). "MK de guerrilla con notas" [Guerrilla Marketing with post it] (in Spanish). Retrieved October 12, 2010.
  20. ^ Pixel, P. (2 October 2009). "Volanteo, Efectivo Metodo de Publicidad Segmentada y Economica" [Flyers: effective marketing method] (in Spanish). Leon, Guanajuato. Retrieved October 29, 2010.
  21. ^ Gibbons, V. B. (October 2010). Street marketing. ABI/INFORM Global. pp. 36–40.
  22. ^ "Houston Issues Ticket To A MINI Cooper Parked On A Wall". 10 January 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2016.

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