For small businesses with local storefronts, it only makes sense to have a marketing plan that’s locally focused. Go for those national clients later. But large companies and those who do most of their business online can benefit from catering to local populations as well. Doesn’t it make you feel a little bit special when big-name brands acknowledge your state or even your city? It’s not hard to capitalize on that hometown pride. And if you do it right, it can be an incredibly successful campaign.
Even if you’re not a huge company with a giant marketing budget, there are ways that you can engage the local population with innovative displays that engage people walking by. People are inundated by the same dull ads day after day, so if you can come up with something different that uses everyday objects and spaces that are normally ignored, it tends to be a hit.
As proof, here are five local advertising campaigns, launched by companies big and small, local and international, that have caught our attention.
#1: Nationwide Insurance – “Life Comes At You Fast” Billboard
The Nationwide Insurance company is well known for its widespread “Life Comes At You Fast” ad series, showing all the ways in which (hilariously) terrible things can happen to your car, home, and other possessions. In 2007, they decided to go local by purchasing ad space on three adjacent billboards mounted to the Atlas Building in Columbus, Ohio, where Nationwide’s national headquarters is located. They then painted the bottom of the building and the parking lot below, plus a couple of (hopefully prop) cars, to make it look like the paint from the overturned can on the billboard above had spilled everywhere.
Nationwide Insurance: Proving that quirky street art isn’t just for hippies.
#2: 96.3 Rock Radio – Free Air Guitars
To help bring attention to the launch of a new local radio station in Indiana, 96.3 set up a couple empty guitar racks under a small billboard that read “FREE AIR GUITAR. PLEASE TAKE ONE.”
Simple, funny, and low budget. With hundreds of people walking past it every day. They could have been just another rock radio station in a large crowd of rock radio stations, and now their image will pop up in articles like this again and again for years.
#3: Pemco Insurance – “Northwest Profiles”
If you’re one of our local clients, you’ve heard of Pemco. This insurance company serves the people of the Pacific Northwest and has won itself a lot of brand loyalty by tapping into that local pride we mentioned earlier. Their Northwest Profiles ad campaign celebrates a different kind of northwesterner with every commercial, declaring with their iconic tagline, “We’re just like you – a little different.” From “Goat Renter Guy” to “First Snowflake Freakout Lady,” Pemco capitalizes on common local quirks and inside jokes. They do it so well that it’s hard not to feel like they’re one of us.
This ad campaign has been so successful that they’ve received several local awards for it, including “Best Announcer” and “Best in Show” at the Soundies.
#4: Vijay Sales – “Need a New Barbecue?” Street Art
This is another example of amazingly simple local street art created by a small appliance and electronics company. Not only does it catch attention, it does a lot to convince someone to buy a new grill if theirs looks anything like a steel grating covering sewer drains. They may have ruined a few appetites, but I’m guessing they sold plenty of barbecue grills after this.
#5: Skittles – Seattle Mix Skittles & Seahawks Deal
Yes, we are still talking about the Seahawks. Unless you were in or around Seattle leading up to the Super Bowl of 2014, you don’t understand how successful Skittles was in this town after they partnered up with running back Marshawn Lynch. After learning that Lynch had a life-long affection for Skittles and a habit of eating them during the game, the candy company jumped at the chance to promote themselves with the help of Lynch’s growing popularity.
Seahawks fans ate it up. Literally. You could not find Skittles in any grocery store the night before a game. Skittles even went so far as to create the limited edition Seattle Mix packages that contained candies in Seahawks colors. These were awarded to fans in special giveaways during the week leading up to the big game. You can now find them on eBay, going for $75-100 for a single pack.
Have you ever stumbled upon a cool local ad campaign? Thought of one yourself? Share with us! We swear we won’t steal your ideas.