We here at the Londonist are never averse to a bit of guerrilla marketing, provided it's done cleverly and unobtrusively. It warms our hipster hearts to see giant, faceless advertising firms reaching out to Da Kidz through subversive (and occasionally subliminal) means.
However, we find that, in general, it helps if your target audience has not seen you go through the entire agonising creative process you used to gin up your campaign. It tends to undercut the "street cred" factor somewhat - which is why Londonist is watching the inexorable spread of the Sagatiba cachaça "Jesus Man" stencil across the streets of London with some interest, and a bit of concern.
Some of our readers may recall a recent BBC2 doc called "Inside Saatchi & Saatchi" in which they followed a creative team pitching for the business of Sagatiba, who wanted to market their cachaça liquor outside Brazil. We got to see all the trials and tribulations of the creative back-and-forth within Saatchis and between them and the Sagatiba folks.
Full credit to Saatchis for coming up with the idea to appropriate Brazil's most famous image for the product: the giant Jesus statue overlooking Rio. Sagatiba bought it hook, line and sinker, the media cogs starting turning, and presto chango the new Sagatiba campaign spewed forth some shots of a rather beanpole-like gent with arms outstretched in various "contemporary" scenarios - in a limo, at the club, etc.
It was a rather striking image, to be fair, which is why it's been rather hard to ignore that quite a few stencils of the Jesus guy have been appearing all over London streets as of late, in an obvious effort to seed the image in our minds in preparation for the all-out print assault to come. We're not sure the buzz will build so easily since anyone who's seen the doc knows what it took to create the image. The Man Behind The Curtain has been revealed: he drives a Jag and eats sushi.
Over on our Londonist Flickr group, the honour of capturing the first picture of the Jesus Man Stencil "in the wild" falls to Grass - good work my son. We have no doubt there will be more stencils appearing on Flickr in the near future.
However, the rate at which they are appearing on our streets has us a mite concerned that overexposure could follow (viz. the Mylo campaign) and the inevitable backlash could kick in. At what point does "guerrilla" become "bloody irritating"?