Friends of Cancer Patients, a nonprofit organization in the United Arab Emirates, asked ad agency JWT to help them raise awareness of the dangers of skin cancer. So, they used guerrilla marketing to attack the problem where it lives: on the beach.
JWT didn’t use a subtle approach. They gave away 300 free beach towels…shaped like black coffins. Some were displayed on the beach, some handed directly to beachgoers. Printed on each was the message, “Overexposure to the sun causes skin cancer, killing 20 people every day. Protect yourself.”
Sunbathers were shocked—but also motivated. After reading the message on the towel, many requested the free sunscreen the promoters were giving out.
Why we love it
The whole point of guerrilla marketing is to be bold. While some may question whether coffin-shaped towels are in good taste, the shock value garnered Friends of Cancer Patients a lot of media attention for their cause, a lot more than they would have received for merely handing out sunscreen or ordinary beach towels. When you’re trying to save people’s lives, subtle doesn’t cut it.
The giveaway also took advantage of a basic fact of human nature: We love free stuff. Who’s going to turn down a free beach towel? Even better, the giveaway happened just as beachgoers were about to engage in the high-risk behavior the nonprofit wanted to prevent.
This creative guerrilla marketing idea proved that a little dark humor can go a long way to shine light on a worthy cause.
This is post #8 in our blog series: 10 Examples of Wildly Creative Guerrilla Marketing.