As a few warm days remind us that spring may not be too far away, it may be time to add plans for a street stenciling campaign. The eco-friendly promotions can add a spark to online contests, point the way to in-store campaigns or announce a new musical CD. Add some addition power by teaming the stencils with street reps that can hand out coupons or other promotional materials. This unexpected encounter is very interactive with consumers and it’s usually a low-cost solution that yields high-impact and results. Soap.com and Diaper.com caught attention last fall with brand reps dressed in cardboard boxes. Check out these five reasons to use guerilla marketing while sampling.
Andrew Loos, a co-founder and managing partner at Attack Marketing and Promotions, offers six tips for successful street stenciling.
1. Always Public. Never Private. Street Stenciling thrives in highly visible, heavy trafficked public areas. It’s crucial that agencies know where these accessible, effective, “street-friendly” areas are located. Know the difference between public and private properties for each market you’ve targeted to lay down street stencils.
Within every market, there are neighborhoods and districts that view guerrilla marketing as artistic expressions, not corporate annoyance. While stenciling is “tolerated” by most law enforcement in public asphalted areas, laying down messaging on someone’s property can garnish fines, infractions, or bad publicity.
Good public examples are sidewalks surrounding busy intersections, parameters around public transportation stops, and pedestrian walkways. Examples of private properties to avoid are parking lots, store entrances, and private walkways/driveways.
2. Chalk It Up. Always use water soluble chalk to fill-in stencils and never substitute with spray paint. “Spray chalk” is available at most hardware stores and provides the same vividness of paint. Find spray brands that apply evenly and clean up easier. But most importantly, test your spray chalk before your event.
Typical chalk stencils have a lifespan of 2-4 weeks, depending on weather (rain being the most obvious nemesis) and the amount of foot traffic. If needed, stencils can be easily removed with environmentally safe cleaners.
3. Lay it on: Stencils. Lightweight Mylar is the most user-friendly stencil material. Easy-to-clean and flexible to roll-up and carry for street reps.
The goal of a street stencil is to impact powerfully in short bursts. Keep your stencil design graphic-heavy and text-light. The message should command attention from 15 feet away or more (we recommend 2 – 4 feet diameter). To prevent running orbleeding, keep the design to two colors or less, and never make it overly intricate in shape.
4. Tools for the Task Small Foam Brush – Quickly touch up hard-to-fill borders or edges. Use on small areas within a multi-colored design.
Strong Multi-Surface Tape –Grab gaffers tape if you can, it sticks to just about anything and holds stencils in place while using spray chalk.
Liquid Oil Soap + Bottle of Water + Scrub Brush – Sometimes, teams must remove stencils. With these three materials, you’ll be able to completely erase stencils in less than two minutes.
5. Design a Perfect Stencil You want stencils to be clean and clear of errors. Know exactly how it should look and how to achieve it. Not only will you capture superior stencil designs, but also first-hand knowledge allows you to train teams effectively.
6. Do a test run. Twice. Apply spray chalk on dry, clean surfaces. Lightly spray two even coats of spray chalk. Touch-up the design with a foam brush.
Andrew Loos is a co-founder and managing partner at Attack Marketing and Promotions. He can be reached at email@example.com.