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Ex-All Black goes guerilla


Ex-All Black goes guerilla


New Zealand’s incursion of “pure” products in to Australian markets looks set to continue, with Charlie’s Honest Drinks Company ramping up its marketing plan.

Playing in a similar space to Nudie juices, Charlie’s Juices started up in New Zealand over ten years ago but have pretty recently realised there are big growth opportunities in Australia.

“Australia has a very mature juice market,” Charlie’s co-founder Marc Ellis tells Marketing magazine. “It’s a huge market so we want to be there and, hopefully, play with the big boys.”

To get a bigger slice of the market, however, Charlie’s will have to make a small budget stretch. It’s a situation Ellis is very familiar with.

Since retiring from professional rugby, Ellis has developed a passion for guerrilla marketing.

“We set Charlies up in 1999, just three young guys, we couldn’t compete with the big guys. We’ve always had small budgets so we’ve got to make them sing. When you don’t have big budgets you’ve got to think outside the square to get people talking.”

Ellis’ favourite guerrilla effort was for a company called Mintshot, for whom he was the director of marketing, when he made the long extinct volcano Mt. Rangitoto in New Zealand “erupt” (video below).

“We took 600 kilos of fertiliser to the top and exploded it,” he tells Marketing magazine.

Ellis says the stunt got about $1 million worth of media coverage and a lot of outrage, all from a tiny budget.

“There’s always the PC brigade ready to complain about anything and we need them. The fact that they are so predictable is great, they play their part.”

Even though the budget was small, there was a lot of preparation, and Ellis reckons guerrilla marketers should probably get a bit more respect.

“The thing with these guerrilla marketing efforts is it always looks like a bunch of halfwits doing it, but we consider so much. We planned for 6-8 months before the volcano explosion, worked through so many issues. There were lawsuit possibilities. If someone had a heart attack while driving, could we be responsible? There were a lot of considerations.”

The newest marketing effort out of the Ellis camp is for Charlie’s Honest Drinks, and while it is a little toned down from previous efforts, it changes up a little from ordinary product handouts.

The Honest Drinks Company will dispatch teams of fruit mascots to the streets of Melbournes CBD to deliver free bottles of its ‘old-fashioned lemonade quencher’ and fruit smoothies to workers who request it on Facebook or Twitter. Focusing on two cross-streets per day, the giveaway will move across the city over the week.

“Originally we thought about delivering our Honest fruity drinks in the nude, but last time we did that no one took any notice – and our marketing manager got accosted by a Police dog.” Ellis said. “So this time we’re sending out teams of giant bottles and fruit to deliver Charlie’s Honest fruity goodnessness to the tired and rundown workers in Melbourne’s CBD.”

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