I hate to love the guys at GoldenPalace.com, a $10-million a day online gambling site, and not just because I stink at Texas Hold ‘Em. I hate to love them more as an experiential marketer, which (ahem) I think I’m pretty good at. I hate them because they have cornered the market on stupid marketing gimmicks, and in doing so, have become some of the best guerrilla marketers in the world.
I’m not alone in my panegyric to GoldenPalace.com and their form of guerrilla marketing. The press in North America, and to an even larger extent in Europe, is increasingly giving coverage to guerrilla campaigns conducted by both large multinationals and nimble boutiques like them.
The company first garnered attention when the site slathered their URL on a B-list porn star and paid her to streak topless across the 11th hole in the final round of the US Open. The resulting PR was impressive, as sports hacks repeatedly wrote of golfer (and tourney winner) Jim Furyk’s surprise at finding himself in the lascivious embrace of mammary marketing.
This is the company that spent $28,000 on eBay for a grilled cheese sandwich the looks like the Virgin Mary, and in doing so, got millions of dollars worth of buzz. The casino doubled-up when a guy in a purple tutu and GoldenPalace.com painted on his chest jumped into the Olympic pool in Athens. They’ve paid people $10,000 to tattoo their URL on their heads.
Again, lots of buzz, lots of press calling their form of guerrilla marketing as “breakthrough” and “daring.” Now, the company has taken Seth Godin’s “purple cow” philosophy to its ultimate conclusion: they have painted cows purple. Real cows. A whole herd of them. In Florida. Then they painted the URL on them for good measure.
What really impresses me, and what gets me to hate to love GoldenPalace.com, is the fact that the guys behind the stunt convinced PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to support the campaign. That’s right. The organization that throws red paint on celebrities wearing fur or leather acquiesced to an off-shore casino to throw purple paint on the real thing — namely, a cow! PETA’s docility was ensured after GP agreed to write “Go Veg!” on some cows, in a grand gesture to PETA’s stance on vegetarianism. Better to paint the cows than eat the cows, the thinking goes.
If you want to check out the cows, you can take exit 210 off I-75 going south from Tampa. The cows are located 2.3 miles east of I-75 on Fruitville Rd. in Sarasota, FL. They will be on display for several weeks.
But if you want to pursue guerrilla marketing tactics and strategies, I suggest you look elsewhere. This is not guerrilla marketing. This is terrorist marketing, folks. Terrorist marketing seeks air-time. It is parasitic and base. It is indiscriminate, impersonal and ineffective. If there’s a lack of audacity to terrorism, there’s usually plenty of shock-value.
After a few such assaults make the front pages — and after enough pundits decry the moral decrepitude of our social fabric while an equal-strength of marketing execs dictate the need to be “edgy” — terrorist campaigns will calcify the consumer into a mistrustful and even negative reactionary force to creative marketing.