Guerilla Marketing Makes Me Thirsty

November 9th, 2007   |   by Frank Addante

I know it’s been a couple of weeks since my last post. Things have been going absolutely crazy for us over here at the Rubicon Project. We’ve been bringing more and more users live onto our system daily and trying to grow the team to keep up with the increasing demand (more on that later).

We just got back from ad:tech NY. As I mentioned before, we launched our beta much earlier than we expected. So, we didn’t have any plans to attend ad:tech. With all of the much appreciated attention we have been getting, we felt that we needed to be at the show to connect with our beta publishers and ad network partners. We couldn’t get a booth together in time, so we had to get creative. We had only two weeks to plan something.

We had a one hour brainstorming session. Our objectives were: a) reach as many people as possible b) convey the personality of our company culture and c) keep it simple.

So, we came up with two things. First, pass out Rubicon Project-branded water bottles and second, throw a great party. That’s exactly what we did.

We took a crew of 10 people out to ad:tech and hand delivered 3,000 water bottles to people entering the hotel for the show. Initially, some suggested that we should hire people to pass out the bottles. We decided that we should do it ourselves. I am so glad that we did. It was great — we connected with so many people. And, those people carried around our water bottles around the entire show for hours. Our team was so excited to personally meet so many of our website publishers/users and ad network partners. Communication is so important to us, the only way to do it in our mind was for all of us to do it personally. People loved it (especially those who were hung-over from the ad:tech parties!).

It was practical, it was simple. We wanted to cut through all the clutter. We dressed up in Rubicon Project gear (black hooded sweatshirts and shirts) that had a simple message on the back, which matched the message on the bottle: “Make Mad Cash From Ads on Your Website”. It mirrored our philosophy of keeping things simple.

On Tuesday night, we threw a big party at one of the hottest spots in Chelsea called Room Service. We kept that simple as well. It was an invite-only event: high quality people and high quality fun. We had an open bar and one of the best DJ’s I’ve ever heard, his name is DJ Reach [website | MySpace page], a celebrity DJ. (I loved the name by the way given the reference to advertising “reach”) The party was so much fun, for our team and for all of our guests. We had over 600 RSVPs, so we were a little worried about it getting too crowded, but it worked out great. Again, we kept it simple: great people, great music, drinks and we even had food passed around at midnight for those with the munchies.

All in all, I couldn’t have expected any better. I was skeptical that our team could pull off all of this planning (from branded water bottles, to invitations, to the Rubicon Project clothing to the party itself) in only 2 weeks time, and do it with top-notch quality. But they did it, the team’s ability to execute continues to amaze me!

The show itself was fantastic, I heard rumor that there were 19,000 people there. I think it’s a sign of all of the excitement and growth in the industry. I love the online advertising business, it’s so much fun!

I learned a great lesson about guerrilla marketing, do it yourself — there is no substitute for connecting with people, personally.

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