“Despite an optimistic outlook from marketers in 2020, marketing budgets as a percentage of company revenue fell from 11% to 6.4%,” says The State of Marketing 2021 survey by Gartner. As marketing budgets fall, there’s little wiggle room to include marketing strategies that produce poor ROIs. Marketers are now looking to go after the most cost-effective strategies that give tangible results. Digital marketing is all the rage, but marketing with creativity can put you at an advantage without spending a fortune. Let’s talk about the leader of the low-cost advertising pack – sticker marketing.
Sticker marketing involves communicating a brand’s story and value prop, product, service, or idea using sticky graphics like stickers and labels. Brands use stickers to communicate and build relationships through design that invokes, reminds, or directs their target audience, consequently driving up their sales.
To implement sticker marketing campaigns, you can get support from specialized agencies. For instance, you can personalise and print custom stickers using Helloprint or any other service provider. Find the one that works best for you – most importantly, get the idea and concept right first.
Following are some of the best sticker marketing campaigns to draw inspiration from.
10 Most Successful Sticker Marketing Campaigns of All Times
Marketers look at sticker marketing as small-business-only gameplay that’s too mellow for big brands. The view is quickly changing with bigger brands capitalizing on this low-cost advertising option. In the following we look more closely at some brands that launched sticker marketing campaigns, and won.
1. Batman Begins
One of the most memorable sticker marketing campaigns is the one by TV2 for the launch of Batman Begins. It was a simple idea, but effective enough to draw attention from the entire world.
In 2007, TV2 created Batman logo stickers and started to roam the streets of Auckland, New Zealand. They started putting stickers on footpath lights. During the day, the stickers looked just like any other sticker placed for some plain-vanilla marketing. As the sun set, and the lights turned on, it was a whole different story. As people walked past, the beam of light drew people’s attention, and they noticed the bat logo sitting right in the middle. Cool, eh?
Reddit is now worth $10 billion. The company has come a long way from when it had a measly $500 advertising budget. Like a lot of other companies, Reddit had a humble beginning. With its small advertising budget, its advertising options were limited.
Guess what Reddit chose? Stickers.
Reddit founders printed stickers and started placing them all around town and wherever they traveled. They spent every last penny of those $500 on stickers. They’d hand the stickers out at events, or just to random people on the street and say, “please sticker responsibly.”
The sticker campaign isn’t the only campaign that made Reddit what it is today. But it was a powerful campaign on a shoestring budget that led to a more comprehensive marketing campaign.
3. Wilkinson Quattro Titanium
Wilkinson advertised their razor using stickers by putting clean-shaved faces on eggs. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, the stickers looked wholesome, to say the least.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) set out to communicate a very strong message. However, they decided to do it a little differently to make it more relatable. This time, they went with stickers.
UNICEF wanted to help people understand the importance of helping other countries, but to make the process more engaging, they camouflaged stickers on the ground… adhesive side up. Basically, they planted the stickers so they’d stick to someone’s shoe.
How does this help?
Well, when the person tries to remove the sticker, they’ll see a picture of a landmine on the non-adhesive side. This represents UNICEF’s message that in some other countries, the person could have been dead.
5. Folgers Coffee
Manhole coffee, anyone?
The Folgers Coffee marketing team let their creativity rip with coffee stickers designed for manholes. The brand aimed to capitalize on the steam that blows through manholes, making it look as though it’s a steaming hot cup of coffee on the street.
The sticker was a top-view of a coffee mug, with holes to let the steam out. The entertaining piece of advertisement delighted NYC’s pedestrians as they walked past this refreshing imagery.
Another shaving company on the list, Gillette took a different approach to using stickers for marketing. They printed tiny stickers with a blood spot at its center. When seen close up, they looked like a tissue with a bloodstain.
So, why is Gillette running around with blood-stained tissue stickers?
Well, Gillette wanted to capitalize on their competitors’ advertising spend. Why pay for billboards when your competitors have paid for some already?
Gillette went around Manhattan putting these stickers on competitors’ ads. They placed it on the model’s face to make it look as though the person had cut themselves while shaving, suggesting it’s time to switch to Gillette.
Of course, they did their due diligence and requested permission from the marketers before putting the stickers. But the idea worked and it immediately triggered chatter about Gillette’s little adventure.
Pedigree’s sticker marketing campaign helped people make a decision—people love an easy choice. The brand created stickers of its food and placed them right in front of superstores. To encourage dogs further, they sprayed some essence on the sticker.
When dog owners walked by the sticker with their dogs, the inviting smell and a delicious-looking sticker caught the dog’s attention. The owner can now skip the guesswork because they know exactly what their dog will love.
8. Cillit BANG
Cillit BANG’s campaign in Germany managed to dazzle its buyers with change money. Let’s talk about how.
Cillit BANG is a cleaner, so the brand decided to show its cleaning prowess in a rather creative way. Whenever someone purchased Cillit BANG, they’d be handed 5 cent coins as change.
Half the coin had been cleaned using Cillit BANG, with the other half still dirty. On the rear, was a transparent sticker.
The campaign lifted the product’s sales by 337%. Now that’s the kind of ROI you can get with sticker marketing.
9. Elmex Toothpaste
The toothpaste brand used sticker marketing to remind bowlers how not having holes in a bowling ball can be just as annoying as having holes in their teeth.
Elmex toothpaste got a few local bowling alleys on board for distributing custom-made bowls that didn’t have any holes. The ball had three stickers in place of holes. Two stickers had the text: “helps prevent” and “cavities,” and the third one had a picture of the Elmex toothpaste.
10. Pert Plus Shampoo
Ever marketed using a public restroom? Well, Pert Plus Shampoo has.
Specifically, Pert Plus used the sinks in public restrooms for planting their witty stickers. This was the brand’s attempt to outshine six other competitors that also claimed to reduce hair fall.
Pert Plus placed a transparent sticker near the sink’s plug. The sticker resembled a hair strand curled to form the shape of a human hand grabbing the sink’s surface so it doesn’t get washed down.
The design was targeted to Pert Plus’s young target audience, and it went swimmingly. Why wouldn’t it—take a look at the sticker:
Choose Value-Driven Sticker Marketing
Sticker marketing is a level playing field. In most cases, smaller brands have the flexibility to match a bigger brand’s campaign budget. What sets a campaign apart is how effective it is in evoking an emotion while communicating a product’s value.
Just showing a product and asking for money won’t cut it. Unless people see the benefit of putting money into something, they won’t reach for their wallet. When using stickers to market a product, aim to leave people intrigued while communicating the value that the product offers.
Think of it as a combination of top-notch creativity and efficient communication. Creativity leaves people thinking, piques their curiosity, and leaves an impression. Efficient communication ensures that people who look at the sticker are able to discern the benefit that comes along with buying a product.
Ready to Print?
Sticker marketing is perfect for marketers struggling to look for low-cost advertising options. As long as there’s a good mix of creativity and messaging, sticker marketing can be a very effective way of boosting a product’s sales.
Of course, other factors matter too. The stickers need to be positioned in a strategic territory that’s relevant to the product (for instance, a storefront for Pedigree stickers, or a sink for Pert Plus shampoo stickers). They also need to be planted somewhere where the product’s target audience can see it.
Getting these fundamentals right can reap plenty of benefits for marketers without having to break the bank. Strategize, design, and prepare ROI figures for takeoff.