When fashion designer Kenneth Cole launched his company in 1982, he couldn’t afford to rent a booth at the Market Week trade show in New York. He wanted to set up a trailer on the street, to hawk his shoes to the corporate buyers inside the Hilton New York Hotel and stand out from the 1,100 other shoe vendors.
When Cole went to the city to get a permit, the Mayor’s office said only two companies can park trailers on the street: utility companies…and film production companies.
He promptly changed his company’s name to Kenneth Cole Productions, applied for and received a film permit, and set up his 40-foot “movie” trailer across the street from the Midtown convention hotel. To the complete the scene, he had actors, cameras, and klieg lights for filming The Birth of a Shoe Company.
His guerilla marketing tactic worked–he sold 40,000 pairs of shoes in less than four days and jump-started his company’s success. And 28 years later, his company is still called Kenneth Cole Productions, which “serves as a reminder to the importance of resourcefulness and innovative problem solving.”
What’s your favorite guerrilla marketing story?