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Beethoven Goes Guerilla


Guest articles > Beethoven Goes Guerilla


by: Diana Pohly


Case study: a guerilla marketing campaign well executed

Are you thinking about launching a guerilla marketing campaign? If so, you can learn a lot from “Beethoven Awareness Month,” a guerilla marketing program just run by WQXR, the classical music radio station in New York. From day one through completion, the campaign was very well planned and executed. Here are some of the reasons behind its success:

There were three clear goals. WQXR wanted to: attract more radio listeners; get more people to use its website audio stream; and promote its new classical music app for iPhones. Clear objectives like these are the foundation for effective marketing, guerilla or not.

WQXR brought in experts. The station hired Eyeball, a marketing agency that specializes in brand-building. Eyeball had previously managed branding campaigns for Amazon, Country Music Television, and Target.

Beethoven Awareness Month got a great launch. During a Monday-morning rush hour, a live string quartet played Beethoven in Grand Central Station and a WQXR announcer applied free removable Beethoven tattoos to commuters. (Until he got his tattoo, one commuter thought that Beethoven was “that movie about the big dog.”)

WQXR kept adding new events and happenings to the mix. Some of them included:

  • A WQXR-branded “Beethoven and Schnitzel” truck parked outside station headquarters every Monday. While pedestrians lined up for free schnitzel, Beethoven blared from speakers.
  • A “Where’s Beethoven” contest. On its website, the station posted daily photos of a plaster bust of Beethoven that traveled to different locations around New York. Listeners who could identify the locations were entered into a contest. And they could get daily hints about the location on WQXR’s Facebook page. That’s nice integration of social media.
  • There were Beethoven concerts in the station’s live performance space. For tickets, listeners had to sign up on the WQXR website and enter their contact information.
  • New contests were launched through the month. One offered website visitors a chance to win a recording of Beethoven’s complete works on 86 CDs.
  • A special all-Beethoven audio stream was available on WQXR’s website for the entire month. The idea behind it was to bring attention to the station’s regular online audio stream.
  • The station declared Thanksgiving an “all-Beethoven day” and played his music exclusively.

The most important lesson of “Beethoven Awareness Month” is that guerilla campaigns only appear to be unstructured and spontaneous. While creative, they are really built on clear goals, careful planning, and great execution.


Diana Pohly is the founder and president of, an online resource for owners of small and emerging businesses. With decades of experience working with world-class clients like Coca-Cola, Whole Foods, Continental Airlines, and Fidelity Investments, she is a recognized business leader who was named one of "America's Best Bosses" by Fortune Small Business. Featured in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Folio, AdWeek, and on the CBS Early Show, Diana is a proven expert in the field of marketing.

Contributor: Diana Pohly

Published here on: 23-Dec-11

Classification: PR


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