Pringles Is Possibly Running The Craziest Guerilla Marketing Campaign Ever

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It may be a lot of coincidences, but there’s been a lot of attention brought to the potato chip brand in the last couple weeks from some bizarre incidents.

“Guerilla Marketing” is a phenomenon that has been fairly popular since the phrase was popularized by the book of the same name published in 1984. Basically, a brand forgoes typically advertising and marketing methods and relies on unconventional means to get the attention of the public (flashmobs, stickers, viral videos, etc.).

For the most part, a brand will usually cop to being behind the tactic once it’s worked…especially if people have started to catch on. But there are also social phenomenon that have some of the indicators of being guerilla marketing, but no brand ever admits to it. One of the biggest was “icing”, which may have been completely organic…or may have been an ingenious way to get all the people who don’t like how Smirnoff Ice tastes (which is a large majority) and getting them to buy it to make their friends drink it.

If Smirnoff Icing was an intentional marketing ploy by the company, it’s likely one of the cleverest campaigns ever, as it created mass appeal to a relatively unappealing product. It’s also likely still working, so there’s little reason for Smirnoff to pop up and shout “GOTCHA!!!” if this was their plan all along.

Is Pringles operating a viral marketing campaign?

Back about two weeks ago (Friday, January 11), the online news syndicates were saved from another boring news day of government shutdown stories by reports that a Wichita Falls, TX woman who had been banned from her local Wal-Mart after she had driven through the parking lot on an electric cart while chugging wine out of a Pringles can at 6:30 am.

At first, we were just a little surprised that the story hadn’t actually taken place in Florida…because Florida…but it didn’t really hit us as that remarkable a story. The woman in question didn’t even get arrested. Police found her in a restaurant and relayed the message that she was banned from the Wal-Mart. (Important note: As she wasn’t arrested or charged, there’s no official record with her name on it, at least that we’ve seen. The news media has no means to follow up with the woman…assuming she does, in fact, exist.)

However, the Internet got a hold of it and soon every major online news company was posting their own version of the story. Okay, we’ve been there. The “journalists” out there are always looking for content and can’t resist low-hanging fruit like that.

Soon the writers of what can only be described as the Basic Bitch columns of food and wine publications like Delish and…uh…Food & Wine…went absolutely nuts over this story, coming up with their own (somewhat) creative angles on the story.

Food & Wine provides tasting notes on drinking wine from a Pringle’s Can. Specifically Graffigna 2016 Malbec from an emptied can of Pringles Wavy Fire Roasted Jalapeno chips. Well, not really tasting notes so much as the knowledge that it can be done and it’s not completely disgusting.

My Recipes went a more interesting route to provide pairing recommendations for numerous flavors of Pringles. They also embedded a Tweet from The Late Show of Stephen Colbert drinking wine from a Pringles can, which provides a bit of a reminder that Pringles got an insane amount of media exposure out of this. (Which starts our marketing senses tingling.)

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