DHL’s Trojan Mailing
As designers we are thought to “think outside the box,” a metaphor that means to think differently, unconventionally, or from a new perspective. This phrase often refers to novel or creative thinking. I am writing, however, about a very literal box that exemplifies this “novel way of thinking” through a very clever idea that applies a strategy developed by the Greeks c. 1200 BC – “The Trojan Horse,” the subterfuge that the Greeks used to enter the city of Troy and win the Trojan War.
DHL is a package delivery company that is a leader in the logistics field in many countries within Europe, they state that they have more locations and trucks that many of their competitors and stand behind their tagline “DHL IS FASTER.” Using the Trojan Horse strategy, they devised a guerrilla campaign to get their competitors to advertise for them; supposedly, “to save money on an ad campaign,” as they cheekily remark on their video. They created giant packages, covered them with thermo-active foil and cooled them down below the freezing point – the result: innocuous black packages which were picked up
by their competitors. The packages turned back to their original color at temperatures above freezing, thus creating a situation in which competitors delivered giant ads for them to addresses in the city that “were not that easy to find.”
DHL’s “Trojan Mailing” Video Campaign is a very clever example of Guerilla Advertising, of “trolling” (to make a deliberately provocative online posting with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them), of divergent thinking, and of innovative communication. It has been well received online because viewers appreciate the cleverness of it all above the “dirtiness” of the tactic.