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Redbird Heist? Or Good Guerilla Marketing?

By Rich Campbell

Who is to say that one of the giants in sport business does not need more brand attention? A local advertising agency, Schupp Co in St. Louis has helped Cardinals with a great caper kicking off the 2006 Season – Redbird heist.

A person calling himself the Bird Napper stole two Birds on the Bat from a local billboard in downtown St. Louis and carried the large Cardinals cutouts Redbird across St. Louis downtown.  He finally showed up at St. Louis Post-Dispatch at 4:30 on Wednesday. The local TV media and St. Louis Post Dispatch all picked up the story.  Here is a quote from the stltoday.com:

Then, a break in the case. Bird Napper had the birds, and he would prove it on Tucker Boulevard downtown in front of the Post-Dispatch at 4:30, he e-mailed.

Right on the dot, two people ran down the street carrying large Cardinal cutouts. They waved, hopped into a sport utility vehicle - with view of the license plate obstructed - and took off.

By the afternoon, Dan Farrell, the Cardinals senior vice president of sales and marketing, conceded - a bit. He said that the missing Cardinals "were not acts of theft or vandalism, as far as we know."

Schupp finally confessed.

"Our goal was to create an advertising campaign outside the norm for our client," he said. "We did not approach the media with this story and frankly wanted to avoid the media until the campaign had unfolded."

That, by the way, won't happen until Wednesday. Or so he said.

Today, (Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006) more news out of the Cardinals camp about stolen birds.  This time the birds that were stolen were from the uniforms of several players.

Guerilla Marketing is all about doing things differently and trying to generate a buzz. This campaign did it.  Kudos to Schupp and the Cardinals for trying something different.

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