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Hijack Marketing 101

By May 18, 2017Article

When M.R. Rangaswami asked me to do an article on “crazy” marketing ideas that actually work, the word “hijack” immediately came to mind.  If you’re looking to hijack your customer’s attention, read on for a few unconventional offline and online marketing ideas with a proven track record of success. 

Offline Hijacking

Back in the old days when I’d spend one or two afternoons a week with my client, Larry Ellison, we would “hijack” the tech business news cycle by running an Oracle ad on the front page of one of the IT trade weeklies and making it look a lot like editorial content. Eventually, the industry got wise to us and insisted the word “Advertisement” be placed prominently on such front pagers. Later, my client Marc Benioff let me attack Siebel for with similar guerilla marketing tactics.

Larry Ellison is still using these tactics to get Oracle’s message out to people who count – on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. For a measly $110,000, you can too! Place an ad on the front page of the WSJ, link to a well-done Internet landing page, reach the highest-level purchase influencers, and realize your hijack marketing potential overnight.

Recently, I’ve taken to hijacking trade shows – well, the trade shows of my client’s major competitors. When Symantec held a trade show in San Francisco, I created a full-page ad for BIGFIX in the local edition of USA Today. I don’t think it is a coincidence that IBM acquired BIGFIX a couple months later.

And then there was my hijacking of Akamai’s annual user meeting in Miami for my client, Instart Logic. Did you ever think that you can reach 100% of an event’s attendees arriving by plane with just two banner ads atop the escalators going to baggage claim and ground transportation?  

Online Hijacking

Some fairly robust technology exists today that allows you to hijack the web site of your competitor. For less than $200, you can buy a green-screen setup and shoot a video of yourself, which you can then drop onto any website you want – like the video of me that played when you landed on this page.  Your producer need only put a few lines of HTML code onto the site.

Or suppose you want to hijack the page for your own marketing purposes? Go to and reserve your own Sand Hill link as if you are a competitor and want to make your own point against a backdrop of their messages. You can then point to their site on your own Web page or guerrilla warfare email. See how it works by clicking here and watching my video on SandHill’s homepage.   

Naturally, you can also host your own competition-mocking domain, like I did with  That site went viral and still lives today.

It’s important to realize that you now have a full production movie studio on your desktop. With the new on-demand video technology and tools like FinalCutPro, your marketing guerrilla warfare can soar to new heights.

Video advertising on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google and YouTube can out-pull static ads or even animated GIF images by 10-to-1. And your ability to micro-target an audience is almost eerie. Here are two video ads that took less than a day to create and render:

  1. A promotion for the upcoming DataPlatforms2017 event.
  2. A promotion for Qubole’s webinar on Oracle’s Bare Metal Cloud

What are you waiting for? Hijack your competitor’s business. Today.


Rick Bennett is the one-man ad agency that took Larry Ellison and Oracle from $15 million to $1 billion in annual revenue. He also created Marc Benioff’s pre-IPO ads attacking Siebel for He lives on a mountain in Utah where he dreams up crazy stuff for his Silicon Valley clients. His work can be found at, and he can be contacted at

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