Trojan Mailing: Dhl Turns Competitors Into Walking Ads

Guerrilla Marketing


Ubiquitous delivery vans & drivers are a sure-fire sign that the holidays are here.

While it seems like an afterthought, uniforms & trucks are as much a part of the overall marketing strategy as TV & web ads. Vehicles & drivers act as mobile brand ambassadors, constantly reinforcing  slogans & company colors in the subconscious.

This clever campaign, cooked up by German agency Jung von Matt/Neck (JvM) took full advantage of that idea & flipped it on it’s head. Messages were printed on packages that were covered with thermoactive foil & cooled below freezing. Unsuspecting competing carriers then picked up what looked like plain black packages, only to have them ‘thaw out’ at room temperature & reveal their subversive messages when they were already in transit.

JvM intentionally used large, awkward packages with hard-to-find delivery destinations , forcing their rivals to haul them by hand through high-traffic areas for maximum exposure & reach. TNT, DPD & UPS couriers were inadvertently forced to act as big, mobile billboards for DHL.

Not only was this a viral-worthy stunt, it was also much cheaper & arguably reached even more people than a traditional advertising campaign.

While DHL definitely wound up on the Naughty list of a few competitors after the prank, the accolades from agencies across the globe was certainly worth it. Props to JvM for imagining & executing one of the most innovative marketing stunts in recent memory.


Time-lapse of the thermoactive tape getting darker as it cools.



TNT, UPS & DPD couriers made to carry the DHL ‘ads.’



One courier wised up to the trick & covered the message with tape.