Hotel Keys and Napkin Notes: Creeper or Marketing Genius?

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I don’t know what kind of mail you normally get at work, but it’s probably not that exciting. Besides the things I order on eBay, I usually receive a lot of generic direct mail pieces from marketers. Today, among the usual blah, there was something that caught my eye: something addressed by hand.

Envelop Image

When I tore into the envelope, my curiosity was peaked even further. Inside, there was a hotel room key and a napkin inviting me to a personalized website. And by personalized I mean the URL actually included my name!

Hotel Key Image

Ummm….. now what? Do I venture down the rabbit hole and go to the website? Do I look up the Crescent Bluffs resort address and try the hotel key in every door until I find the right one? (that’s the obvious answer, right?)

I decided to consult Google first.

It turns out the whole thing is part of a guerrilla marketing campaign by VLG Advertising. Their tagline is “we fight boredom,” and this campaign is certainly a testament to that. VLG creates interactive websites. When I finally gave in and went to mine (, I was taken on a quick journey where I used a virtual hotel key to get to a restaurant and choose my lunch. All of this was followed by a landing page asking for my email and phone number. I didn’t fill out the form (and still got a follow-up email within minutes), but it did make me think: are these people marketing geniuses or just over the top?

Their blog states that they sent out 26,000 of these envelopes, more than 5 thousand people visited the microsite, and 10% of those visitors became customers. They say the campaign has given them a 700% ROI over the past couple of years. 700 percent?!?! Who cares if they’re creepy? I think I’m ready to be creepy if it means an ROI like that. Now I’m pondering how something like this could work for us.

Have you tried guerrilla marketing efforts? And if so, what was your biggest success?

Looking for software? Check out Capterra's list of the best software solutions.

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About the Author


Besa Pinchotti

Besa Pinchotti is Marketing Director at Capterra. By day, she helps connect buyers and sellers of business software. By night, she uses her skills as a former journalist to tell the stories of troubled software buyers so the world can learn from their lessons.



Hi Rachel,

We can definitely help you with that. I’ve passed your information and requirements to our Buyer Advisor team, and they’ll be in touch shortly.

Good luck!


Hello Besa,
My name is Rachel the CEO of Learn Today save Lives Tomorrow which is a small independently owned nursing agency. I’m currently exploring various softwares. The software shoulb be able to access job orders, candidates, track applications, job postings, manage background checks and drug sgreenings, skills assessments, website integration, sales and marketing and so forth. I would like to be able to retrieve the information as soon as its posted via smartphone,email or fax.
If you have any suggestions can you please call me at 678-933-5820 or email me at your earliest convenience.
Thanks in advance

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