Trial By Fire Guerrilla Marketing

Trial By Fire is a new show on the History Channel premiering this coming Thursday at 11pm.

Premise: In under a week, the host, Tim Ferriss, attempts to master skills which usually take upwards of 5-20 years.

He’s already a best-selling author, National Kickboxing Champion, world-record-holder in Tango, and an all around nice guy who I had the pleasure of meeting a few weeks back. In order to ensure the success of his show, Tim asked his own personal army – er – readers of his blog, to see what clever ways they could come up with to help market the show.

He’s even offered up a Victorinox Swiss Army 25″ Trek Pack Plus as a prize to whoever does the best job. However, in typical Ferriss fashion, the deadline is pretty tight: 48 hours. No doubt there will be many tweets, emails and blog posts (like this one), but my online audience is far and away from huge. So, I decided to take my efforts offline where my skills (graphic design and guerrilla marketing) are more potent.

I was originally going to stencil up San Francisco’s Financial District with promotions about the show, but thought spray paint on shiny buildings might get the show off on the wrong foot. Tim’s book, The Four-Hour Workweek, focuses on ways to get AWAY from cubicles and high-paying (but how can you spend that much money anyway?) jobs, so I thought that would be a great place to start. Alas, your first ideas are not always your best.

I decided to make a poster instead, one that would fit into the “bus card” ad spaces that run the length of the buses (MUNI) here in San Francisco. I tried to find the dimensions online, but it looked as if the only way to obtain the specs were to call the local ad rep. That wouldn’t help me at 8pm, so, I climbed aboard MUNI, and amid curious stares, preceded to measure the space by hand. After the jog home I spent the next few hours copying the show’s logo, the History Channels Logo, and creating copy for a poster that would fit into the ad space on the bus.

I’ve uploaded the full-sized poster here, and my hope is that anyone who lacks an online army (like myself) can have a shot at the prize by downloading, printing, and taping the suckers up before Thursday night rolls around. I’d suggest taking pictures of your handy work, and posting them online for verification of your hard work. Rules for entry are simple, and basically boil down to leaving a comment on his blog. The poster is specifically designed to appeal to commuters, but will work anywhere people are in a hurry.

Download the Poster

I’ll post up my pictures as soon as I can. I would encourage everyone else to do the same as well.

Also check out the trailer at

Closing Remarks: I feel the bus card ad space is woefully underutilized, often becoming a blank canvas for taggers to scrawl their illegible handles. Believe it or not, but a standard 8.5×11 or 11×17 inch sheet of paper fits right in there. So go make something pretty and slide that puppy in there!

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Full pilot episode can be viewed here:—tim-ferriss

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One Comment on “Trial By Fire Guerrilla Marketing”

  1. Brandi Says:

    You are amazing! How awesome are you to do this for Tim Ferriss?! And it’s so professional, too!

    He’s got an awesome, talented group of fans. 🙂

    I’m new to setting up blogs. How did you get yours to look like this? Is it difficult? You can email me at brandimonsma (at) (Why do people do that? I just figured it was probably for spammers.)

    Again, mega impressed with your work and kindness for someone you don’t know. I love nice people!!

    Best Wishes to you. Happy Holidays!


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