One of America’s most wanted fugitives has been caught, and it’s all thanks to a little creative advertising.

I’ll leave it to NBC News:

(Whitey) Bulger, the notorious Boston mob boss, was captured near Los Angeles after 16 years on the run that embarrassed the FBI and exposed the bureau’s corrupt relationship with its underworld informants.

After an international manhunt, the FBI finally caught the 81-year-old Bulger at an apartment in Santa Monica along with longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig on Wednesday, just days after the government launched a publicity campaign to locate the fugitive crime boss by circulating pictures of Greig on daytime TV and on billboards, the FBI said.

The arrest was based on a tip from the campaign, the FBI said. The campaign’s strategy was based on finding Greig in hopes the two would be together, federal officials said.

I’ve heard of campaigns to raise awareness, create buzz, promote special events, and close sales. This is a new one. It speaks to the power of targeted marketing. The ad campaign was targeted to cities in which the couple had been spotted. To expand their exposure,  the ads were placed strategically in places that women who might have information about the mobster’s girlfriend would be likely to see them.

Catching Bulger was textbook marketing. It took only a few days for the campaign to lead to the couple’s arrest. What does that say about the power of advertising in our daily lives? I would say the quick turnaround in this case speaks to just how marketing-driven our society has become.

Using marketing to capture a felon who’s evaded police for a decade is the most unique example of marketing I’ve seen in a while. When’s the last time you saw marketing used in a creative or unorthodox way? What was the outcome?

To read the full article on how the FBI caught Bulger, click here.