What is Guerrilla Marketing – Types, Advantages and Disadvantages

Guerrilla marketing example of mc donalds

Have you ever walked past a big sign on the road or unexpectedly seen a group of dancers wearing the same t-shirt, who suddenly started dancing or perhaps you have seen a wall with unique art or graphics that caught your eye? If you have, you’ve unknowingly come across guerrilla marketing.

But what exactly is guerrilla marketing? In this blog, we will explain the core concept of guerrilla marketing with examples from famous brands. Additionally, we will provide you with tips to get started with it.

Table of contents

  1. What is Guerrilla Marketing
  2. History of Guerrilla Marketing
  3. Types of Guerrilla Marketing
  4. Best 3 Guerrilla Marketing Examples
  5. Pros & Cons of Guerrilla Marketing
  6. Tips to Start Guerrilla Marketing
  7. In conclusion
  8. Frequently Asked Questions

What is Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is a cost-effective and high-impact marketing strategy that uses uncommon methods to capture customers’ attention. All you have to do is be creative and think outside the box. ‘Guerrilla’ comes from the Spanish word for ‘war.’ It refers to the strategies used by guerrilla fighters who rely on surprise, secrecy and creativity to overcome their enemies.

It aims to evoke an emotional response from the audience, such as curiosity, shock, amusement or admiration, and to generate word-of-mouth and viral publicity for the brand. Brands use it for various purposes, such as raising awareness, launching new products, increasing sales or building loyalty.

 A finger-touching camera showing the concept of visibility
Guerilla Marketing by Dominos to make people crave & order Pizza

History of Guerrilla Marketing

The concept of guerrilla marketing was first introduced by Jay Conrad Levinson, an American marketer and author. He took inspiration from the guerrilla warfare tactics used during the Vietnam War and thought “Why not apply this mindset to marketing?” In his book Guerrilla Marketing Secrets, he talked about how unconventional and low-cost methods could create a marketing buzz that competes with even the smartest ad campaigns.

Now, fast forward to today, and guerrilla marketing has evolved into something even more exciting. Take Ikea, for instance. In the bustling Paris train station, they set up a “guerrilla sleepover.” Yep, beds and sofas are right there for commuters to rest on! Why? To prove that Ikea’s products are as comfy and inviting as your own home, even in the midst of a chaotic train station.

 A finger-touching camera showing the concept of visibility
Smart application of guerrilla marketing by IKEA

And then there’s Red Bull, who sponsored Felix Baumgartner’s mind-blowing skydive from the edge of space, reaching speeds of over 1,300 km/h! And, they live-streamed the whole thing on YouTube, getting 8 million viewers. They aimed to show off Red Bull’s fearless spirit and make people associate their brand with extreme sports and jaw-dropping feats

A hand-holding phone with an Instagram profile
The first test jump in Stratos project of Red Bull

Types of Guerilla Marketing

There are different types of guerrilla marketing depending on the campaign’s medium, location, audience and message. Some of the most common types are:

Ambient marketing

This is all about getting creative with your existing environment and locations to create a surprising and eye-catching element and for example, Coming across a giant toothbrush painting on the wall of the dentist or a manhole cover designed to look in the form of coffee.

Stealth marketing

This type is all about subtly promoting products or services, without showing ads directly on your face. Think of your favourite TV show where a character casually uses a specific phone brand. Clever, isn’t it?

Grassroots marketing

Here, it’s all about the power of community and word-of-mouth to spread a message. For example, a social cause that uses stickers, posters or flyers to raise awareness or a product that uses free samples, referrals or testimonials to generate interest.

Viral marketing

This one is all about the internet and social media. Ever seen a funny video, a catchy meme, or a trending hashtag? That’s viral marketing at its best. It’s about creating something so cool that people can’t help but share it, and it spreads like wildfire online.

Guerrilla marketing isn’t just about ads; it’s about being clever and creative and making people talk.

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Best 3 Guerrilla Marketing Examples

To best understand the concept and practice of guerrilla marketing, here are some of the best guerrilla marketing examples that various brands have executed:

Deadpool’s Tinder profile

On social media, you might have seen brands promoting their superheroes, merchandise, or movies. Marvel, however, takes a unique advertising approach, relying heavily on creativity. The marketing team seized an opportunity by launching a hilarious guerrilla marketing campaign. They crafted a Tinder profile for Deadpool, complete with witty captions and images.

Why Tinder? Deadpool isn’t your typical kid’s movie. So, the platform offered a perfect way to reach Marvel’s older audience. Leveraging Deadpool’s distinct ‘charm,’ the team executed a targeted, budget-friendly guerrilla campaign. And did it work? Absolutely! This creative idea led to a staggering $785 million in worldwide gross sales

A hand-holding phone with an Instagram profile
A smart and funny guerrilla marketing by Marvel

Zomato’s unconventional Twitter strategy

“Guys, kabhi kabhi ghar ka bhi khana kha lena chahiye” coming from a food delivery app might sound surprising, especially from Zomato India. But it turned out to be their unique approach. The tweet quickly went viral, sparking discussions and praise. Zomato’s founder, Deepinder Goyal, even joined in, appreciating the tweet. This happened during the ICC World Cup 2019 when everyone was glued to their screens, ordering food instead of cooking. Zomato cleverly leveraged this trend, offering great discounts to its customers.

A hand-holding phone with an Instagram profile
Smart guerrilla marketing by Zomato

Netflix

Created a “Netflix is a joke” campaign that featured billboards and posters with messages such as “Netflix is a joke” or “Netflix is a waste of time”. The campaign was a teaser for a series of comedy specials that featured famous comedians such as Dave Chappelle, Ellen DeGeneres, and Chris Rock. It created curiosity and intrigue among the audience.

A hand-holding phone with an Instagram profile
Netflix created curiosity among the audience through guerrilla marketing

Pros & Cons of Guerrilla Marketing

Like any other marketing strategy, guerrilla marketing has its advantages and disadvantages. Both of which are dependent on the context, execution and outcome of the campaign. Some of the pros and cons of guerrilla marketing are:

Pros Cons
Cost-effective and efficient Risky and unpredictable
Creative Can create controversies
Appeals to customer’s emotions Measuring results is difficult
Memorable Sometimes can be irrelevant

Tips to start Guerrilla Marketing

If you want to start guerrilla marketing for your brand, you can search for an experienced digital marketing agency in your locality. But before that keep these tips in mind:

Know your goals

Before you start working, you need to know what your marketing and business goals are, what you want to achieve and how you will measure your success. This will also help you communicate better with any digital marketing agency that you might work with.

Know your audience

Be clear on who your target audience is, what they want, where they are and how they can be reached. This will help you tailor your message and your medium to your audience, and to create a campaign that can appeal to their emotions, interests and values.

Look at your budget

See how many resources you have and how will you allocate and manage them. You need to balance your budget with your creativity and create a campaign that can be cost-effective and efficient.

Know your agency

Look at the agency’s past clients, their work and reviews before you start working with them.

In conclusion

Guerrilla marketing is a powerful tool that can help businesses of all sizes reach their target audience and generate positive buzz. By following the tips above, you can create a successful guerrilla marketing campaign that will help you achieve your business goals. If you’re looking for a digital agency to get started with your guerrilla marketing, contact us today at hello@florafountain.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, guerrilla marketing is not the same as marketing. Marketing is a broad term that refers to all of the activities that a business undertakes to promote its products or services to potential customers and guerilla marketing is a specific type of marketing that uses unconventional methods to capture the attention of consumers.
Guerrilla marketing lets you reach a large audience and generate a lot of buzz without spending a lot of money on traditional advertising.
Well, there is no specialised guerrilla marketing agency, but you can always contact a full-fledged, experienced digital marketing agency in Ahmedabad. They offer a variety of digital services, including guerrilla marketing.
Guerrilla marketing can be very successful, but it is important to note that it is no magic. It can be effective only if it is well-planned and executed.

Vasim Samadji is a partner at Flora Fountain, where he leads the Business and Marketing Strategy divisions. He is a seasoned professional with an MBA in marketing and over a decade of experience working with multiple MNCs. Vasim is a firm believer in the power of creation and he is...

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