Deviate From The Norm With Guerrilla Marketing

Alan Meyer on Advertising

Marketers are always looking for new and innovative ways to reach out and get new customers, spread their message, and spread brand awareness. Traditional marketing techniques can work wonders for many products and businesses, but at times they just aren’t enough.

This is where Guerrilla Marketing comes in.

What Is Guerrilla Marketing?

Well, it isn’t Don Draper in a monkey suit (see what I did there?). Guerrilla Marketing, at its core, is non-traditional marketing meant to increase sales using techniques that catch people’s attention and make a big impression on them.

Guerrilla marketing was originally created as a tool for small businesses that did not have the budget to do large marketing campaigns. Standard advertisements have never been low priced and the prices continue to rise for prime advertising real estate.

Now, even large companies are getting creative with guerrilla marketing to create marketing campaigns that are effective and memorable that deviate away from the norm.

The Benefits Of Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla Marketing can be a very valuable tool for any business, large or small, that is looking to increase their sales, increase brand awareness, or increase awareness around a specific message.

There are a few key reasons why Guerrilla Marketing works well and is so beneficial to use:

  • Spend Less Money On Marketing
  • Publicity Can Be Local & National
  • Stands Out More Than Traditional Marketing

Guerrilla Marketing Takes Less Money

One of the first questions asked of any marketing campaign is how much it’s going to cost. Traditional marketing tends to be pricey while Guerrilla Marketing generally takes more time and creativity than money.

As with any marketing campaign, a huge guerrilla marketing campaign can still eat up a massive budget, but it gives the opportunity to utilize a much smaller budget, if any budget at all. The biggest cost of any guerrilla marketing campaign is creativity and time.

Get Local Publicity And More

While most marketing campaigns aim to get publicity across large audiences, Guerrilla Marketing excels at getting local publicity. A well done guerrilla campaign will generally get local news coverage which is free and seen by a pretty large audience as well.

What makes Guerrilla Marketing great though is the ability for a local campaign to go viral, leading to national publicity without spending additional funding.

Stand Out From Your Competitors

A great traditional marketing campaign will get you noticed. A great guerrilla marketing campaign will have people talking about you and make your brand, or message, truly memorable.

This does need to be done carefully though as one possible downfall of a guerrilla marketing campaign is the possibility of the message of the campaign being misunderstood or disliked and creating bad press.

As long as you do your research of your target market and know who will be viewing your campaign before putting the wheels in motion, you should not have issues with bad press around your guerrilla marketing campaign.

The Top 5 Successful Guerrilla Marketing Tactics

One of the greatest things about guerrilla marketing is the fact that there are limitless options of different tactics that can be used. Although there are always companies coming up with new tactics to use, some are not as affordable as others.

Although the list of tactics could go on forever, there are 5 specific tactics that are quite common to guerrilla marketing that are affordable, and also tend to be the most successful. These are, in no particular order:

  • Street Art
  • Interactive Displays
  • Wearable Ads
  • Stickers
  • Publicity Stunts

Street Art

The use of street art, such as graffiti, can be a great tool to catch people’s attention while also making use of blank wall space. This is especially great for small businesses to make the outside of their building look nice with artwork that also brings attention to their storefront.

Some companies are gutsy enough to use graffiti without permission as a guerrilla marketing tool despite the possible legal consequences they may encounter.

An interesting form of street art being also being utilized is reverse graffiti. Instead of using a stencil to paint a design on a wall, use a stencil on a dirty sidewalk with soap and a pressure washer to create a temporary design that passersby will notice.

SPIKE Channel did a great job using reverse graffiti in the example below, promoting a new television show.

Spike channel reverse graffiti

Interactive Displays

Displaying an ad in a public place on its own has a tendency to get overlooked by the people walking by. We have all become ‘trained’ to look past ads because they are everywhere.

Having a display that gets people to interact with it has a much better chance to get people involved. This is more than motion sensor ads in grocery store aisles that play back a recording to everyone that walks by.

This could be a display that uses perspective to create something visible only by standing in a specific marked spot, or creating displays that people can pose and take pictures with.

Another interactive display type is a digital sign that changes depending on whether the nearest person is looking at it or not. Amnesty International did a great job with a bus display that showed two different images depending on if patrons were looking at the sign or not.

Guerrilla Marketing Amnesty International

Wearable Ads

A fantastic way to get your brand out in a fun and memorable way is by making use of wearable ads.

This could be standard merchandise types of items such as T-Shirts and hats that you give away, free branded bags such as fabric grocery bags, or it could also be more uncommon means such as temporary tattoos.

Similar to the price of a sticker, consider giving away temporary tattoos at events or at business locations. These are fun and can garner new attention from potential customers.

Whatever form you choose, make sure that your designs are creative and look professionally designed. If you want people to wear them and show off your brand, create something worth wearing.

Then of course you can hire people to walk around with a wearable ad on them, such as a sign on their back.

Adwalker Guerrilla Marketing

These get people’s attention better than stationary ads because they are not only moving around, but will also peak people’s curiosity as to why someone has a sign on their back.


Stickers have a similar effect to graffiti, they generally aren’t put out with permission. That said, they aren’t always put out directly by the company they belong to and are generally easier to remove, so they don’t tend to have the same repercussions as graffiti.

Also, stickers can be put up in many different places that are not going to be labeled as vandalism. Some people might put them on their cars, others on bicycles, or you can even put them on your business’ front windows.

Giving out free stickers, especially if they have a cool design, is a great way to get your brand out there. Even better is if you integrate QR codes into your stickers so that people can find out more about your brand or message as easily as possible.

Guiness even used small stickers on the end of pool cues in pubs as a promotional tactic to remind patrons to get a refill while shooting pool.

Guerrilla Marketing Guiness

Publicity Stunts

Another great way to get your brand or message out in the public eye is through the use of a publicity stunt. Making an event out of a marketing campaign rather than making a standard Ad can get a lot of attention from the public, and more specifically the media.

Media coverage of a publicity stunt makes it so that a one time event will go on to be remembered and viewed again by more people at a later time once the event has ended.

In the case of a larger publicity stunt, this can mean news coverage getting the event televised coverage without paying for a time-slot.

With how connected so many people are now by social media, publicity stunts can also gain a lot of traction with the public as the event is happening if people enjoy it or find it interesting.

There are a lot of different types of publicity stunts used in guerrilla marketing such as:

  • Flash Mobs
  • Installation Pieces (similar to a large work of art)
  • Surprise Events

In the example below, Mini Cooper set up a photo booth that would put the subject of the photo up on the billboard featured on the building in the background. They would also be entered in to win a brand new Mini.

MINI COOPER Interactive Display Guerrilla Marketing


Guerrilla marketing is a great marketing technique when done well. Using creativity and time to create a fun, informing, or thought-provoking marketing campaigns can be a fantastic way to spread your brand or message.