6 Ways to Make Guerrilla Marketing Work For You

Modern Marketing


For marketers with big dreams and small budgets, “guerrilla marketing” has a strong appeal – it’s often seen as a low investment, high impact strategy. But while these campaigns do tend to be inexpensive, they also require a big imagination.

But before we dive in, what exactly is guerrilla marketing? The term was actually coined in 1984 by American advertising executive and writer Jay Conrad Levinson. Its meaning is relatively simple – in essence, the art of getting consumers to pay attention – but its execution is no easy feat.

The effectiveness of guerrilla marketing campaigns can be measured by the amount of attention they attract – in contemporary marketing terms, the amount of engagement they incite. Remember, consumers are inundated with as many as 2,904 media messages on any given day, and will positively recall only four. Guerrilla marketing campaigns, which typically involve some serious thinking outside of the box, can be a smart way to grab attention.

Interested? Here are six tips (with examples!) for creating low-investment, highly innovative, epic guerrilla marketing campaigns:

1. Make it Clever

The “memory retention” approach relies on displaying your offering from a new, clever point of view. The smarter the campaign, the more memorable it will be.

Here’s a great example from Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil. They simply put what looks like their standard packaging on the top of a store-front gate, and presto! The gate now looks like a supersized aluminum foil roll. Clever, no?

reynolds wrap

2. Make it Dynamic

Another way to do guerrilla marketing is to enlist unknowing participants. Frontline covered a mall’s floor with this advertisement for flea and tick spray. As you can see from the photo, the shoppers walking across it looked like fleas to those up above. Wouldn’t you take an extra moment to stare at this?

frontline flea and tick ad


3. Make it Endearing

People LOVE all things free, which is why some of the most engaging guerrilla campaigns are tied to free giveaways. Coca-Cola recently turned a standard vending machine into a ‘Happiness Machine.’ Consumers who used the machine were rewarded with free bottles of Coke to share with friends, beautiful flower bouquets, and even entire pizzas!

The results were incredibly positive – one person in the video can even be heard saying, “I love you, Coke.” This might be a more expensive example of guerrilla marketing, but even a small giveaway can go a long way.

4. Make it Memorable

Want to make a busy New Yorker stop and pay attention on their way to work in the morning? You’ve got to get coffee involved. Folger’s Coffee printed stickers which transformed manholes into freshly brewed cups of joe.

The steam coming from these manholes, which is a typical sight in NYC, transformed the eye-sore into a brilliant advertisement. Now every time you see a steaming man-hole, you might think of Folger’s.

Folgers coffee manholes

5. Make it Interactive

It doesn’t get simpler than this Tyskie Beer ad. By placing decals around door handles, the door opener feels as if they are holding the handle of a beer mug. Each time an individual enters through that door, Tyskie beer is on the top of their mind.

tyskie beer

6. Make it Subtle

Not all campaigns have to stock people in their tracks. This Mr. Clean ad uses no words, just their well-known logo. By painting the single cross-walk line with fresh white paint, the message is being unassumingly conveyed to the viewer. Mr. Clean makes surfaces cleaner!

mr clean

If you’ve got a limited budget, but exponential creativity, take a cue from these six guerrilla examples. Readers, what are some of your favorite guerrilla marketing campaigns? Let us know in the comments below.