Think outside the box with this fun Guerrilla Marketing guide
By Carolyn McMurray, SOCIATE’s Junior Copywriter
Level up your marketing with a strategy rooted in the art of surprise
Guerrilla marketing. On paper, those two words shouldn’t really go together. They’re a bit like chalk and cheese. Or ice cream and fries (a combo we don’t recommend unless you like soggy chips).
But unlike a french fries sundae, guerrilla + marketing actually sort of works.
It’s a little unconventional, but guerrilla marketing (done right) can really supercharge your brand and get it into the limelight. Now, don’t get me wrong. Both words conjure up very different kinds of images.
Think ‘guerrilla’ and you’re probably imagining warfare. Explosions. Soldiers coming up out of the grass ready to attack. Think ‘marketing’ and you’re probably imagining a bunch of people in suits, briefcase in hand, and a coffee in the other. It’s quite a stark contrast, I’ll admit – but, it’s not exactly accurate.
Guerrilla marketing isn’t some kind of war tactic – it simply uses the element of surprise. Just like a bunch of soldiers popping out of the grass or a sudden ambush, guerilla marketing does the unexpected.
So, what exactly is guerrilla marketing?
Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy that uses unconventional methods to promote a brand or drive publicity. It’s rooted in the art of surprise, and it’s that shock factor that helps put a brand into the limelight.
And FYI – the shock factor doesn’t necessarily equate to controversy.
It just means doing things that are out of the blue.
Types of guerrilla marketing
It might be a pretty niche marketing strategy, but it’s got a few subcategories you should be aware of:
Also known as street guerrilla marketing, this method involves using public outdoor spaces to create a scene. This might include putting up installations, putting on performances, or creating artwork – whatever it is, it’s unexpected.
Similar to outdoor guerrilla marketing, indoor guerilla tactics involve using public indoor spaces to create a scene. These are most commonly in the form of a performance, flash mob scene, or signage placement (displaying your brand logo or business sign). Indoor guerrilla tactics are often a little more difficult to create, as a lot of public spaces (colleges, train stations, and malls) have rules around security.
Probably the riskiest of all four, event ambush tactics involve creating a scene within a public event. This could be a sports game, festival, or trade show – as long as it’s got a large audience, you’re good to go.
The only downside of an event ambush strategy is that it’s done without permission from the event organisers. It is literally an ‘ambush’ – and while this can be effective, it can also be pretty risky.
Experiential guerrilla marketing is a mix of indoor, outdoor, and event ambush tactics – the only difference is that it gets the audience directly involved. That’s why it’s called experiential; it aims to create an experience for the audience. It could be anything from a pop-up shop to a sidewalk show – as long as the audience is interacting with the scene, you’re good to go.
Ok, so it’s a little risky. A little out of the ordinary – but hear me out…
Guerrilla marketing may sound a little risky, but done right it can get your brand great results. It’s all about the execution – it has to be carefully calculated to get the response you want. Of course, doing the unexpected always brings an element of the unknown into the mix, but sometimes a little bit of risk can really pay off.
Here are 3 reasons you should give guerrilla marketing a go:
The great thing about guerrilla marketing is that it’s budget-friendly. It doesn’t require a fancy set up; the only thing it relies on is creativity and imagination. You could literally plop a brand logo onto the street and that could be considered a form of guerrilla marketing.
Of course, if you want to put on a massive show it could get a little expensive. The point is, you could easily do something simple and still get maximum results (think street art, performances, and mascots).
Generates word of mouth
Since guerrilla marketing does the unexpected, it gets people’s attention. It generates buzz and an all-around feeling of ‘I have to tell people about this wicked thing I saw today!” People are more likely to talk about your brand and what you did, spreading the word on social media or within their inner circles. If you’ve done something particularly out of the blue, it could even go viral.
Works on emotions
Guerrilla marketing, particularly experiential tactics, work on people’s emotions. They evoke shock and surprise; feelings of wonder and novelty. It gets people out of their routine, hitting them with something fun and unexpected. People are also more likely to buy from a brand if they feel a strong connection – and creating a scene that gets them directly involved in the action is a great way of building this connection and trust.
Now for the fun part…
Curious about all the weird and wonderful ways brands have executed guerrilla marketing?
Take a look at these four examples for inspiration:
- Fiji’s Water Girl at the Oscars
The Oscars are usually all about the stars, right?
Well, in a glorious guerrilla marketing ambush, Fiji turned the tables and made The Oscars all about them. Bringing in Kelleth Cuthbert to act as #FijiGirl, the model photobombed as many celebrity shots as she could. Fiji’s bold act paid off, leading to a run-off of countless memes and viral posts. Talk about free publicity!
2. Domino’s Paving for Pizza
There’s nothing quite like ordering a Dominos pizza. The iconic red and blue pizza box. The smell of freshly made dough. But then you open the box to an extra slice of disappointment – the toppings have all fallen off! Dominos knew this scenario all too well (thanks to countless reviews) and decided to ‘fix’ the solution creatively. Instead of owning up to the mistake, they turned the blame on America’s pot-holes – and that’s how the ‘Paving for Pizza’ campaign was created! The campaign soon went viral – another great publicity stunt that only took a map and some clever branding to execute.
3. Bounty’s life-sized popsicle
A paper towel company doesn’t sound that exciting, right? Wrong! With a bit of guerrilla marketing, Bounty upped its game with a bunch of life-sized popsicles. Dotted around the streets of New York, the giant melting popsicles showed just how useful Bounty’s paper towels could be – so useful, in fact, that they could clean up life-sized messes! They didn’t just get people’s attention – they got people involved in the action! Cue a few Instagram selfies with the life-sized lollies, and Bounty was soon the talk of the town.
4. Deadpool’s Tinder
Not all guerrilla tactics have to be physical. Marvel showed the world how to make a scene online by creating a Tinder profile for their upcoming flick’s main character, Deadpool. Users were stunned as they came across the profile – until it was revealed that Marvel was behind the digital stunt.
Guerrilla marketing isn’t exactly for the faint of heart. It’s a little risky.
A little ‘outside the lines’ – but, it’s all calculated.
If you spend time thinking about how you can make a positive scene, it will pay off.
And if you need to put a little pep in your step, our Marketing services will help get your brand off on the right foot. Reach out to us at [email protected] to find out how we can get your brand into the limelight.