Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy in which low-cost unconventional means (graffiti, sticker bombing, flash mobs) are utilized. The effort may be local or a network of individual cells to convey or promote a product or an idea. The term was coined by Jay Conrad Levinson. It can be easily traced to guerrilla warfare which utilizes atypical tactics to achieve a goal in a competitive environment. It involves unusual approaches such as intercept encounters in public places, street giveaways of products, PR stunts, or any unconventional marketing. More innovative approaches now utilize mobile digital technologies to engage the consumer and create a memorable brand experience.
Here are some examples of Guerrilla Marketing in different parts of the world. There’s also a presentation with some more examples, at the end of this post.
Swedish furniture giant Ikea makes little public pockets of Manhattan a little nicer with whimsical street settings in the “Everyday Fabulous” campaign. Seeing such ordinary items in unexpected places is a great way to cement something in a consumer’s mind, as well as actually get your physical product right under their noses — not an easy feat under normal circumstances.
Dutch agency Novocortex managed to get its online insurance client a ton of press — and traffic — with a simple guerrilla marketing campaign that went viral, and cost less than 1,000 euros. Using static paper “stickers,” motorists were fooled into thinking their cars had been scratched. But the sticker is really an ad for the insurance company. The agency didn’t stop there. It put videos of tricked drivers online and offered stickers to viewers so they could fool their friends. The stickers ran out after two days as the public willingly spread the message across the Netherlands, which, as we all know, is pretty much the Holy Grail of any marketing campaign.
UNICEF took a very ordinary object — a water vending machine — and made it startling by filling it with bottles of disease-laden H2O to enlighten New Yorkers about how something we take for granted is not such a luxury in the developing world. While stopping passersby in their tracks with choices of malaria, cholera and typhoid-flavored “Dirty Water,” the UNICEF staffers then got the message across that $1 is enough to ensure a child gets access to clean water for 40 days — a simply bottled message that saw the donations roll in. It was a clever way to convey an issue, confronting those that live a life of luxury with stark realities from other parts of the world.
The concept is not ground-breaking by any means, but what’s notable about this campaign to raise awareness for a new Lee jean store opening in Paris is how far the team has gone to plaster Paris with Lee denim. The sheer scale of jean-covered parking meters, clothes lines, manhole covers and stickers would surely guarantee that no one in the area could fail to notice the grand opening.
By taking an instantly recognizable shared experience (the booted car, the parking ticket) and adding an element of fun (the big shoe and randomly targeting anonymous vehicles), Nike gets across its message, which under different circumstances could be seen as a little too preachy. This also serves to show that timing is everything. With the stunt taking place on “International Car Free Day,” it adds legitimacy to what could be a slightly dubious, potentially invasive campaign.
Presentation on Guerrilla Marketing