What is Guerrilla Marketing?

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Guerrilla marketing is a marketing strategy that relies on unconventional and low-cost tactics to promote a product, service, or brand. It often involves using creativity, imagination, and ingenuity to capture the attention of a target audience in unexpected ways. Unlike traditional marketing methods that require significant financial resources, guerrilla marketing emphasizes unconventional approaches that can generate buzz and create a memorable impact without breaking the bank.

This approach often involves leveraging unconventional locations, unexpected interactions, or attention-grabbing stunts to engage consumers and create brand awareness. Guerrilla marketing campaigns may involve activities such as flash mobs, street performances, viral videos, graffiti art, or other forms of unconventional advertising. The goal is to create a memorable and shareable experience that sparks conversations and generates word-of-mouth publicity.

The first time we got excited about marketing

The first time we ever got excited about marketing before starting Friing was when we saw a TikTok of a guy tasked with marketing an app. His solution was brilliantly unconventional: he printed the company’s branding on hundreds of ping pong balls and dropped them in densely populated areas on university campuses. The stunt was ingenious not just because it created an immediate spectacle, but also because it engaged students who helped pick up the balls, exposing them directly to the brand.

What made this guerrilla marketing effort even more effective was the secondary impact on social media. The students who participated shared the experience across their social networks, amplifying the brand’s reach organically. Moreover, the guy who executed the stunt documented the entire process, using the footage to create his own short-form content. This content went viral, catching the attention of a much larger audience, including myself, as it popped up on my algorithm. This clever use of creativity, engagement, and social media amplification highlighted the potential of marketing to be both fun and incredibly impactful.

@aghachi

Reposting because it’s still my favorite marketing tactic I’ve done to date 🤪#guerillamarketing

♬ Oh No – Kreepa

I never fully realized it at the time, but the ping pong ball stunt I saw on TikTok was one of the best guerrilla marketing campaigns I had ever witnessed. Seeing it again the other day inspired me to write this article about guerrilla marketing. Guerrilla marketing is so effective not only in the moment or during the campaign but also because it is so bold and out of the box that it can be referenced for years to come as a throwback to that awesome campaign you did that one time.

This enduring impact showcases the true power of guerrilla marketing: creating memorable, shareable experiences that continue to resonate long after the initial execution. The ping pong ball campaign is a perfect example of this. It engaged people directly, sparked social media buzz, and created content that went viral, making it a textbook case of how guerrilla marketing can deliver lasting results. By thinking creatively and executing bold, unconventional ideas, brands can leave a lasting impression that keeps people talking and sharing long into the future.

Some of our favourite guerrilla marketing campaigns

With that being said, here is a look at our favorite guerrilla marketing campaigns we could find. If anything, we hope that some of these examples can at least inspire you to fall in love with marketing in the same way that the ping pong ball stunt did for me. From engaging social media strategies to memorable public stunts, these campaigns demonstrate the power of thinking outside the box and the incredible impact that creative marketing can have.

1. Surreal’s Salesman Billboard

Surreal, a high-protein cereal brand in the UK, took an unconventional approach to announce their new partnership with Sainsbury’s. They put their sales team up on a billboard, creating a memorable spectacle that grabbed attention and generated buzz. The two salesmen sat perched on a narrow ledge off the side of the billboard, equipped with megaphones to talk to passersby about their products and sell boxes of cereal. This daring stunt was not only a bold marketing move but also a strategic one, as it allowed Surreal to directly engage with potential customers in a unique and attention-grabbing way.

The campaign was a big hit on Surreal’s own social media accounts, where they shared photos and videos of the salesmen on the billboard. This multimedia approach amplified the campaign’s reach and allowed Surreal to capitalize on the buzz generated by the stunt. By showcasing their partnership with Sainsbury’s in such a creative and memorable manner, Surreal effectively positioned themselves as an innovative and exciting brand in the competitive cereal market. This campaign demonstrates the power of guerrilla marketing to create buzz, engage audiences, and drive brand awareness in unconventional ways.

2. Marmite’s Presidential Campaign

Up next we’re paying special tribute to Marmite’s presidential election campaign for the 2024 National South African elections. Every campaign season, South African political parties plaster their posterboard campaign posters on every streetlamp, flagpole, and traffic sign leading up to the election. This year, Marmite threw their hat in the ring for electoral contention by putting up their own campaign posters alongside those of political parties. With slogans like “Rebuild SA-andwiches” and “Marmite for the people,” Marmite tagged along with what many consider the scourge of election season—streets littered with election posters all seemingly touting the same message.

It turns out this isn’t the first time Marmite has gotten political. Previously, they campaigned as “The Love Party,” in the UK aiming to make Britain richer—in vitamin B—and spread the love. Talk about riding the coattails of current events and adding a bit of humor to what can otherwise be a quite tense time for any country. Marmite’s ability to infuse wit and charm into their campaigns not only makes them memorable but also provides a refreshing break from the usual seriousness of political discourse. Their approach to marketing demonstrates how a brand can effectively engage with the public by leveraging current events and injecting humor into the conversation.

Marmite’s campaign was a real breath of fresh air, and a nice break from the usual eye sore that gets to be these political plackards. It stood out amidst the typical political messages, offering a playful and engaging twist that resonated with the public. This campaign is just one example of Marmite’s impressive marketing track record, showcasing their knack for creative and memorable advertising. We’ll definitely dive into some of their amazing campaigns in another article.

3. The Red Bull Mini Cooper

Next up is the Red Bull Mini Cooper, a standout example of guerrilla marketing that is hard to miss. These eye-catching vehicles, designed with a giant can of Red Bull mounted on the back, are a staple of the Red Bull Wings team, which has been specially set up to promote the energy drink to the widest possible audience. The marketeers, mostly students, drive these Minis to various locations to hand out free cans of Red Bull, creating a direct and memorable interaction with potential consumers.

The Red Bull Mini Cooper campaign is a global phenomenon, with approximately 500 of these vehicles used worldwide as promotional tools. This isn’t just an American or European tactic; Red Bull has deployed these Minis across different continents, making the campaign a truly international success. However, it remains uncertain whether the Minis have been converted for use in left-hand drive markets, which could indicate some regional customization in their guerrilla marketing approach.

This campaign exemplifies guerrilla marketing at its best. The Red Bull Mini Coopers are not just vehicles; they are mobile billboards that create a significant visual impact wherever they go. Their unique design and the active engagement strategy of handing out samples make them highly effective in generating buzz and brand awareness. By driving to locations where potential consumers gather, the Red Bull Wings team ensures maximum visibility and direct product experience, which are crucial elements in fostering brand loyalty and recall. The Red Bull Mini Cooper campaign showcases how creativity and strategic execution in guerrilla marketing can turn a simple concept into a powerful brand statement recognized globally.

4. SPCA Election Campaign

In a stroke of creativity, the NSPCA’s pet adoption campaign in South Africa ingeniously utilized the ubiquitous presence of political campaign posters. By printing their own posters to place directly beneath these political ads, the NSPCA created a seamless and attention-grabbing continuation of the imagery above. Each NSPCA poster featured images of the respective political candidates depicted above them, but with a heartwarming twist: instead of political slogans, the candidates were portrayed holding adorable kittens and dogs, perfectly matching the attire and poses of the politicians. This clever juxtaposition not only captured the public’s attention but also effectively communicated the NSPCA’s message of pet adoption in a context that was both relevant and memorable.

Through this innovative approach, the NSPCA leveraged the visibility of political campaign posters to reach a wider audience and drive home their message. By piggybacking on the attention surrounding the political campaign season, the NSPCA effectively tapped into the public’s consciousness, sparking conversations and raising awareness about pet adoption in a creative and impactful manner. This campaign demonstrates the power of guerrilla marketing to seize upon existing cultural phenomena and deliver messages that resonate deeply with the public.

5. Gold Toe Underwear on NYSE Bull

Gold Toe, one of the world’s largest sock brands, made a bold and memorable statement during New York Fashion Week by unveiling their new underwear and t-shirt line through a series of statue takeovers. Throughout New York City, Gold Toe-branded t-shirts and underwear were placed on famous public statues, creating a striking and humorous visual display. One of the most notable of these takeovers was the Wall Street Bull in the Financial District, which was humorously adorned with Gold Toe’s new products.

This guerrilla marketing tactic captured the attention of countless passersby and tourists, who couldn’t resist snapping photos of the iconic statues in their unexpected attire. Hundreds of these photos quickly circulated on social media, amplifying the campaign’s reach and generating significant buzz. Gold Toe cleverly used these user-generated images for their in-house advertising, showcasing the widespread public engagement and adding authenticity to their marketing efforts.

I love this campaign because it brilliantly leveraged fixed, iconic landmarks to promote their products, seamlessly integrating their brand with the city’s surroundings. By dressing up well-known statues, Gold Toe not only drew attention to their new line but also created a fun and memorable experience for those who encountered the installations. This creative use of the city’s landmarks exemplifies how guerrilla marketing can effectively turn everyday environments into powerful promotional tools, engaging audiences in a playful and unexpected way.

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