Guerrilla Marketing Ideas- Creative Marketing Tactics to Boost Your Business

Chances are, when you first hear the words guerrilla marketing ,one of two things come to mind:

– A large King Kongish primate who has made himself available to hire for promotional purposes (nope, not gorilla marketing) or…
 – A communist military activist armed with automated weapons and camouflage bandannas, but only on the weekends.  During the week maybe he too, offers marketing services.

Fortunately however, guerrilla marketing is far more likely than either of those things to bring a great benefit to your life and business.  It’s also possibly less dangerous.

What is guerrilla marketing?

The concept of guerrilla marketing is interesting because its definition and context seems to change dramatically from one resource to another.  For example, Entrepreneur.com’s definition focuses on the low cost, practical sense of the term and further explains that telephone and email marketing are the most effective forms.  In looking deeper into the subject, I discovered that these are examples but they are not comprehensive in the sense of maximizing brand exposure.

You will find in the ideas shown below that maximum exposure is more likely to be obtained with a little creativity and thinking outside of the box.  This is not to say that email marketing, digital marketing and good old fashioned phone calls are not effective and necessary, because they definitely are – likely more-so than some of the examples shown below.  The most comprehensive definition I have found actually comes from Google:

guer·ril·la mar·ket·ing
noun
innovative, unconventional, and low-cost marketing techniques aimed at obtaining maximum exposure for a product.

How are the most effective guerrilla marketing ideas created?

 In order to create the most effective guerrilla marketing ideas, pay close attention to your immediate resources  as well as the various objectives of the products or services you are promoting.  There is no ‘set in stone’ method of creating highly effective guerrilla marketing ideas, and that is what makes the concept special.  

Whether you are a business owner or a marketing professional, take some time to evaluate each of the concepts presented.  From vape shop marketing concepts to bar marketing ideas, the guerrilla marketing ideas mentioned here can definitely be useful as a guide to creating your own.  Pay attention to the actual thought process which took place in the creation of the ideas – from the standpoint of the person who created the campaign.   You will begin to recognize the overall thought process involved in creating these campaigns has some consistency in each different application.   Once you have become familiar with that thought process, it will be easier for you to identify real world opportunities in which these concepts can help you grow your business.

As you will see below, there are many ways of going about maximizing a brand’s exposure.  The common theme among most of them however, is that of staying outside of the box (literally, in many cases) to provide a new perspective on something which is found in every day life.   The most effective guerrilla marketing techniques are those which blur the lines between advertising and reality for the audience and transform advertising efforts which are typically seen as an annoyance to the public, into humorous, enjoyable experiences .  

In making your target market feel as if they have entered an alternate dimension, you are creating an unforgettable experience which will naturally be shared across social media outlets and with the friends and family of those who get to experience the advertising first hand.  For marketing professionals, this viral effect is the goal of all marketing efforts and guerrilla marketing can be the answer. I have compiled the examples below as a means of giving you some idea and inspiration in creating your next big guerrilla marketing campaign.   Be sure to pay close attention to the thought processes behind these ideas as they may help you formulate concepts for your business. 

Flyers

The flyers below are awesome examples of low cost (relatively speaking), highly effective guerilla marketing.  It is nice to get some inspiration from these examples which remind us that standard flyers do not have to annoy people in the process of seeing or finding them. Creating humor and originality are essential aspects of the guerilla’s flyer creation strategy.

guerilla-marketing-flyer-car

Awesome example of taking the annoying ‘flyer in the windshield’ concept to an entirely new level.

guerilla-marketing-ballet-flyer

Ballet classes, anybody?


Sticker Bombs

Sticker bombs are likely one of the most common, cost effective guerrilla marketing ideas out there but as Golden Ale and Lay’s show us below, sticker bombing does not always have to come across as trashy or annoying.  The humor and surprise factor bring a new dimension to sticker bombing which is much more effective than putting a logo on sticky paper and littering the city.

golden-ale-sticker-marketing

I had personally never heard of Golden Ale before but now I have. That is how you know this broken urinal campaign worked exceptionally well. If you are looking into doing your own sticker bomb campaign, be sure to comply with your local laws and/or establishment rules and be mindful of the environment in the process. Failure to do this will make your brand look highly unfavorable.

guerilla-marketing-with-stickers-lays

This concept for Lay’s potato chips was definitely ‘outside of the box.’ This is a very clever example of surrealism mixed with absolute awesome creativity.

Street & Sidewalk Brilliance

Finding ways to create new meanings and purpose to every day fixtures on the sidewalk or even in the road can be an excellent place to start in creating a guerrilla marketing campaign.  Some of these concepts are still even a little easier on the budget than some of the ideas included further below.

folgers-coffee-guerilla-marketing

How could you possibly not want a cup of Folgers after you see a city full of steaming Folgers manhole covers around the city?Another awesome example of creating a new perspective around an every day item in the name of highly effective branding.

street-ads-durex-knobs

Street Knobs… Durex Knobs.

amnesty-international-guerilla-marketing

“Let me out of here!”
Amnesty International did a great job of getting their point across by re-creating the purpose of this street drain.  Is that a real person in there?!

Jeep Parking Spot


It’s true though! Jeeps can park anywhere. Might as well show people a few examples around the city.

Surrealism

As you can see, a guerrilla’s primary objective in creating a highly effective guerrilla marketing tactic should be to blur the lines of reality for the targeted audience.  Any time you can alter the audience’s life experience or give them a new perspective as a result of them seeing your campaign, you know you are on the right track and have created something which has potential to be highly effective.  The campaigns are not only effective because of the people who will directly see them but also because of how many people will voluntarily share the images on their social media pages, Reddit, etc…

Billboard Designs

Somebody at Coops Paints deserves two thumbs up for this spilled paint bucket with paint coming out of the 2D image. This is particularly effective due to how it created a 3D effect coming from the 2D image. Covering the vehicles was also a nice touch.

Honda Cereal Box Campaign

The Honda Cereal Box Campaign… How much better would a Cracker Jack’s surprise be if a Honda came out?

False Imprisonment

You can never go wrong having an amazing artist on hand to make it look like there is a person stuck somewhere in the ground, especially if you are promoting a product or service which gets people ‘un-stuck’ our ‘out of a hole’ literally or metaphorically.

Lait Carton Surrealism

Lait… It does a body good. As long as it’s giant sized carton doesn’t spill on your head while you’re waiting at the bus stop.

MiniUSA Airport Surrealism

Nice work, Mini-Coop. Not everybody will have the resources to convert the airports conveyor belt into an advertisement but when you make a large investment in the banner space above, I am sure the airport becomes negotiable.

Neglected Children

“Somebody get that neglected child out from behind that…. Oh wait, nevermind.  Dangit.” Above is another great example of creating the illusion that a person in in a very inconvenient situation, to effectively get a point across. People always tend to recognize humans in situations so any time you can create concepts which involve a human figure or realistic artist replica, you may be on to something special.

Display and Billboard Advertising

Some of the ideas below overlap with the surrealism category but continue to provide more examples of highly effective guerrilla marketing strategies which surely achieved the goals they were created to achieve.  The key again here is changing the audience’s reality or their perspective on an item in order to create something amazing (and in many cases hilarious, like the free air guitars).

Free Air Guitars

I find 96.3 Rock Radio’s Free Air Guitar advertisement to still be one of the most clever guerilla marketing ideas I have seen. This is not only because the concept works well with the rock radio station but also because the low cost involved. This advertisement also reminds us that the more clever the guerilla marketing idea, the less likely you will have resistance in anybody insisting that it gets taken down.

Mondo Pasta

The marketing brain behind Mondo Pasta’s rope to noodle perspective transformation was on his or her A-Game when this idea came about. Creating these face displays for the sides of the boats was likely not cheap but you can be sure that everybody who sees these boats will not forget about Mondo Pasta’s awesome guerrilla tactics. I am sure Mondo Pasta found the investment to create an extraordinary ROI.

The Economist BillBoard Ad

The Economist’s motion sensor activated light-bulb is an excellent example of a very simple, yet highly effective guerrilla marketing concept. The lit bulb indirectly portrays the notion that people who read the Economist have their light bulb turned on, but they did it in a way that did not require any words other than The Economist.

NYC Taxi - Raise Your Hand - FogPusher

Creating a new perspective for everyday objects is one thing but this bus stop ad for NYC Taxi goes to show how creating a new meaning to an every day gesture such as raising a hand can also be effective. This is another great example of a very clever, cost effective guerrilla marketing idea.

‘Mapvertisements’ and Wide Area Ground Displays

This is where the expense and resource availability may start to become a hurdle for many guerrillas looking to create new ideas for their businesses or their client’s.  Creating advertisements which can only be seen from airplanes are cool to look at pictures of and possible for the rare occasion you catch a glimpse of one from an airplane or on Google earth, but other than that, I assume there is not a significant amount of visibility compared to the other forms of guerrilla marketing mentioned.  Not to say that you shouldn’t pursue this type of advertising, but I can only imagine that they are actually viewed by significantly less people and require a fairly significant marketing budget.

On the other hand, the  Frontline display shown below, which makes people seem to be the fleas on the dog, is purely genius.

CocaCola Ad Only Seen From Air

This coca cola ad was carved into the side of this dirt hill and will likely be seen by far less people than many of the other ads discussed so far. This does not mean this type of advertising is ineffective for Coca-Cola, however. The objective of guerrilla marketing is to keep the brand on your audience’s mind and by doing indiscreet things like this they are actually doing this very effectively, but almost in a more subliminal manner which the intended audience will likely not consciously even think about.

Frontline Arial Mall Advertisement - Guerilla Marketing - FogPusher

Frontline did an excellent job in implementing this highly effective creative marketing tactic in what appears to be a shopping mall. Creating the appearance that humans are fleas is a funny and also effective strategy which has been properly executed here.

 

 

 

Papa Johns Arial Advertisement Crop Circle

Papa John’s went all-out with this mapvertisement display which can only be seen from an airplane or satellite. It is pretty awesome to think about the planning which this type of project involved however, it must also be difficult to measure the effectiveness of the advertisement. I honestly think somebody just did it for fun however, I am sharing it so it is definitely serving its purpose.

 

 

KFC Google Maps - FogPusher Guerilla Marketing

The mapvertisement above, from KFC and shown on a Google Earth image, is another example of a method which a food company has used to reach out to the public. Again, I don’t know that these are the most effective ideas for making the best use of a creative marketing budget however, when you have the resources that Coca-Cola, Papa John’s and KFC have – you might as well!

 

 

SwissAir Crop Circle Ad

Food services are somewhat questionable in terms of their potential to benefit from mapvertisements however, airlines are a different store. In the mapvertisement image shown above a SwissAir advertisement is available in plain sight. I can see this being tremendously effective if it were placed in an area with high air traffic (such as close to an international airport). I can imagine that keeping up with this mapvertisement is a full time job but I am sure they know what they are doing or possibly this was just a temporary setup for photographs.

When in Doubt, Prank Somebody and Make a Commercial Out of It

Not everybody will have the resources to create a retractable floor or a faux news station to broadcast in the airport but these ideas are still valid for entertainment’s sake, if nothing else. In diving into the hilarious world of practical joke guerrilla marketing campaigns, you will notice a non-US trend involved, especially in the more effective campaigns such as the examples shown below.   One can assume this is likely because of the tendency for everybody in the US to feel the need to immediately file lawsuits because of the permanent emotional distress which was violently inflicted upon them as a result of the practical jokes involved.  Then again, I’m sure the examples shown below are easier to watch than they would be as the target.

North Face Korea – ‘Never Stop Exploring’ Campaign

In this guerilla marketing campaign, a retractable floor was built into the new North Face building and set up to retract into the walls as customers were shopping.  The results are hilarious and the budget was obviously not much of an issue for this.  Then again, it does help when you just happen to be building a rock climbing facility inside of your newly constructed building.

Nivea Airport Prank – Stress Test Commercial

For the new Nivea Stress Protect Deodorant brand, the company went through some pretty amazing hoops to take over the airport news broadcast and to produce fake newspaper articles in an effort to stress out the victims of  the prank.

LG TV 84 – Asteroid Prank

This one is pretty awesome and definitely clarifies the concept of why these companies go through the great lengths that they do in executing these guerilla marketing tactics on non-US soil.  “LOL.”


Hopefully these ideas have given you some inspiration to create guerrilla marketing tactics which can be used to grow your own business, or at least gave you some laughter.   If you are looking for marketing ideas for your own business be sure to contact me, request a free digital marketing report and/or learn more about me.  The digital marketing report provides me with the opportunity to evaluate your business and situation, allowing me to create and ultimately propose solutions to maximize your business exposure, streamline your workflow and/or simplify your life.  Whether you are looking for a web designer, digital marketing solutions specialist or email marketing services, I can help create powerful campaigns to grow your business and online visibility.  

TTFN