| Read time 15 min read

What is Guerilla Marketing?

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What is Guerilla Marketing?

Read time 15 min read
What is Guerilla Marketing

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What is Guerilla Marketing?

Guerilla marketing is a type of marketing to achieve maximum results when promoting a service or business by using unconventional tactics. Numerous individuals ask, is guerilla marketing illegal? The answer is no. This type of marketing is focused on shock, creativity and surprise. You do not need a large budget for guerilla marketing. It is a great strategy for small enterprises and businesses and startups. This type of marketing is more personal and can humanize large brands. 

No matter how small or large your company, creating some buzz and excitement about your brand is a good idea. Jay Levinson coined the term guerilla marketing in his book Guerilla Advertising. The word guerilla is a symbol for guerilla warfare which relies on irregular tactics from the armed militia. The most common types of guerilla warfare strategies include raids, ambushes, surprise elements and sabotage. These strategies are applied to the marketing battlefield. 

Guerilla marketing is intended to make a lasting impression on your customers by shattering their expectations. If you are not receiving your desired results from traditional marketing, guerilla marketing tactics might be ideal because they thrive on creativity and unique planning to make every campaign different. 

Guerilla Marketing Examples 2021

There are several basic types of gorilla marketing with each one offering your business different strategies including: 

Street Marketing

Street marketing takes place outside and includes street elements to make a statement. A good example is McDonald’s because the company used guerilla marketing to boost sales and capture the attention of its target audience. The chips crossing campaign used memorable street art to make kids want french fries and a happy meal. For example:

What is Guerilla Marketing

(Image Credit: Engaging Guerrillas)

Ambient Marketing

This is when you promote products by interfering with the natural flow. A good example is increasing awareness of your brand with ads in unconventional places. The idea is to enhance your brand visibility by capturing the attention of consumers. For instance:

What is Guerilla Marketing

Ambush Marketing

This is when you use the audience at an event to promote your service or products. A good example is a marketing campaign promoting an important project. A low-cost campaign often prevents the need for an expensive promotional campaign through shock value. 

Guerilla Projections

This type of guerilla marketing plan is ideal for retail stores to increase brand awareness and foot traffic. You generate buzz using hidden projectors for high-traffic streets and high-rise buildings. If you have an online business, this is a good option for increasing visibility and organic traffic. For example:

What is Guerilla Marketing

(Image Credit: Immersive-me)

Viral Marketing

A viral marketing campaign spreads unbelievably quickly. For viral marketing, you need word of mouth and a smart and creative campaign to impress your audience. A good example is the guerilla marketing strategy used by the Dollar Shave Club resulting in 12,000 orders in just 48 hours. 

Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing is also referred to as live marketing and participation marketing. You create a pop-up experience so immersive consumers want to breathe, live and talk about your brand. Volkswagen used this strategy for an interactive piano campaign. The company engaged its audience, increased awareness and entertained consumers. Even though cars and pianos have nothing in common, this campaign increased consumer awareness of products friendly to the environment. 

Elements of a Good Guerilla Marketing Plan

A good guerilla marketing campaign includes specific characteristics and does not require a large marketing budget. Some of the best characteristics include:

You will be interested

  • Guerilla marketing must be well-timed and not expected by your target audience.
  • A good campaign must be highly targeted regarding the launch and location.
  • Guerilla marketing generates buzz but will not replace ads or promotions.
  • If your campaign has been used before it is not authentic or guerilla marketing. 
  • Your first execution must be perfect.

Marketing Tips for a Successful Guerilla Campaign

There are numerous concepts you can use for guerilla marketing but it is not effective by itself. Guerilla marketing needs to be part of a good marketing plan. There are specific concepts you need to include in your marketing strategy including:

  • You need to understand your target audience, where they are found and use the correct space. This enables you to offer your audience the maximum experience. 
  • Your campaign requires an original concept. If your idea is similar to any other concept or brand you need to move on. Create something surprising and new to capture the attention of your audience. 
  • Constantly search for ideas for your next campaign. Share ideas among your team, think creatively and inspire your team with a mood board. 
  • Your content must always be relevant with excellent execution to ensure your brand remains in the spotlight. Use current trends to capture the minds and hearts of your audience. 
  • An interactive campaign almost always sells because consumers feel involved. Encouraging your audience to participate provides the feeling of contributing to something great. 
  • Even if you do everything right, viral campaigns do not always succeed. Whether you are using paid promotions, press releases or both to coordinate audience and influencer support, you need to plan every stage from the start
  • You need to determine how the success and performance of your guerilla marketing campaign will be measured from the start. You need to consider user engagement, sales, social media shares and brand recall.

The Best Examples of Guerilla Marketing

Guerilla marketing is meant to show your creativity and resourcefulness. You need to change the way consumers perceive your brand for a memorable experience and lasting impact. Some of the best guerilla marketing examples 2021 include the following. 

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The key to successful guerilla marketing tactics is the embodiment or incorporation of brand values. Nike is well-known for the tagline Just Do It. This enhances the motto of the company and is clever enough to boost brand identity. The history of Nike ads is an excellent example of guerilla marketing because it pushes limits and is consistent with the personality of the brand. 

Nike ads reinforce the connection between the determination of the target audience and the brand. This type of campaign is a great option whether you have a small or large business. Nike has effectively used guerilla marketing to not only increase brand awareness but sales as well. Here is an example of street marketing done by Nike:

What is Guerilla Marketing

Marvel Studios

If you have looked at any social media site, you have seen numerous posts promoting new Marvel merchandise and superhero movies. Marvel Studios is now a part of Disney and Disney has shared news regarding Marvel action movies on LinkedIn. The guerilla marketing strategies used by Marvel are based on creativity. The endless possibilities of superheroes are portrayed beautifully in the campaigns.

A great example is the hilarious marketing strategy to promote a new movie starring Deadpool on Tinder. This was clever since Deadpool is not a movie for kids. Tinder was the ideal platform to reach the older Marvel target audience. The unique charm of Deadpool was used by the marketing team for the creation of an effective, cost-effective and targeted campaign.

The older audience loved the hilarious campaign promoting one of their favorite Marvel characters. The success of the movie was partially due to the guerilla marketing campaign. Due to this strategy, the new Deadpool movie grossed $785 million. Take a look at the campaign below:

What is Guerilla Marketing

Sarova Hotels

Sarova Hotels used a creative guerilla marketing campaign to increase sales. The idea was to catch people’s attention with outrageous concepts such as a giant cat sitting on the road lights to increase wildlife awareness. Sarova Hotels incorporated environmental and social concerns regarding its business operations into its guerilla marketing campaign. 

Not only did the giant cat promote and raise awareness of the brand, but it also brought attention to the cause. If you are interested in raising brand awareness, consider using an outrageous image to draw attention to your brand and help consumers remember your campaign. For example:

What is Guerilla Marketing


Jeep used guerilla marketing to enhance consumer awareness regarding the outdoor qualities of the vehicle including powerful parking and driving features. The campaign uses an outdoor format as a demonstration of the power of Jeep. This campaign was slightly risky due to potential concerns regarding community respect and parking guidelines. Despite this, the campaign was both witty and provocative. 

Guerilla marketing displayed the positioning of the brand while establishing the relationship between the world and Jeep. Using this type of campaign will intrigue consumers because they picture themselves inside of the vehicle. Once your marketing campaign is discovered by Twitter, you have a trending hashtag. This means you receive more buzz, increased conversions and better awareness of your brand. The image below shows a picture of the Jeep campaign shared on Twitter:

What is Guerilla Marketing

(Image Credit: Twitter)


There are numerous guerilla marketing examples but Snapchat is one of the best because they used a campaign to break through a saturated market. Social media giants are dominating the digital world making this difficult to accomplish. Snapchat had to make enough noise to open the door. The marketing was clever and used giant billboards filled with nothing but the Snapchat logo. For instance:

What is Guerilla Marketing

By using just a logo, Snapchat built hype and intrigued its potential viewers. This type of campaign enables companies to enter the world of competitive dominant businesses. Since neither consumers or the business world were aware of what the logo was all about and represented, Snapchat took their competitors by surprise. Displaying the ghost-app logo on giant billboards created hype. 

The result was thousands of consumers googling the Snapchat brand. Google is an incredibly important concept for the majority of modern campaigns. Even when consumers were conducting Google searches for a white and ghost yellow background, they were still able to find Snapchat. This made the best possible use of momentum. After the launch, influencers posted and sent press releases to benefit from increased traffic. 

Snapchat has since become an incredibly popular social media platform. This is especially true for younger audiences. Smart guerrilla marketing tactics led to success. Snapchat for business enabled the platform to successfully compete with both Instagram and Facebook. 

IT Movie

The IT movie is an exceptional example of guerilla marketing. The campaign ensured if you were not already familiar with Pennywise the clown from Stephen King, you would be. The iconic clown living in the sewer is only one important concept of the movie. The red balloon also has a strong link to It. When the marketing team considered the importance of the red balloon, a new idea was promoted for the release of the film. 

If you search for red balloons on Amazon, you will discover you can purchase a package of 120 for $9. The reverse graffiti can be made using white spray paint selling for approximately $6. The letter stencils will cost you $5. This means the street marketing campaign for Stephen King’s It cost around $20. By no means can this be considered big-budget advertising but it was incredibly effective. This is the finished result:

What is Guerilla Marketing

Running a social ad costs a lot more than $20. The point is you do not have to spend a lot of money for an effective guerrilla marketing campaign if you are creative. It became famous due to a red balloon, a piece of string and white paint. Once people discovered the campaign, they started taking pictures to post on Twitter. Once hashtags were added almost everyone became familiar with the clown from It. 

You can still find pictures of the clown on social media. Once someone using social media discovers your guerrilla marketing campaign and starts posting on social media, awareness of your brand will spread incredibly fast. That is what guerilla marketing is all about. 

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Raising the Roof

When consumers stroll down the street, they look at what is pleasing to the eye such as vibrant flowers or a beautiful window display. People will continue walking down the same road to get lunch or window shop when they are happy with their surroundings. You can use this concept to effectively promote your brand. Raising the Roof is a campaign against homelessness that used this strategy for guerilla marketing. 

A white space was placed everywhere someone homeless would be. This concept forced consumers to see the image of someone homeless in their minds. Location was critical for this campaign so areas people expected to see the homeless were targeted to increase the impact. This is an excellent technique because it alerts everyone passing by to increase awareness of the homeless. The reason this is considered gorilla include:

  • The posters were straightforward, low-cost and plain
  • People changed the way they viewed the homeless
  • Locations were used where the homeless would sit

What is Guerilla Marketing

(Image Credit: Grassroots Advertising Inc.)

Science World

How would you feel if your favorite park was replaced with a parking lot or condominium complex? What would you do to ensure people were aware of what happened? You might place environmentalists and volunteers outside of bus stations and supermarkets to make people aware of your movement. This is an excellent representation of the guerrilla marketing strategy used in a video by Kimmy Schmidt. 

For her Unbreakable Kimmy Schmid show on Netflix, Kimmy wanted to avoid reporters waiting outside of the court. Titus Andromedon made this possible by asking a question to ensure all of the reporters left. In this instance, volunteers and handouts would have been useless. This means if you want to make an impact, you need to use creative thinking to come up with a solution. 

Science World used a concept similar to taking a short ride in the Tardis from Doctor Who in a park without a single tree. The idea Science World used for its guerrilla marketing campaign raised environmental awareness. When people realize how many trees are being cut down, many will decide to take action to put a stop to it. People will also realize they were never asked for their opinions.

This concept is the trigger that moves people forward. The tree campaign used by Science World was inspiring, brilliant and extremely successful because it was creative. Here is another example of a campaign Science World did involving trees:

What is Guerilla Marketing

How to Identify Guerilla Marketing Campaigns

Just because something you see makes you stop does not mean it qualifies as guerrilla marketing. Exceptional marketing also catches your attention and makes you stop. To understand what qualifies as guerilla marketing, the distinctions are extremely important. The characteristics of your campaign combined with your guerilla marketing ideas determine whether or not it is considered to be guerilla marketing. The most important components include:

  • The way you use ad space needs to be creative and unconventional
  • Your ad space is paid
  • Convention ad space is used for your ad in an unconventional way
  • You do not need to use words to make your point to the public
  • You need to communicate the same message as your competitors within the industry
  • Your message must be fresh and compelling in the way it is communicated

When you include the above concepts with creativity, the result is an effective and compelling campaign.

Diib®: Check Your Guerilla Marketing Stats Today!

No matter the marketing tactics you decide on, you’ll want to monitor the success and effectiveness of your marketing. Diib Digital offers a comprehensive dashboard that will give you statistics on your guerilla marketing campaigns along with other features such as:

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A guerrilla attack in marketing is a strategy that incorporates creative techniques that help to build public awareness surrounding a person, place, product or even a social issue.

Believe it or not, this is a question we get. And it isn’t a form of combative communication or ambush. Rather, it is an unconventional form of inbound marketing that, as we said above, raises awareness surrounding an issue.

Demographic segmentation is dividing a market according to age, gender, race, education level, income level, family status and size and/or religion. This is extremely effective as it allows you to more accurately organize your campaign.

These are budget friendly ways to target specific demographics, neighborhoods, age ranges, ethnic communities or other specialized groups of people.

This is the way of putting certain products or services in front of audiences with certain aspirations, ideals or aesthetics. In other words, it means brand marketing to audiences that identify with a certain way of life.


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Daniel Urmann

Author Bio:

Daniel Urmann is the co-founder of Diib.com. Over the past 17 years Daniel has helped thousands of business grow online through SEO, social media, and paid advertising. Today, Diib helps over 150,000 business globally grow online with their SaaS offerings. Daniel’s interest include SMB analytics, big data, predictive analytics, enterprise and SMB search engine optimization (SEO), CRO optimization, social media advertising, A/B testing, programatic and geo-targeting, PPC, and e-commerce. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) focused in Finance and E-commerce from Cornell University – S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management.

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