In 1984, marketer Jay Conrad Levinson introduced the formal term in his book called, “Guerrilla Marketing”. Guerrilla Marketing is a non-traditional advertising strategy designed for companies that want to promote their products or services in an unconventional way with a small budget. It relies heavily on unconventional marketing strategy, energy and creativity.
Companies need to be very careful with their guerrilla stunts because if it fails it can become a PR nightmare. If you’re relatively new to marketing then a Guerrilla stunt isn’t the best choice for you. Levinson, the “creator” of Guerrilla Marketing suggests that campaigns need to be shocking, unique, outrageous and clever. It needs to create buzz.
Advantages of Guerrilla Marketing:
- It will get into consumers head and stay there because it is something different from the same advertising method that all the other brands use
- It’s almost always cheaper than traditional, classic advertising
- It allows you to be authentic and creative
- You get free media exposure, especially if you create something noteworthy that will get picked up by the news sources
- Consumers feel more “connected” and engaged towards brands that use Guerrilla Marketing stunts
Disadvantages of Guerrilla Marketing:
- If your message isn’t clear then it can be misunderstood and create a negative effect. (Ex. 2007 Boston Mooninite Panic)
- If you’re new to Guerrilla Marketing then you might have to deal with unpredictable obstacles such as bad weather, bad timing, bad people, etc
- Needs a lot of preparation and expertise to create a successful Guerrilla stunt
As you can see, the advantages overweigh the disadvantages and most likely your business will benefit from a creative Guerrilla Marketing strategy.
Guerrilla Marketing Examples:
1. McDonald’s: Created a playable paper place-bat (McTrax) that allows their fans to test their creativity and increase their engagement with their brand. McDonald’s with the help of TBWA Amsterdam was able to create a paper placemat that when paired with a smartphone, became a playable music station in which people could mix and create their own tracks. We love it!
2. Thrillist: The creative guerrilla spot shows CrossFit Games competitor Kenneth Leverich done up in elaborate makeup to look like an old man, crashing Muscle Beach to show those young whippersnapper weightlifters a thing or two. It was produced by Thrillist’s video team and it’s part of a campaign titled Thrillist and Smith & Forge Present Hard Won.
3. Pay with a smile: The agency baked several hundred cookies and outfitting an old fold mustang and took to the streets at peak hours in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and “sold” the cookies for a low price of a smile. The campaign not only spreads happiness but it probably built awareness around the new company.
4. Colgate: Creates toothbrush-shaped wooden Popsicle sticks to inset into ice cream bars, reminding children (and adults) of the importance of brushing. Presumably the importance of brushing with Colgate.