What is guerrilla marketing?

When you think of the word ‘guerrilla’ you might think of warfare and the actions or activities of a small group of combatants involved in irregular military tactics including ambushes, raids, surprise attacks and sabotage, amongst others. These smaller groups are usually fighting larger and less mobile enemies with their unique tactics the key to their success.

So, what does this have to do with marketing? More than you think. Apply these tactics to the marketing world and you get innovative and creative marketing campaigns that create highly memorable interactions with their viewers. These unique, unexpected and sometimes shocking marketing methods create memorable brand awareness not only for large companies but small businesses as well. This kind of marketing can fit any market as the below examples show.

Firstly, let’s look at Vodafone’s mobile phone insurance campaign. In order to help people see how important mobile phone insurance is Vodafone hired professional pickpockets to put leaflets into places where people would keep their phones without them noticing. The leaflets promoting Vodafone insurance were placed in unsuspecting people’s bags, pockets and purses to make them realise how easy it can be to have your phone stolen.


Another guerrilla marketing campaign was instigated to advertise King Kong 3D, a Universal Studios attraction. Enormous footprints were created in the sand along Santa Monica Beach, and a crushed lifeguard vehicle left there as well, making it look like King Kong had been there himself. The aim of this was to generate excitement and publicity around the opening of the attraction and I’m sure anyone who saw the marketing first hand won’t forget it in a hurry! This extraordinary scene would have stuck in anybody’s memory.


The makers of the film, The Blair Witch Project, carried out a guerilla marketing campaign for the film. In this instance, guerrilla marketing techniques were used because the film was put together by a few film students with a camera on a minimal budget. They created and spread rumours of the Blair Witch using an internet campaign. By using the Blair Witch website as well as internet forums, they were able to keep people talking and foster a buzz around the film before it was released. The campaign went viral, leading to the huge success of the film. Their commitment to the mystery and horror element of the film even extended to the three actors in the film being listed as missing or presumed dead on IMDb before the film’s release. Some fans were so convinced of the Blair Witch’s existence that they tried to hunt for the witch themselves. Creepy!


“Guerrilla marketers do not rely on the brute force of an outsized marketing budget. Instead, they rely on the brute force of a vivid imagination.”

Jay Conrad Levinson, best-selling author of Guerrilla Marketing,