Top 10 Guerilla Marketing Tactics

Top 10 Guerilla Marketing Tactics

Let’s face it- the first thing that will probably come to your mind when you hear of the word “guerilla” is probably raids and ambushes. However, this is not the case when talking of guerilla marketing. It is not a combative term but an advertising strategy where brands use an unconventional approach to promote products or services.

Guerrilla marketing is popular among marketers since it is relatively low-cost. It is a creative and intellectual way of marketing. Compared to reusing your existing marketing materials, such as taking sections of a report and developing them into a blog post, guerilla marketing is a time investment rather than a monetary one (or not a lot of money).

Even so, what are some of the guerilla tactics you can integrate that will ensure you stay ahead of your competitors? Read on for a detailed insight into some of the top guerilla marketing tactics to boost your business. 

But first! 

What is Guerilla Marketing? 

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Guerrilla marketing is a collection of marketing tools, tactics, and practices designed to interact with customers personally and create a lasting, unforgettable impression. Guerrilla marketing’s ultimate goal is to persuade buyers to recall a brand’s items in ways they aren’t used.

It is, at its best, the ideal way to connect online and offline customers. It gives you targeted physical exposure through foot traffic that may be as specific as the place you want, as well as the online buzz from people talking about and sharing your marketing on Instagram, Snapchat, blogs, and other social media platforms.

If your proposal is interesting enough, you could get press attention or even go viral if you’re in the right place at the right moment for the right person.

Compared to most Internet marketing tactics, it can be challenging to apply the granular “do, measure, improve” strategy to offline guerilla marketing. Your ingenuity and execution will determine the success or failure of your guerilla marketing concepts. 

Here are some general considerations to keep in mind before choosing this approach:

  • Guerrilla marketing can be hit or miss- depending on whether your innovation provides people with a cause to stop and think. The better your idea and the more well-thought-out response approach, the more likely your marketing will succeed.
  • Consider the type of traffic and where you can obtain not only maximum exposure. Besides, check on the exposure to the proper people as well.
  • Don’t irritate people or break the law- Because these approaches are forceful, they can turn off customers and hurt your brand if misused. Do activities that make people happy.
  • Unexpected variables like weather, theft and noise can all obstruct the execution of a successful campaign.
  • The tactic can be used to supplement your online marketing efforts and vice versa- People should be able to make the connection between your offline and internet marketing. It’s better if they know your brand’s name so that they can know what to look up on Google.

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Guerrilla marketing operates by repurposing your audience’s current environment in specific ways. Examine it and determine which parts may be reconditioned and include your brand.

Note that even if you succeed in capturing attention, the main problem is finding creative materials that effectively communicate about your brand or send the desired message.

As previously mentioned, there are a plethora of options to integrate when it comes to marketing. Here are a few guerilla marketing strategies and tips to get you started.

  • Experimental Marketing

Experiential marketing is a guerrilla marketing strategy that encourages and engages customers to participate in the growth and success of a business. Compared to the traditional marketing model, where customers are passive participants in receiving advertising messages, experiential marketers believe that customers should be active participants in a marketing campaign.

Marketers use creative marketing to encourage the co-creation of a marketing campaign to help customers develop an emotional attachment and solid relationship with a business. This attachment leads to a beneficially mutualistic relationship. The brand secures regular business, and a customer has access to products and services they love and honestly believe in.

Example: The Fun Theory


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For instance, Volkswagen invented the term “the fun theory” to market their brand. The concept entailed having people’s regular behaviour patterns disrupted and encouraged to do something out of the ordinary.

The Volkswagen team achieved this by designing a piano staircase that leads into and out of a subway station. The escalator was located next to the stairs, and it was intended to break commuters’ routines of taking the escalator. Instead, they walked up or down the stairs while listening to music. As a result, the musical staircase led to an increase of stair use by 66%.

You may be puzzled as to why Volkswagen opted to take this approach. It doesn’t seem very car company-like. However, this experiential marketing strategy is so brilliant that it connects with people’s emotions. In this case, their need fun. Associating your business with feeling in this way can be massively beneficial. It bolsters relationships with customers that are long-lasting and quite loyal.

  • Street Marketing 

People don’t expect to see street marketing in places they don’t expect to see it. Consumers expect to see advertisements on billboards high in the sky and on eye-level screens as they walk down city streets.

Even so, they rarely anticipate seeing advertisements printed on utility hole covers, incorporated into street art, or emblazoned across street crosswalks.

For instance, Nike’s “Just do it” stance and trademark are well-known. As a result, this abstract bench acts as a symbol for the company’s philosophy. 

With its history of commercials, NIKE presents the perfect guerrilla marketing example, along with its brand personality of pushing one’s limits.

Okay, I’m sure no one on the metro that day was thrilled to see this. However, I believe most of us would agree that it does a fantastic job of emphasizing the benefit, don’t you?

I’m confident that anyone who came across this escalator was reminded of the brand’s motto and was “forced” to take the stairs, kicking off their workout.

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Example: it Movie’s Red balloon 


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The guerrilla marketing strategy gained popularity after the red balloon’s association with Pennywise- the evil clown who preys on children in Stephen King’s best-selling novel It. 

The innovative guerilla marketing effort for horror movies was received with excitement and fear, especially on social media, with people calling it “awesomely frightening.”

After using the balloon marketing strategy, the sewer-dwelling clown in the movie wasn’t the only memorable character in the film. The red balloon became a powerful symbol for the movie.

The strategy showed that it is not necessary to spend a lot of money on guerilla marketing strategies. An innovative marketing approach such as a balloon, white paint, and a piece of thread might be all you require.

  • Graffiti and Posters

Advertising space can be costly to rent. However, there are other options. Posters, graffiti art, window clings, you name it. You can use your property or borrow someone else’s to establish a physical presence.

For example, putting up a captivating post on a community bulletin board can help you target foot traffic. However, make sure to respect the city’s rules. You can even gain authorization to utilize a wall for sponsored graffiti art.

Another instance is when marketers used graffiti to promote Justin Bieber’s album. Street walls were painted in almost every town across the world.


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Despite the lack of prominent branding, admirers discovered these spots and came to them to take photos next to the artwork. Most importantly, ensure you ask for permission to do these things before doing things that will make others pause, stare, consider, and share their thoughts. 

You can also consider doing reverse graffiti when marketers remove dirt and mud from a street or wall instead of adding it to create an all-natural marking statement. 

You only need to draw a stencil on the sidewalk and then wash the areas that aren’t covered. One of the most prominent enterprises to pursue this method is Domino’s Pizza.

  • Buzz Marketing 

Buzz marketing is the opposite of astroturfing. It takes advantage of real endorsements, especially from high-profile individuals or celebrities, to raise brand knowledge and exposure.

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Unlike astroturfing, high-profile endorsements and recommendations happen naturally and organically, with no cost to the company. Technically, buzz marketing focuses on amplified and organic word-of-mouth, leveraging the brand’s buzz to establish the product or service as a must-have.

It can be highly effective, but it can be challenging to develop because it usually occurs without notice or encouragement. However, as difficult as it is to achieve, buzz marketing is highly cost-effective because it is naturally occurring- an occurrence that takes little intervention.

Here are two types of buzz marketing:

    • Strange marketing – Experiment with different marketing approaches. Something a little weird and unusual is another excellent method to get people talking about your company and urge them to share your content with their friends.
    • Controversial content — People enjoy a little bit of controversy, and something a little bit scandalous is fun to talk about. Why not take advantage of this and generate content that gets people talking?

Example: Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola is undoubtedly the most famous example of guerrilla marketing. They collaborated with FIFA, the Soccer World Cup, and the Olympic Games, placed customer names on packaging to drive purchases, and even composed catchy songs like “Hilltop” to ensure the success of their marketing initiatives.

However, nothing could be more shocking than their frank and unexpected admission that their products have contributed to the health decline of many Americans.

“We’re using our marketing skills to educate consumers about the significance of making informed decisions on balancing calories in and calories out,” they stated in a series of adverts. and “We’re also informing folks about all we’re doing to encourage them to live active, healthy lives…”

This isn’t the kind of message you’d expect to hear from Coca-Cola. But, well, it certainly attracted people’s attention and the media’s attention. Critics from the Guardian, USA Today, and Food Politics have all written about the campaign and published articles about it.

This guerrilla marketing strategy was clearly out of the norm, and it was undoubtedly the exact opposite of what most people would expect from Coca-Cola. However, the campaign’s beauty is that it got people and the media talking, propagated the company’s new look attitude, and is an excellent example of buzz marketing.

Astroturfing is one of the more contentious and, in some cases, less tactful guerilla marketing techniques. Astroturf marketing uses bogus endorsements to imitate social evidence, just like astroturf is false grass that mimics the real thing.

The most apparent form of astroturfing we see in modern marketing is some hype or exposure. This buzz is frequently created through online blogs, online forums, or even in the workplace.

Individuals are also paid to publish favourable reviews, give good testimonials, or write good comments about a company’s products or services on social networking platforms.

These reviewers have frequently never utilized or purchased anything from this firm; their sole purpose is to provide content to urge others to contribute money to the astroturfing organization. It’s crucial to recognize that astroturfing has some significant disadvantages.

When potential customers learn about this marketing plan, it typically leaves a sour taste in their mouths, which can have significant consequences for the organization. It has the potential to harm their reputation, the validity of their products and services and, in the worst-case scenario, lead to legal action.

Example: McDonald’s 

McDonald’s, for example, admitted to compensating about 1,000 customers. Customers queued for a quarter pounder in one of McDonald’s Japanese locations, looking as if they couldn’t wait to get their hands on one of the fast-food giant’s most famous burgers.

  • Geo-fencing

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Geo-fencing is a new tech that leverages your smartphone’s GPS to provide you with exclusive material or experiences if you’re in a specific place.

Snapchat’s On-Demand service Custom Geo-filters is a good example, and it’s given the platform a new type of location-based marketing. Uploading your own is also inexpensive—as little as $10 in some situations.

As users swipe through filters when creating a snap, these custom filters provide you with the opportunity to make an impression on users in a specific area or at an event. If the filters are exciting or relevant, they may even use them and share them with their followers.

Instagram recently took a similar strategy by allowing users to submit Stories under Hashtags and Locations for others to check in on. These location tags may get detailed, so if you’re marketing a local business or event, they’re worth looking into.

One of the best instances of blurring online and offline marketing is geofencing with social media. It encourages users to post local offline moments for online consumption.

Example: Taco Bell

Taco Bell, for example, employed an On-Demand Custom Geofilter to promote the launch of their Quesalupa, which visitors and influencers could use at specified places attending the launch party, thereby allowing them to share the offline experience with their followers.

  • Sticker Marketing

What is more likely to become stuck on a laptop? Is it possible to get a sticker that only has your logo on it? Or how about a sticker with your logo and a humorous, amusing, or even encouraging message? 

Of course, it’s the latter. So, instead of just putting your logo on them, go a little more creative if you want to boost the odds of people placing your stickers on their belongings and getting as many eyes on them as possible. 

You may even have blank sections printed on the stickers so that individuals may write their sentiments. A professionally produced sticker with the phrase already on it is more likely to be utilized.

Technically, because most people do not consider stickers to be advertising, they are an excellent way to market your business. Most people enjoy stickers, and if you give them one, even if it only displays your company’s logo, they will regard it as a present rather than an advertisement. 

When someone places stickers of your brand on a personal item, they express their support for your brand to the rest of the world. 

Few forms of advertising achieve the same level of success as word-of-mouth advertising, which is why stickers are so effective.

Besides, they are a low-cost way to promote your business. Some people even utilize their video gaming consoles and other personal items such as a canvas to display their favourite companies.

What’s more, the stickers can be given away with other freebies or at events to provide your audience with the chance to put your brand in a variety of areas.

It’s always fascinating to find stickers you’ve distributed stuck to the most inconvenient surfaces, such as the roof of a bus or the side of a bar table.

The stickers can also be used to market a message in a specific spot, such as pasting your logo somewhere noticeable to attract additional followers. However, be cautious not to irritate people in the process, as this can harm your brand.

Example: Reddit


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Reddit attracts over 1 billion unique visitors each month. However, it wasn’t always so popular a couple of years ago. The company had a $500 advertising budget when it was founded. Because the founders recognized they had few options, they turned to stickers. 

They slapped stickers on posts and signage all over the place as they travelled. They even asked folks to “sticker responsibly” when they gave them out. The sticker campaign was successful, and it spawned other grassroots movements that contributed to Reddit’s current prominence.

  • Stealth Marketing

Stealth marketing is a guerilla marketing campaign that uses discreet and inventive marketing methods to reach customers. This type of marketing frequently advertises a product or service to a person unaware that they are being advertised to.

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Product placement and undercover marketing are two of the most well-known technique methods employed by stealth marketers.

The primary purpose of stealth marketing is to raise awareness, curiosity, and excitement about a brand and its products rather than generate quick income or sales. Consumers will be more open to direct advertising as a result of this advertising strategy in the future. It’s also a low-cost marketing tactic that can be pretty beneficial to a company.

Marketers can avoid frequent and costly marketing exposure by using guerilla marketing campaigns like stealth marketing and instead focus on cost-effective techniques like product placement. Below are examples of stealth marketing:

    • Product placement- It is the integration of a paid product into another piece of art. Typically, it can be a film or a television show with a specific promotional goal.
    • Undercover Marketing – When a marketer or advertiser exposes a product to consumers in a way that does not appear to be marketing, it is referred to as undercover marketing. It’s a little unusual and deceptive, but it can be an effective marketing tactic.

Example: Starbucks


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In 2015, Starbucks sparked a global debate about the design of its annual Christmas cups, resulting in a widespread backlash.

Every year, the coffee company releases a new design for their holiday cups. Some criticized that year’s plan as too subtle, too simple, and even not Christmassy enough!

Pundits, buyers, and critics all voiced their dissatisfaction with the absence of ornate cup design. The entire affair sparked a big media frenzy about the product all around the world.

The dispute was later revealed to be a hoax: very few people truly disliked the cup, but the uproar helped Starbucks’ sales to skyrocket.

  • Event Ambush Marketing

This is perhaps one of the strangest marketing concepts you’ve ever heard. But bear with me: event ambush marketing capitalizes on the attention of a captive audience actively attending an event. Usually at a sporting event, a music performance, or even in a metro station.

A person in this predicament is either hesitant to leave because they have paid to be there or is so engrossed in what is going on in front of them that they cannot look away. These kinds of situations provide guerilla marketers with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. They get their audience’s involuntary but undivided attention.

The initial costs of event ambush marketing aren’t so high. An event ambush frequently takes place without the authorization of the event sponsor. As a result, it is a low-cost, high-impact marketing strategy. 

Here are other methods you can use in event ambush marketing:

    • Tactically placed signs — Just because you aren’t an event sponsor doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of large crowds converging on a single location. The usage of signage outside of an event or on the streets can be pretty practical.
    • Flash mobs — A flash mob is a group of people or performers who assault a public location, bring attention to themselves, perform for a short period, and then immediately disperse.

Example: Samsung vs. iPhone  

In October of 2011, when Apple was planning to release the iPhone 4S, the most recent edition of its flagship mobile handset, Samsung chose to disrupt its party by establishing a pop-up store. 

It was located just a few feet away from Apple’s iconic storefront in Sydney, Australia, where the product launch was supposed to be one of the year’s most keenly anticipated tech events.

While anxious Apple enthusiasts awaited the new iPhone with bated breath, Samsung continued to offer their Galaxy SII handset for just $2 AUS, which was relatively cheap compared to Apple’s $850 iPhone.

  • Freebies- Give Away Free Samples

Samples are an excellent way to get your items into the hands of potential customers, for instance. If you work part-time in a store, you can give away gift samples such as yoghurt, coffee, chocolate bars, or whatever else you please.

On good days, you can choose to turn one product into numerous samples and sell out the entire stock of the product. It will be much easier to persuade individuals to buy after they have tried than something new. In addition, you can categorize the products as a marketing expense.

Using this tactic reinforces two things:

    • Everyone enjoys receiving gifts
    • People feel obligated to offer you something in return after being given something. It can be a few minutes of their time to learn about your product.

You can use a similar strategy on a larger or smaller scale, such as giving away samples at events or fairs where the proper people will be present—or finding a small group of influencers to recommend your product if they enjoy it.

You can also form co-marketing partnerships to distribute your samples alongside the products of another company. All you need to do is ensure that your pieces have enough information for others to contact you later on the internet. 

Also, while you’re out selling, take advantage of any opportunity to educate as many people as possible.

Example: Peruvian Dairy

A Peruvian dairy company used meal delivery hand-offs to increase cheese sampling. It hired Vespa drivers to hang out outside Italian restaurants in Lima, Peru. Whenever someone left one of these restaurants with a delivery order, the Live Vespa drivers followed them to the customer’s house, knocked on the same door, and handed the resident a pack of parmesan cheese to go with their meal.

The ad produced 4.5 million interactions, including 63,800 shares, 22,100 comments, and 800,000 likes on social media, according to McCann Worldgroup, Lima, the agency behind the Persecución a la Italiana (Italian Persecution) campaign.

What Next?

Make sure you’ve done your homework before launching your guerrilla marketing campaign.

Examine your competitors’ ad history, claims, and guerilla marketing strategies. 

After that, plan out your strategy based on your brand values and where you want your brand to be in the near future.

Technically, guerrilla marketing is a very effective marketing style that, when properly handled, can be a low-cost yet effective marketing approach for your company to go ahead of the competition.

Throw in a few unconventional approaches, a negligible risk, and be prepared to be controversial, just like any good guerilla fighter. You’ll be well on your road to growing your company to new heights.

Guerilla Marketing Pros and Cons

Guerilla marketing has its benefits and disadvantages. Below are some of these pros and cons to help you make your consideration before moving forward with a marketing campaign.


  • Execution is cheap- Guerrilla marketing is far less expensive than traditional advertising, whether it’s done with a basic stencil or a giant sticker.
  • Word-of-mouth spreads- Guerrilla marketing is highly reliant on word-of-mouth marketing, which is often regarded as one of the most effective tools in a marketer’s armoury. Nothing beats encouraging people to talk about your campaign on their initiative.
  • Makes it possible to think creatively- When it comes to guerrilla marketing, creativity takes precedence above budget.


  • It’s easy to misinterpret mysterious messages- Guerrilla marketing efforts frequently have a sense of mystery about them. While this mystery can help a campaign gain attention and notice, the lack of clarity can also cause audience interpretation to be skewed.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that a good guerrilla marketing campaign will elicit powerful emotions from consumers and potential customers by utilizing various experimental advertising strategies that create an unforgettable experience.

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Many elements of guerrilla marketing are enjoyable, which contributes to the campaign’s success. Besides, businesses and brands are more likely to end up with an upgraded and lucrative company when thorough research is undertaken and the marketing campaign is correctly prepared. 

MediaOne Marketing is a top boutique digital marketing agency known for helping businesses scale up through stellar digital marketing services. Get in touch with us today for more details. 

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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