Guerrilla Marketing: 12 Awesome Examples to Learn From
This post was last updated on December 5th, 2019.
After you’ve spent countless hours on designing and refining your stunning website and it’s been unleashed unto the world, it’s time to market it. Marketing comes in several different forms, from basic print ads to Google Ads, to the more creative methods on TV. One of the most interesting of the latter methods would be guerrilla marketing. While the technique may seemingly be designated for larger companies, it certainly didn’t start that way, nor does it need to be as grand as some of the examples you’ll find below.
What is guerrilla marketing?
Defined as, “innovative, unconventional, and low-cost marketing techniques aimed at obtaining maximum exposure for a product”(Oxford dictionary), this type of marketing deliver a “wow-factor” and as mentioned above, it is supposed to be cost-effective. It’s in-your-face, larger-than-life, and anything but subtle. It’s also an easy way for small businesses to get the word out without spending an arm and a leg. For your inspiration, we’ve compiled some of our favorite guerrilla marketing examples that you can learn a thing or two from.
01. Wix embraces its German name translation with billboard campaign
For Germans, Wix is a name that’s often laughed at due to its translation. If you sprechen sie Deutsch, Wix means “to wank.” Of course, not a brand to shy away from anything, Wix has done its part to make it known that it doesn’t care about the translation. In fact, it’s done the opposite.
In the past, Wix has addressed the translation of its name with a few online-only ads. Now it’s back with a completely new German billboard ad campaign. Fakten übers Wixen takes to the streets of Berlin and showcases facts about Wixing you never dared to ask.
The team behind the campaign saw interesting usage patterns of their German audience and decided to share their findings, in the most hilarious fashion.
Some of the fun facts you’ll see on the streets of Berlin:
Every 74 seconds another German is discovering the power of Wixing
The most popular day for Wixing is Tuesday.
In 2019 the number of Wixers in Berlin has grown by 32%
02. Frontline reminds us to keep looking at the big picture
The pet flea medication, Frontline made people walking across the floor advertisement look like the pest it is designed to eradicate. The method is clever due to the fact that the impact of the ad can really be effective only from certain angles. The ad successfully creates a form of accidental human interaction that reminds onlookers exactly what the product does.
03. Keep it Strange like Netflix
To promote the popular TV show Stranger Things during Halloween, Netflix cleverly crafted its own DIY doorbell that allows homeowners to continuing “treating” themselves to their scary movie night, while costumed trick-or-treaters can collect their candy outside. It’s a win-win for the parties on both sides of the door. The fact that this is a legitimate project you can build yourself is a bit hilarious, with all the appropriate files found at makeit.netflix.com. To continue the spookfest, the project files also include theme songs and scream sounds from both Black Mirror and American Horror Story alongside Stranger Things. You can watch the entire video right here:
04. IWC reminds your wrist it’s missing something
Watchmaker IWC utilized ambient marketing, another example of guerrilla marketing that cleverly uses elements of the environment for advertisements. IWC used bus handle straps on airport shuttle buses to push their timekeepers. While not everyone is going to hold the strap like this, it’s a clever and effective way to make a statement.
05. Break me off a piece of that sidewalk bench
KitKat utilized street benches to advertise their chocolate bar in the very place people would rest, echoing their tagline, “Have a break…Have a Kit Kat!” It’s simple, cost effective and impactful – all while staying on brand.
06. Copenhagen Zoo puts the squeeze on to visit
Guerrilla Marketing is all about maximum impact without having to “spell it out” to the onlooker. The point should get across easily with minimal words. As such, it doesn’t take much to “wrap your head” around the next example. The Copenhagen Zoo’s bus advertisement depicting a giant snake crushing a bus is both effective and telling. The message gets across with no additional explanation.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a giant animal bus takeover, as National Geographic did the same thing for Shark Week, hilariously placing the mouth of a great white across the bus doors:
07. Pepsi embraces augmented reality for bus stop prank
In the same realm, Pepsi focused on actual bus stops for its ad campaign. Utilizing augmented reality, practically in its quintessence, the rigged bus stop featured what looked like a regular glass pane offering a view onto the street. In reality, though, the screen was outfitted with cameras to project intricate animations, like running tigers, descending UFOs, and invading giant robots, onto the surrounding city block. Watch how waiting bus passengers reacted to the sight:
08. King Kong 3D marketers made the first move, the audiences did the rest
To promote King Kong 360 3D movie, colossal footprints were left in the sand on Santa Monica beach, with a crushed lifeguard SUV alongside them. While hardly a small gesture, it was the onlookers who made it go viral on social media, because… obviously.
09. It isn’t clowning around
Want to make a lasting impression? How about scaring an unsuspecting potential customer? Sure, this is a very risky method, but the best of these campaigns end in laughs, not tears. While gearing up for the 2017’s remake of clown horror movie It, select locations in Sydney, Australia were “victims” to some creepy and clever marketing around its sewer drains. A single, red, helium-filled balloon tied to the drains was enough to send most onlookers who have seen the trailer or are familiar with the “Georgie and the sailboat” scene running in the other direction. Or, if you’re like me, running towards it.
10. Manhattan’s ‘Carrie’ Cafe
Have a case of coulrophobia? In case clowns aren’t your thing, perhaps the prank advertisement for 2013’s Carrie remake is more up your alley. An elaborate set-up built within a coffee shop plus several actors portraying patrons show what happens when a telekinetic girl goes berserk when someone spills coffee on her computer. We guarantee you’ll be cracking up at your desk.
11. UNICEF’s dirty water machine
Guerrilla marketing’s high-impact effects aren’t always meant to be positive. Take UNICEF’s dirty water vending machine for example. In order to spread awareness about clean water (or lack thereof in certain areas of the world) UNICEF placed a water bottle vending machine in Manhattan. Said machine offered up discolored, “dirty” water, each of which with an afficting illness that can be contracted through contaminated water. Of course, the vending machine also served as a place that you could donate to provide clean water to children.
12. Keep things mysterious like Twin Peaks
Sometimes seeing isn’t enough to believe. Sometimes it takes an immersive experience to make believers out of potential customers. It’s for this reason that pop-up shops and live demonstrations can be so very effective. Sure the idea of a pop-up shop may sound expensive and intimidating but think of the people standing in front of their restaurant with free samples at a mall’s food court. It’s the same thing.
Providing an experience by showing people how your products work can woo your business customers, especially if you throw around the word “free” a couple of times. A good example of “giving an experience” was orchestrated around the 20-year follow up season of Showtime’s popular mystery TV show Twin Peaks. The studio created a pop-up diner in multiple locations, including LA and SXSW in Austin, TX, resembling the Double R Diner from the series. Inside, the expected staples, coffee and cherry pie were served in a nostalgic setup with memorabilia throughout.
By Blake Stimac
Community & Social Media Manager