What Are Examples of Guerrilla Marketing?
A company may use a ‘guerrilla marketing’ strategy—to make a strong impression, to interact with consumers, and ultimately to promote the product. There are many guerrilla marketing examples, but what exactly is guerrilla marketing? And how is it different from conventional marketing strategies?
The infographic above is an explainer on guerrilla marketing. It presents snapshots of interesting guerrilla marketing examples across different industries.
Guerrilla Marketing Explained
Simply put, guerrilla marketing is an advertisement strategy with impact. As the name suggests, it usually uses irregular and impromptu ways to promote products. Unlike traditional marketing, it doesn’t simply say, “This is good, you should buy this” kind of stuff. It straddles out-of-the-box ideas and product promotion.
There are many tactics in guerrilla marketing:
- Stealth marketing: advertising a product without people even realizing it;
- Buzz marketing: using high-profile media/celebrities to make people aware of a product;
- Viral marketing: similar to buzz marketing, but especially with the use of social media, creating exponential awareness of a product;
- Grassroots marketing: aiming to win a personal connection to build a long-term relationship with a customer;
- Street marketing: promoting a product in an unconventional way in public, which includes road shows, distributing products, and flash mobs.
Guerrilla marketing is often inexpensive but powerful enough to draw attention of potential customers. Previously, we have covered Burger King’s influencer marketing at no cost and Fiat’s love letter marketing. They both were a kind of these guerilla marketing strategies. So, here are other guerrilla marketing examples around the world.
“Carrie” Prank in a Coffee Shop | 2013 | USA
You must have come across this prank video shared by your friends if you use social media:
This hilarious video of a girl seemingly with supernatural power was a prank to promote the movie “Carrie” which was an American supernatural horror movie. The prank took place in a café in New York in 2013 with minute preparation. So the prank goes—an actor spills his coffee on an actress’s laptop, then she gets so mad and throws him onto the wall. And then she screams and tables and chairs moves away. Apparently she uses her supernatural power to make these happen.
Without realizing everything was a set-up, innocent customers got freaked out—yes, it was all set up. A marketing team built a fake brick wall to lift the actor who were to be thrown back by the actress with “supernatural power.” They set more gimmicks there; books were to fall of by a spring inside, and tables and chairs had remote controller underneath to move around.
The impact of this guerrilla marketing was obvious by the looks of the customers. Within one week after this prank video was released on YouTube, it gained over 30 million views. Of course, people shared the video on their socials and it spread across the globe.
Snake Squeezing a Copenhagen Bus! | 2009 | Denmark
A Danish zoo took a bold strategy to let its snakes wrap city buses in Copenhagen—just they weren’t real snakes but very high res pictures. It was so real that some Copenhagen commuters refused to get on the snake bus. Tourists would stop to take pictures of the buses and share them online, which led to more tourists wanting to catch the snake bus and asking ways to the zoo on online travel forums.
The objective of the art director of this guerrilla marketing was clear: it was to “make the most possible impact for a very small budget.” Indeed, it did make a great impact. The Copenhagen Zoo was proudly one of the most visited places in the country in 2010. And the art agency received several honourable awards.
This guerrilla marketing was so successful that more animals jumped on Copenhagen public transport the following year. Rhinoceros, lions, and chimpanzee joined commuters on Copenhagen subway cars.
Pepsi Max Interactive Bus Shelter | 2014 | UK
In London 2014, Pepsi Max took over one bus shelter for its guerrilla marketing. The campaign was called “Unbelievable Bus Shelter”—for Pepsi Max brings you the “unbelievable.” The Pepsi bus shelter in the city of London installed Augmented Reality (AR), making a wall of the bus shelter a fake window. The AR screen looked as if there was nothing but a pane of glass.
The AR poster displayed a live feed of the street ahead. But it also showed some unbelievable scenes to the people who were waiting for the bus: a meteorite crashing on the street, a tiger running towards the shelter, a huge octopus appearing from the ground and eating a pedestrian, UFO flying over the city, etc.
With the live feed, audience did not realize it was AR. So they couldn’t help but go check what was down the street. Then they would find Pepsi Max on the other side of the wall. Unbelievable!
As the largest US food and beverage company, Pepsi has launched many marketing campaigns. Some of them did not turn out to be successful. For example, its Number Fever campaign was one of the deadliest marketing campaigns. However, this “Unbelievable Bus Shelter” surely caught eyes of Londoners, giving them unbelievable experiences with a bit of humour.
Appel Is Samsung’s Best Friend | 2018 | Netherlands
Did I just misspell “Apple”?—No. It is “Appel,” a hamlet in Netherlands. The word “appel” literally means “apple” in Dutch. In 2018, fortunate residents of Appel received presents from Samsung: free Galaxy S9 smartphones.
Although Samsung is the best-selling brand in the global smartphone market in recent years, Apple’s iPhone has been its long-time rival. It would be challenging to convert Apple fans to Galaxy users. It would be impossible to distribute freebies to all the Apple fans. Samsung was known for mocking Apple fans in its ads, but this time it applied a different tactic—switching the Appel community to Samsung users.
Samsung distributed a brand new Galaxy S9 smartphone to 50 residents of the hamlet. The result? Of course, everyone loves freebies, especially a brand new smartphone! Now, Samsung successfully turned Appel (whose literal meaning is “apple”) to Samsung’s best friend.
Mous Drop Test on iPhone XS | 2018 | Australia, Hong Kong, UK
Let us talk about iPhone finally, not about the phone maker but its protective case maker, Mous.
In 2018, Australians were the first customers to buy the much-awaited iPhone XS in the world. People queued up in front of the Apple Store on George Street, Sydney. Among them was James Griffith, the CEO and Co-founder of Mous, a London-based tech startup that manufactures protective accessories.
He flew from London, stayed overnight in front of the store, and finally got the brand new iPhone XS. For sure, he was one of the first customers to purchase this item in the world. Then, he tossed it up in the air in front of the Apple store! He then went to the Sydney Opera House and threw it down the stairs!
The Mous team carried out the same performance in Hong Kong and London. They filmed the performance and put the video on YouTube. The video became viral, terrifying Apple buyers but proving how protective Mous case was.
Guerrilla Marketing: Risky but Impactful
The five guerrilla marketing examples above were all unique and at low-cost. Most of them were quite photogenic, which made them viral immediately on social media. Although for their unusually surprising methods, these marketing could have badly failed; for example, the Mous case could have shattered to make James embarrassed in front of Apple fans. Fortunately, all of these guerrilla marketing examples were proven successful, achieving attention from consumers.