Billboard in a bus stop, in urban environment. Concept: what is guerrilla marketing
Maja Mirosavljevic
By: mmirosavljevic
Read in 11 minutes

What is Guerilla Marketing?

What if you stumbled upon a gigantic, knocked over coffee cup or a melting popsicle the size of your couch on your way home?

Bounty guerrilla marketing, big cup of coffee, marketing, creative, advertising. Source: Concept: guerrilla marketing Bounty guerrilla marketing, big pospicle, marketing, creative, advertising. Source: Concept: guerrilla marketing

Would you be intrigued?


Would you stop and look?

Of course, you would.

Would you tell everybody about this fantastic marketing campaign for the paper towel company Bounty?


This is a guerrilla marketing campaign.

In this article, we’ll define what exactly is guerrilla marketing, share with you some examples, and, finally, we’ll give help you learn how to make your own campaigns.

What is Guerrilla Marketing?

Guerrilla marketing is a promotional strategy that companies use to advertise their products or services in an unconventional way that has the element of surprise, and that doesn’t cost a fortune.

This sounds great, right? Precisely what your small business needs.

So, let’s get to know better this type of promotion and discover the typical characteristics of guerrilla marketing:

  • It’s a budget-friendly campaign, which means there’s no need to break the piggy bank.
  • It needs to surprise your audience. You need to execute your guerrilla marketing campaign when and where they least expect it.
  • Originality is the key, so you’ll need to add a little bit of creativity into the mix.

Of course, not all guerrilla marketing campaigns take the form of huge products stationed in the street, like Bounty’s campaign, but rather marketing efforts that are creative, unusual, cheaper than traditional campaigns, and, most importantly, memorable.

This innovative concept will become clearer and clearer as we move along. But first, to get the whole picture and complete understanding of this term, we need to get back in time to 1984.

Why is it Called Guerrilla Marketing?

Jay Conrad Levinson, a writer, teacher, and former senior vice president and creative director at J. Walter Thompson Advertising and Leo Burnett Advertising, introduced the term in his book “Guerrilla Marketing.” The concept itself was inspired by guerrilla warfare, which is, basically, unconventional warfare that doesn’t use the same old techniques, rather smaller tactics used by civilians.

In his book, Levinson proposed that campaigns need to be unique, shocking, clever, and outrageous.

The main idea and the purpose of guerrilla marketing is to use unorthodox tactics to advertise on a small budget.

Guerrilla MArketing by Jay Conrad Levinson. source:

Nowadays, in an updated and expanded fourth edition of “Guerrilla Marketing,” you can find lots of practical and inexpensive ideas on how to market your products or services with success. Make sure to include this masterpiece in your bookshelf because it’s a marketing bible for small business owners.

Now, after learning the basic concept of guerrilla marketing, it’s time to see how effective this promotional strategy is and how it works.

How Effective is Guerrilla Marketing?

The best way to check the effectiveness of this type of promotion is to go through a real-life example.

Hill Engineering is a company that manufactures safety attachment products for the construction sector. They wanted to launch a campaign to showcase its new product and encourage further business inquiries.

The company invested £3,000 in creating 500 USB pens in the form of their product and gave them to prospective customers.

Creative advertising, guerrilla makreting. Source: Concept: what is guerrilla marketing

Likewise, they used social media channels to displayed pictures of their product in famous landmarks.

As a result, Hill Engineering signed a contract worth £100,000 annually. Besides, they projected £300,000 in sales.

Pretty effective, isn’t it?

The reason why guerrilla marketing is so successful is that a majority of people won’t realize it’s a form of marketing, so they won’t have a repellent feeling that standard advertising usually includes. Plus, the image sticks in the viewer’s minds, and they won’t forget it. Moreover, they will probably share it with their family and friends.

Examples of Guerrilla Marketing

Finally, the time has come to see how guerrilla marketing looks like in practice. Here are some cases that will help you understand this concept.

  • Frontline: ¿Fleas or People?

Frontline, a company that produces flea and tick prevention for dogs, purchased an entire floor space in a multi-level mall and placed a large image of a dog scratching its ear. It’s a brilliant idea because, for the visitors in the upper levels, the people walking on top of the image look like fleas. It’s so creative passer-bys will definitely remember it.

Guerrilla marketing ad, creative ad, fronline marketing, dog, fleas. Source: Concept: guerrilla marketing

  • Tyskie: Raise your Glass

Tyskie used guerrilla marketing to promote its beer among young people in an engaging way. They installed big mugs stickers behind door handles of pubs, restaurants, shops, and other places, so when people open the door, it’s as if they’re enjoying this refreshing beverage.

Creative ad, guerrilla marketing, tyskie beer ad. Source: Concept: guerrilla marketing

  • Toyota: Fits Anywhere

Toyota took advantage of guerrilla marketing to launch its the smallest four-seater in the world. This car model is very convenient for parking in urban centers, so they placed a cutout of the Toyota iQ car at bicycle parking spaces around the city center with the message “Park in the center of attention.”

Creative ad, toyota iq car, guerrilla marketing. Source: Concept: guerrilla marketing

  • Telephone Poles

Take, for example, posters people hang on telephone poles. We’ve all seen them. But if you get creative enough, you’ll attract even more people to your poster, and all those curious eyes are potential customers!

Creative marketing, creative ads, guerrilla marketing, tear-off poster. Source: Concept: what is guerrilla marketing Creative marketing, creative ads, guerrilla marketing, tear-off poster. Source: Concept: what is guerrilla marketing

  • Look Down!

Have you ever seen graffiti promoting a concert, a store, or a brand? Well, that’s guerrilla marketing too! (Of course, if you try some graffiti guerrilla marketing, make sure you’re not doing anything illegal!)

Creative advertising, marketing, guerrilla marketing. Source: Concept: what is guerrilla marketing Creative advertising, marketing, guerrilla marketing. Source: Concept: what is guerrilla marketing

  • Guerrilla Sampling

Giving out free goods is guerrilla marketing, too, just like the aftermentioned example of Hill Engineering. This is called guerrilla sampling because you’re mixing the magic of guerrilla marketing with the benefits of offering samples.

As you can see, these examples range in what they must have cost, but they’re definitely cheaper than a traditional campaign. It’s absolutely achievable. You can do it as well, and here is how.

How to do Guerrilla Marketing

After getting theoretical knowledge about guerrilla marketing, it’s time to put the last piece of the puzzle – to organize guerrilla marketing by yourself. Here is what you need to do:

1. Know your Potential Clients.

Who uses or needs your service? What are the habits of those people? Identifying your customers will help know what will surprise them and make them interested.

2. Find the Perfect Location

Once you determine your audience, you will quickly identify the ideal place for your advertisement. For instance, if you have a car repair shop, the gas station could be the right spot.

3. Be Original and Creative

Come up with exciting concepts that will grab the viewer’s attention. Maybe other guerrilla marketing campaigns can inspire you to create something new and authentic.

4. Craft a Heartfelt Message

Don’t forget to speak to your client’s brains and hearts. If possible, try to involve them in your message by making it interactive. If your marketing efforts are good enough, they might even take a pic and post it to social media.

5. Measure the Results

Track the performance of your campaign and how it reflects on your sales and profits.

Maybe now this seems overwhelming, but with a little bit of creativity and courage, you can launch your first guerrilla marketing campaign.

Guerrilla Marketing and the New Economy

We all know it, the coronavirus pandemic affected everything and everyone, and the economy was no exception. While staying indoors meant staying healthy, it also meant that stores had to close. While many were able to work from home, many others lost their job and can’t spend as much money as they did before.

All of this affects your business, sales are dropping, as well as your profits. Most likely, you don’t have the money to be thinking of a marketing campaign.

but that’s the beauty of Guerrilla Marketing. As we have mentioned, it tends to be cheaper than regular marketing. While this may be ideal, you also need to make sure the products or services you are marketing are properly priced: your clients are going through the same financial hiccups as you.

Fortunately, even if your clients don’t buy what you’re selling, Guerrilla Marketing still has the advantage that it can help your marketing campaign go viral: this means reaching new prospective customers and growing your fanbase.

Guerrilla Marketing can also be a great way to motivate your customers: new and innovative ideas can help us change the gloomy moods we have in these tough times.

Take Your Creativity to New Heights

As you can see, guerrilla marketing isn’t just run of the mill marketing tactic. It’s a powerful tool that can help you spread the word about your business faster and reach more potential customers, which results in more sales and increased revenue.

To execute this campaign correctly, you will need a little bit of creativity, boldness, and, of course, some budget. Even though guerrilla marketing campaigns don’t cost an arm and a leg, you’ll still need some resources to finance it.

In case the money issue stands in your way, maybe it would be good to get a business loan at Camino Financial and finance your marketing endeavors. As our motto says, No Business Left Behind, and that means helping every single small business achieve their growth dreams.

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