Why would advertisers want to use guerrilla marketing?
Home    Stories    
Why would advertisers want to use guerrilla marketing?

Why would advertisers want to use guerrilla marketing?

Kylie Bolton

In the age of multimedia, 34% of advertisers have turned to guerrilla marketing tactics as marketing decision-makers swear by its media efficacy and reach in the 21st century. Guerrilla marketing has been on the scene since the early 1980s, infiltrating public spaces with witty and targeted campaigns that are often so outlandish that you're left contemplating them. By inserting surprising art that is obviously out of place, your marketing message can snare the attention of people who avoid conventional advertising and generate a huge buzz. It’s all about shocking your audience with diverse methods such as graffiti, augmented reality, flash mobs, and pop-ups – and creating an experience.
Read more about the types of street and guerrilla marketing.

Advertisers should use guerrilla marketing because it incurs low costs but accomplishes optimal results. Around the world, guerrilla marketers are reducing their advertising expenditure by 90%. Companies that have shocked their audience with out-of-the-box guerrilla marketing go viral online and via social media, increasing brand exposure.

Guerrilla marketing started as a response to developing consumer expectations and social change. A lack of imagination had spread through straightforward print, TV advertising, and junk mail. This is because conventional marketers often spend a lot of money to bring their brand more exposure but forget that simply advertising does not guarantee success. More creative companies aim to find innovative ways to boost their campaigns by using guerrilla marketing and embracing the digital world and technology.

Guerrilla content has its roots in guerrilla warfare, which relied on surprise and sabotage to target enemies. In advertising, this means that your campaigns will target your audience with shock value or creative ideas. Many advertisers that have used guerrilla marketing intrigued consumers with their imagination and left a strong impression, simply by focusing on public spaces where there is an influx of people.

See also ideas for b2b guerrilla marketing.

Why advertisers should use guerrilla marketing

Good advertising promotes something in a unique way; great advertising creates an experience and entices its audience by getting them to participate. It’s important for advertisers to remember that when consumers encounter something original and out of the ordinary, they want to capture it, film it, and share it on their social media platforms. There are multiple reasons why advertisers should use guerrilla marketing tactics.

See how brands make a positive impact with eco-friendly guerrilla marketing.


Low-cost with optimal results

One of the main reasons why advertisers should use guerrilla marketing is because it involves low costs. This is perfect for startups, small businesses and brands wanting to modify their image. Guerrilla marketing is cheaper than conventional advertising if you consider the attention it generates, the feedback it gets from consumers, and the impression it leaves. All it requires is time and a lot of creativity.

It's low-cost because it can be located in many different kinds of spaces and urban environments, using structures and landmarks such as buildings, bus stops, pedestrian crossing, escalators, and train stations. Advertisers can also launch their guerrilla marketing campaigns online with pictures, videos, or even competitions. Large companies such as Nike and Burger King are known for using witty, out-of-the-box guerrilla methods to direct traffic to their ongoing campaigns.

Builds brand image

Let’s look at Burger King’s “Burn That Ad” as an example: all across Brazil, people are invited to open the Burger King AR app and place their phone in front of any competitor’s ad to light it on fire using augmented reality. The ad burns until a coupon for a Burger King Whopper appears. The brilliance behind the campaign is that it uses a competitor’s ad against them, and by broiling their ad people are reminded of Burger King’s popular flame-broiled burger. Not only does the message feel familiar, but people are enticed to add to their order because a burger always needs a side of something. At the same time, new users are welcomed to the Burger King mobile app. 

Although the campaign is only available in Brazil, footage of it quickly circulated online, proving that guerrilla marketing is adaptable and the marketing of the future. Advertisers can use guerrilla marketing to build their brand and entice customers with a product, service, or cause. If the campaign encourages curiosity and active engagement, there is a high chance of new consumers being drawn in and existing customers being reminded that they are valued.

Generates excitement online and offline

Advertisers should use guerrilla marketing because it is intended for viral sharing. People love sharing information about rare and extraordinary things, and guerrilla marketing is definitely out of the ordinary. It stands out because it uses humor and spectacle to entertain the public and create hype. Once your audience leaves, unable to forget what they have just seen, they will tell their friends, who will then tell their friends – and word-of-mouth marketing begins. This is a powerful and often underestimated tactic as 88% of consumers placed the highest level of trust in word-of-mouth recommendations from people they know. 

We are living in a world fashioned by technology. With the growth of smartphone and selfie culture, people’s everyday activities are uploaded online. The more immersive the experience, the more your brand’s consumers and followers want to feature it. Guerrilla marketing and social media complement each other, and media and publicity are essential for success.
Guerrilla marketing encouraging people to get their colon checked. Source: merediths-miracles.org

Reaches your target audience

Guerrilla marketing uses multiple tactics, making your campaign unforgettable even to viewers who only see or experience it once. Unlike conventional advertising, which people can avoid by changing the channel or turning on an ad blocker, guerrilla marketing pops up at unpredictable times and in unexpected places. Advertisers who use guerrilla marketing in their campaigns become more memorable because these strategies stand out from the everyday routine and do not follow the rules. Excellent campaigns appeal to a niche group of consumers, and no-one knows your target audience better than you; with guerrilla marketing there is a higher chance of reaching them, because the location and timing of the campaign is entirely up to you. Ultimately, it is an opportunity to build your brand image by demonstrating how clever and innovative you are. The more surprising your campaign seems, the more it will differentiate you from your competitors.

Targets emotions

Experiential marketing is one example of a guerrilla marketing tactic that is all about getting people to engage with your brand rather than being passive onlookers. It ensures an unforgettable experience because its primary goal is to target people’s emotions. By developing an emotional attachment through guerrilla marketing, advertisers can create a mutual bond between their consumer and their brand. This means your campaign can stand out and you can develop trust with your target market. For example, Hendrick’s Gin draws on these immersive, affective tactics by designing promotional platforms in the form of pop-up stores to entice shoppers with limited-edition offers or new flavors. People find their way to these pop-ups, made recognizable by a fantastical theme, and sip gin and tonics while encountering curiosities.

Uses emotions and provokes change 

By infiltrating people’s everyday experiences and considering how to make mundane or monotonous situations interesting, guerrilla marketing stands out as an effective tactic. This means that it is a great opportunity to collaborate with organizations, charities, and local businesses. 
Example of Feed SA’s experiential guerrilla marketing. Source: Kent State University
Feed SA is a charity that helps put food on the plates of underprivileged people in South Africa. Their campaign quite ingeniously placed images in shopping carts, displaying children begging for food. It was a highly effective tactic, as customers doing their weekly shopping could not avoid the image of the child every time they placed something in their cart. In fact, they were placing the items in the outreached hands of the child. Text on the carts read “See how easy feeding the hungry can be?”, while the campaign carefully placed collection posts at the store exit. Not only does this campaign trigger an emotional response from the person spending money, it encourages consumers to at least consider donating and then offers them an easy way to do so. It shows that advertisers should use guerrilla marketing because it not only promotes  products, services, and brands, but can also be an instigator of social change, jolting people out of moral complacency.

Marketing campaigns with long-lasting effects

Thanks to guerrilla marketing, companies can focus less on conventional marketing and direct their efforts toward improving and building customer relationships. With immersive and spontaneous campaigns, the unsuspecting public are encouraged to give real and raw responses. The benefits of a successful campaign are long-lasting and immeasurable. Guerrilla marketing doesn’t only boost brand awareness; it is a lens into your brand's values and what it promotes, whether that’s entertainment, environmental preservation, social issues, or top-of-the-line flared pants. Tailored to any business, guerrilla marketing creates hype and increases the chance of your content going viral.

Related creative stories

Browse through other features, interviews and guides to discover creative brand collaborations, meet innovative artists and creators, find out how new artforms are energizing advertising, & more.

Send us your briefing

We're excited to hear from you! If you're looking for artistic solutions for your next creative marketing campaign, send us your briefing. We can also help create a killer concept if you're in an early ideation phase. Check out our services for more.

We use cookies to help empower our artists and make them accessible to clients. Check out our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service to see how your data can make a difference.