Guerrilla marketing: it’s a term that you’ve probably heard thrown around before. Even if you’re not sure what it is, we can practically guarantee that you’ve seen examples of it in your lifetime. Today we wanted to celebrate those crazy, off-the-wall tactics and show you some of our all-time favorite campaigns. But before we start, allow us to give you a quick crash course in what guerrilla marketing is.
We all know that companies want people to notice, recognize, and remember their products. To achieve this, they need to market them in interesting and exciting ways. Most businesses choose to go the traditional advertising route, but that tends to get pretty expensive.
Because of traditional advertising’s hefty price tag, it isn’t always an option for small business owners who want to make a powerful impact without breaking the bank. If this seems like an easy task to you, think about how many commercials you see in one day.
In the sea of advertisements that we’re all constantly flooded with, it takes creativity and innovation to break through to the surface and get noticed with a small budget.
Enter guerrilla marketing. Modeled after the crazy ambush and raid tactics of guerrilla warfare, guerrilla marketing strives to create unexpected, surprising, and in-your-face ways of making us notice a brand or product – without spending millions of dollars. The incredible thing about guerrilla marketing is the massive amount of people that you’re able to reach.
If you’re clever, you may be wondering how companies reach such vast audiences while spending such little money. Here’s the deal: when company’s do something memorable and out of the ordinary, they generate buzz. What’s buzz? Buzz means word of mouth, and it’s word of mouth that influences which products you buy.
Think about it. Do you trust your friends’ recommendations or TV commercials more? Chances are your friends and 92% of the population agrees with you.
Now that you understand what guerrilla marketing is and why a company would want to use it, let’s take a look at nine awesome examples that you will definitely want to copy.
The folks at Saatchi & Saatchi came up with this genius idea for Frontline. Picture yourself on the second floor of a crowded mall. When you lean over the rail to look down at the floor below, you see a giant golden retriever scratching his ear. Tons of people are walking on top of the dog and from above it looks like fleas and ticks are crawling all over him. The writing next to the dog simply reads: “Get them off your dog.”
The giant pooch was constructed from a few huge stickers. The reaction of the passersby says it all; this amusing ad was bound to be memorable.
This ad for Feed SA by TBWA Hunt Lascaris, Johannesburg also used stickers to tug at consumer’s heart strings. They lined the bottom of grocery shopping carts in affluent neighborhoods with images of starving South African children reaching out their hands. The tag line – “See how easy feeding the hungry can be?” – was written across the handles.
After piling your food on top of starving children, you would have to have a heart of stone to not donate.
The Philipp Und Keuntje ad agency from Hamburg came up with a creative way to show how clear the photographs taken with the new Leica D-Lux 3 camera were. They built a dog out of lego-type blocks to make it look pixelated and put a sign next to it that read, “See it in more detail.”
It’s hard not to squint your eyes as you look at the 3D pup.
And all it took were some building blocks and a cardboard sign…
Quitsmoke.us hired ad agency JWT from Atlanta to come up with a way to send an anti-smoking message to the public and we think they nailed it! JWT took images of faces, cut the mouths out, and fitted them over exhaust pipes. The tagline next to the images read, “What we see when you smoke.”
They also made signs that fit on top of public ashtrays…
…and as toppers for table ashtrays. These were put in local bars and restaurants. Imagine how hard it’d be to ash your cigarette into a stranger’s mouth while they stared into your eyes!
…and some skewers.
Okay. And this steak fork. But you get the point.
Advil knows exactly how to relate to headache sufferers! This genius use of a light pole will make anyone who has known the pain of a headache cringe. The tagline, “More powerful than pain,” says it all.
This one’s a little more extravagant, but it spoke to the kid in all of us so we had to include it. Ogilvy & Mathers came up with this not-so-subtle advertisement for Hot Wheels. They constructed the giant loop billboard and secured it onto an overpass on a busy freeway to the delight of adults and kids alike. Hot Wheels’ goal? For parents, a journey back to childhood. For kids, a journey to imagination. We’re not sure about you, but we definitely have goosebumps.
Swiss Skydive wanted to show people what it was like to free fall out of a plane. Ad agency Wirz/BBDO from Switzerland made it happen by fitting elevator floors all over town with these impossible-to-ignore prints. People looked twice before taking their first step in!
Last but definitely not least, ad agency Duda Propaganda in Sao Paulo got creative during soccer season for client ESPN by targeting its mostly male audience in a place where they couldn’t ignore it: the bathroom. Miniature soccer fields, complete with a goal and a ball, were set up in urinals. A sign overhead read, “Soccer is good anywhere, but it is much better on ESPN channels.” Amazing.