Guerrilla Marketing: What it is and how to use it to connect with your audience

When looking for some creative ways to promote your business, get your inspiration and ideas from some famous guerrilla marketing campaigns. It is especially useful when you are on a small budget because guerrilla strikes are rare but impactful.

man wearing pink polo shirt with text overlay
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on

Guerrilla marketing is all about creativity and thinking outside the box. Like when you are in online marketing, you trade your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising for smart ideas and unique art.

If you’re looking for a new and inventive way to promote your website or app, these examples of guerrilla marketing may just spark your imagination and give you some unique ideas for your next marketing campaign. But before we get into actual examples of guerrilla marketing promotion, let’s think about what guerrilla is. Recall images of small groups of stealthy rebel soldiers fighting against a seemingly insurmountable establishment. The term has been adopted by various groups who operate in an unauthorized fashion. Think graffiti artists, or even actors in a “guerrilla theatre” group, putting on spontaneous performances in public spaces.

So, what is guerrilla marketing? It is a way of marketing your product or service when you engage with your audience in a way that feels spontaneous and usually catches them off-guard. All kinds of industries have utilized guerrilla marketing to create some unique and memorable moments. In today’s online age, you’ll often see examples of guerrilla marketing going viral. Some experts warn that it may not be a good idea to create a marketing campaign with the intention of going viral; still, a carefully planned guerrilla marketing campaign will deliver a substantial positive effect to your brand, virally or not.

So now, let’s take a look at some great examples of guerrilla marketing from brands both big and small. Each of these was designed to offer something unusual and eye-catching that makes people smile. It may even seem to be about the experience first and the brand’s message second, but in reality, this creative approach really helps the message to stick in people’s minds, and thus, such examples of guerrilla marketing are often efficient in delivering sales.

Swiss Skydive elevator ad

For example, this Swiss Skydive guerrilla marketing campaign just could not stay unnoticed. It was not too expensive to implement; at the same time, the Swiss Skydive elevator ad was efficiently communicating its message with every single passenger.

An image of a city from above would be a good move even for a regular ad, but this skydiving school took it to another level by placing their photo on an elevator floor, giving people a “very real” experience of looking down from the sky. Sure, this example of guerrilla marketing campaign was less efficient in a busy elevator, but when communicating with one or two passengers at a time, it delivered outstanding results. The idea of Swiss Skydive ambient advert was an amazing example of guerrilla marketing, taking into consideration that you can target this type of campaign to some specific properties with your desired audience.

Frontline ambient ad

Here is another example of clever ad placement that kicks it up a notch by utilizing the power of perspective. As people walk across that space, they become part of an ad for flea and tick protection, looking like insects on the giant photo of an itchy dog (when observed from the floors above).

Playing with size and scale is actually a powerful technique for grabbing people’s attention. Incorporating passers-by into this Frontline guerrilla marketing advertisement was a great example of a non-standard promotion able to make a significant impact. This ad does not act as simple as the previous one, but for those who see it from the higher floors, the contact becomes unforgettable. Obviously, this specific example of guerrilla marketing by Frontline was terrific for creating some viral content.

Mr Clean ambient ad

It doesn’t get any simpler: the immediately recognizable image of Mr Clean, hanging out in the crosswalk. That one bright white stripe says everything that the ad needs to say, no words required. As the brand plays in the competitive industry with very similar products fighting to stay on the top of consumers’ minds, this example of guerrilla marketing campaign does its work amazingly well.

But it is worth to mention that this Mr Clean crosswalk ad is a very special and rare example of guerrilla marketing promo. It needed some regular maintenance (to make sure the proper white stripe remains snow white). Moreover, that ambient advertisement was not creating any new brand awareness, but instead communicating to people who already knew the brand.

Copenhagen Zoo ad (“a python on a bus”)

Floors aren’t the only place that’s great for a piece of clever ambient advertising. Buses covered in ads aren’t anything unusual, but sometimes the ad designers go the extra mile to create something that stands out. Look at this python on a bus – what a catchy way to advertise Copenhagen city Zoo!

This smart example of guerrilla marketing campaign was intended to invite people to the local zoo, and it became so successful that many more tourists got interested not only in Copenhagen Zoo but the city in general. More similar city zoo ads then appeared on subway cars following the success of this “a python on a bus” campaign.

Folgers coffee ambient ads

Let’s get into some successful examples of guerrilla marketing made for everyday mainstream products. The coffee market is very competitive, and it is becoming harder and harder to get a customer’s attention. But when people feel that emotional connection with a coffee brand, they buy its products for many years. Guerrilla marketing is perfect for this kind of industry. So, check out how Folgers coffee used the steam that comes from maintenance hole covers on a cool morning in an amazing way to bring this coffee cup image to life.

It definitely makes you look twice, and that’s the goal of many guerrilla marketing promos. This ad makes you want to take a closer look, and then you’ll see the brand name and a clever slogan. Obviously, it is a simple yet effective example of guerrilla marketing campaign.

Hopefully, these examples have given you a good picture of what guerrilla marketing can do. It may be as simple as smart ad placement in an unexpected location. It may be a more elaborate setup that encourages people to look closely or look differently. But the primary purpose of this kind of ad is to grab your consumer’s attention and to surprise them, which will create a very strong relationship with your brand.

If these guerrilla marketing examples inspired you to try your own campaign, start out by keeping it simple. One of the main risks of guerrilla marketing is that the message may be too complicated for people to understand. Most campaigns require people to catch your idea immediately, otherwise, the hard work will remain unnoticed. But merely creating an unusual ad that stands out among the competition may not be enough! You need to study your target audience first, and then make sure that the ad is ethical, easy to understand, and will happily stay in your consumer’s mind.

The way to go with your guerrilla marketing promotion depends on your local social and cultural environment. Obliviously, there is a significant difference in how do you communicate some products in western countries, in Asia, or Africa. It is worth mentioning that the examples of guerrilla marketing that were described in this article were mainly designed for the western world. But generally speaking, taking your advertising offline and as deep as possible into the real world can be a great way to revitalize your marketing strategy, as the real world is surprisingly much less cluttered than the online space with its vast competition.