Are you a marketer looking for ways to surprise consumers and go viral on social media? If the answer’s yes, turn to guerrilla marketing. With the right approach, guerrilla marketing stunts are an affordable and effective way to launch your brand’s visibility to new heights. However, you may be wondering, where do I start?
Thankfully, this blog will help you get a closer look at the world of guerrilla marketing. First, we’ll clearly define the strategy, then explore the pros and cons, and last but not least, outline examples of past stunts that still work wonders for brands in 2023. Let’s get started!
What Is a Guerrilla Marketing Stunt?
The name guerrilla marketing originates from guerrilla warfare, a type of physical combat characterized by out-of-box, non-traditional methods to get a leg up on opponents. Instead of large, organized efforts to reach your goals, guerrilla marketing— like guerrilla warfare— relies on small tactics to inch closer and closer to success.
In other words, guerrilla marketing is different from traditional marketing strategies because it involves unconventional and low-cost techniques to either raise general brand awareness or drive up sales around a specific good or service. High energy and imaginative, this marketing strategy relies on the element of surprise to leave a lasting emotional impression on audiences.
The general idea behind this marketing strategy is that as long as the marketing effort is memorable or worth sharing, the promotion will reach a wider audience through viral marketing or word of mouth, for free.
We can sum up guerrilla marketing with three key takeaways:
- Guerrilla marketing uses unorthodox strategies to increase sales or entice consumers to a brand and its products or services.
- These stunts are low-cost and utilize personal communications.
- Guerrilla marketing stunts have risen in popularity thanks to social media that help amplify messaging specific to target audiences.
The Pros and Cons of Guerrilla Marketing
Before you read on, it’s essential to know that there are advantages and disadvantages to guerrilla marketing stunts. Take the following pros and cons into careful consideration before moving forward with a guerrilla marketing campaign:
- In comparison to traditional marketing and advertising, it’s budget-friendly.
- It relies on word-of-mouth advertising, one of the most potent brand awareness tools in experiential marketing.
- The right guerrilla marketing stunts can boost publicity and communicate your brand ethos in a fresh way.
- Messages can be muddled and misunderstood without clear communication.
- Guerrilla marketing stunts are susceptible to unforeseen obstacles that may undermine a campaign, like bad weather.
- If a guerrilla marketing event falls flat, it may be subject to potential backlash by savvy audiences.
5 Types of Guerrilla Marketing Stunts and Successful Examples tO USE AS INSPIRATION IN 2023
1. Event Ambush Marketing: Samsung vs. Apple.
There’s always a debate raging between fans of Apple’s iOS mobile devices and Samsung’s Android products. But, how did this heated competition start? In 2011, as Apple prepared to launch the anticipated iPhone S4, Samsung decided to crash the party. At Apple’s prestigious storefront in Sydney, Samsung erected a pop-up store of its next door. While Apple devotees stood in line, waiting patiently to get their hands on the new $700 iPhone, Samsung sold its Galaxy SII for $1.50. While many resisted Samsung’s offer, Samsung’s tactic paid off; many more walked away with a brand-new — and much cheaper — Galaxy SII.
2. Mobile Tour: JUST Egg
3. Holiday Pop-Up: Bacardi Winter Summerland Campaign
Bacardi wanted to promote its beverage with a holiday pop-up, during a time of year that their business is slower. To do this, the brand fabricated a glass truck to capture the synergy of the summer and winter seasons, and for two days, New Yorkers were surprised by a whole slew of different guerrilla tactics.
The guerrilla campaign included elements like the opportunity to purchase Bacardí X Aviator Nation merch and last minute holiday gifts— socks, sweatshirts, t-shirts, candles— along with surprise appearances from West Side Story actors Mack Wilds and Ana Isabelle. Not to mention, the branded pedicabs, flash mob dancers, and the billboard takeover that dominated Times Square and other heavily foot-trafficked areas like Union Square, the Winter Village at Bryant Park, and Columbus Circle Holiday Market.
4. Buzz Marketing: The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Even if you were didn’t know the mega-viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was an example of buzz marketing, you undoubtedly heard of it. Why? Because it’s one of the famous word-of-mouth marketing campaigns ever. The ALS Foundation’s clever fundraising campaign challenged audiences to pour a bucket of ice water over their heads and post reactions on social media while nominating a friend to do the same. Celebrities like Dwane Johnson, Will Smith, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga, and others participated in the challenge for free. The tactic was so successful; the ALS Foundation raised a staggering $115 million in the process.
5. Street Team Marketing: Twitter Scores a Winning Goal
In 2019, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team won its record-setting fourth World Cup. Twitter aimed to capitalize on the team’s monumental success by promoting women’s soccer in the U.S. The social media platform’s #StartWithThem campaign raised awareness for the brand and support for women’s sports. Launching a three-day street team marketing tour in New York City, Twitter turned a branded food truck into an interactive experience with free food and prizes. Guerrilla marketing stunts that use engaging ambassadors and offer complimentary gifts or branded swag are always a good rule of thumb when courting potential customers.
Use Guerrilla Marketing Stunts to Your Advantage
Guerrilla marketing is a clever alternative to old-school marketing and advertising tactics. If executed well, they are a compelling method for attracting customers. Because of its ingenuity and creativity, guerrilla marketing stunts are low-cost yet can produce high rewards. So, if you’re looking for a strategy to win over audiences and get ahead of your competition, a well-executed guerrilla marketing campaign will help you get there.