Learn how guerrilla marketing works and how to attract attention with creativity! – WAU

Guerrilla Marketing is a strategy focused on creative and unconventional advertising for a product or service. Guerrilla Marketing, as it is known in English, was created by publicist Jay Conrad Levinson in the late 1970s, inspired by the alternative tactics used in the Vietnam War.

Human beings have always seen the need to reinvent opportunities to innovate and find creative solutions.

When it comes to publicizing – be it products, services or even ideas of public utility – this is no different.

In fact, we can say that marketing, in its many forms, offers the perfect space for this innovation.

One of them, called guerrilla marketing, has been gaining space due to the high impact it causes, even without spending a lot. It looks good, doesn’t it?

See everything you need to know about guerrilla marketing!

What is guerrilla marketing?

Guerrilla Marketing is a strategy focused on creative and unconventional advertising product or service, and sometimes even more aggressive than other known forms of dissemination.

In fact, it is not difficult to understand why: just look at the origin of the name, which was created by American publicist Jay Conrad Levinson in the late 1970s, inspired by the Vietnam War.

Even with much less firepower, the Vietnamese managed to overcome limitations using guerrilla tactics and outperform their opponents.

Bringing this concept to the marketing world, the idea is to greatly increase the impact of the action on the public with a low investment.

Why is it worth investing in guerrilla marketing?

It makes perfect sense to know that this form of marketing is growing more and more every day, since the promise is to do more with less.

But, going a little further, what makes the results so expressive? Understanding this will be the key to knowing how to create successful actions.

If we compare the model of guerrilla marketing with traditional marketing, we will not always find a big difference in technical terms.

After all, both have ads that try to attract people’s attention to a product, service or idea. The difference is in the approach.

Today, we are all bombarded with a gigantic amount of information, urgent tasks and tight deadlines.

Therefore, it is natural to stay more selective as to what deserves our time and attention, does not agree?

Therefore, conventional advertisements have become an easily disposable distraction. Nobody wants to be bothered by inconvenient advertisements.

Guerrilla marketing, on the other hand, is designed to be so flashy that it becomes impossible to ignoreabove all, creating a lasting impression in the minds of customers.

Furthermore, the focus is on provoke a reaction in the consumer, perhaps for making him reevaluate his personal priorities and habits, work methods or even for “nudging” a competitor in a direct way.

7 tips for effective guerrilla marketing

It is important to stress a detail about guerrilla marketing: while it is impacting, this impact can be both good and bad.

Hence the need to take care so that the action does not have an effect contrary to what you expect and generates a negative reaction from the public.

How about seeing some tips on the subject? We separated 7 of them to help you:

1. Know your customers very well

The first step in getting guerrilla actions right is to know in detail the people who will be impacted by them.

This includes both your current customers and those who have the potential to be. So it is important that you take into account the personas of your business at that time.

Taking this care is the best way to prevent an incredible campaign from becoming a failure because it does not fit the values ​​and interests of the public.

Guide to creating personas

2. Don’t run away from your origins

Guerrilla marketing does not have to follow a single formula. In fact, to be successful with it, that’s all you shouldn’t be looking for.

While some campaigns can be very funny, others aim directly at provocation and challenge. Still others deal with very serious matters.

How would a single formula be able to hold so many different messages? It’s impossible!

The important thing is don’t run away from your origins: If your segment allows for a lighter and more relaxed language, follow this path.

If no, adapt as needed, so that the final result remains authentic.

3. Consider partnering

We already talked about how much we are fans of co-marketing, and in guerrilla marketing, you can also use this feature successfully.

An interesting example – besides being quite simple – is the guerrilla tactic that Microsoft used when launching its tablet, called Surface, on the market.

The company partnered with a Chicago car wash to display graffiti on its wall announcing the new device. But, what’s the big news?

The location: the store was close to an Apple store, one of the main competitors, well in view of its customers.

This clearly shows that guerrilla marketing partnerships don’t have to be complicated to work.

4. Be original

An essential element of guerrilla tactics is originality. You can’t get along just by copying what has worked in other cases.

No matter how much an already proven idea seems to make sense for your business, it’s always better to bet on an original idea.

On the other hand, you will do well to seek inspiration in successful cases. They can serve to sharpen your creativity and help you come up with cool ideas.

That way, you can learn from what has already been done by other companies at the risk of gaining fame as an imitator.

5. Caprice in execution

Much of the marketing campaigns that go wrong do not fail in the planning phase, but in the moment of executing everything that was thought of.

Thinking about it, after you have defined the best way to attract and impact your audience in an original way, think about every detail of what it will take to make your idea a success.

If you have decided to count on the help of a partner, do not forget to meet with him to share the tasks and decide how everything will work.

A good way to organize each step of the campaign in practice is to make a checklist and follow it closely.

6. Beware of the emotions it causes

The purpose of guerrilla tactics is to provoke emotions, but you need to know exactly what kind of emotions you want to arouse.

As we have already said, there is always room for serious and, in some cases, even shocking campaigns. But they are usually done this way when the topic to be addressed is equally serious and urgent.

If you are going to promote a product, it is worth betting on light and relaxed ideas, which do not cause people to feel shock, anger or distress.

They could easily associate your brand with those bad feelings and distance themselves from it, instead of being attracted to the proposed idea.

7. Evaluate the results

Guerrilla actions seem to be so spontaneous that it is even kind of hard to imagine what to do to evaluate their results, right?

Know that this is not only possible, but also extremely important. So, how to do it?

First, use your favorite monitoring tools to monitor the repercussions on social networks.

This is one of the most important environments to launch a guerrilla campaign, due to the immense power of “word of mouth” it has.

In addition, use the metrics you already measure at your company, isolating the campaign period compared to normal performance in recent months.

And if you still don’t evaluate any metrics, the tip is simple: start as soon as possible!

Best guerrilla marketing success stories

You already know how guerrilla marketing works and how it can be of help. He even learned the best tricks to succeed with him!

Now, all that remains to be learned from those who have already done it was competent and had results with the tactics that we show here.

Therefore, we have separated 6 success stories that will give you a practical and summarized idea of ​​the concepts we have talked about so far.


Coca-cola is undoubtedly one of the most emblematic brands of guerrilla marketing that we can remember without much effort.

Just think about how many advertisements and commercials from one company causing the other are successful today on Youtube to get a sense of how successful these giants were in establishing a fun, and certainly profitable relationship with their audience.

It is true that Coca-Cola’s marketing budget doesn’t even compare to that of most companies.

But this was not the difference, but the fact that it follows the “guerrilla marketing primer” very well, generating high impact with simple messages.

See, for example, this action by Coca-Cola that with just one soft drink machine installed at a university, managed to get its message across and engage students.

Another very cool (and simple!) Action by the soft drink giant was developed for Valentine’s Day, in which the remotely controlled soft drink machine only “worked” when they kissed each other.

Uber vs. Lyft

Here in London we have not yet seen this dispute, but outside Uber and Lyft compete for the transport service and guerrilla marketing is one of the main weapons used.

Lyft distributed among the drivers of its platform, mustaches with the brand’s color – pink – to distinguish the cars from those of its Uber competitors. A humorous and fun way to get attention, don’t you think?

But, do you know what was the coolest? Uber carried out a series of actions aimed especially at convincing the drivers of Lyft, its main competitor, to change platforms, using precisely the reference of its rival’s pink mustaches.

More than initiating a new rivalry, this response ended up putting both apps even more in evidence for the public.

Burger King vs. McDonalds

Burger King and McDonald’s are also longtime opponents, and of course, they have already fought their battles for fast-food dominance with guerrilla tactics.

One of the most interesting actions of this clash happened in 2015, at the initiative of Burger King. The network sent an open letter – through an ad in the New York Times, a video and a hot site – to the competitor, proposing a “truce”.

The idea was interesting: join the main snacks of the two, Whopper and Bic Mac, in the creation of a single snack.

Called McWhopper, with ingredients of each in the same proportion, the snack would serve to celebrate the International Day of Peace.

It would be sold only that day, and only in one place: a cafeteria built halfway between the headquarters of Mc and BK, with branding shared between the brands.

Great, don’t you agree? Hours later, McDonald’s official response came – somewhat bluntly – denying the partnership.

But that made no difference, as Burger King had achieved what it wanted, placing itself in a position of leadership, nobility and commitment to peace, and still indirectly damaging the image of its main competitor.

Medecins du Monde

Medecins du Monde, or “Doctors of the World”, is a humanitarian aid NGO operating in London, as well as in several other countries.

In one of its actions, it ended up becoming a successful case of guerrilla marketing.

Wanting to draw attention to the problem of homeless people in Paris, they thought of something better than using ads and posters.

They also decided to put aside popular awareness campaigns in search of something more practical. What was the solution?

They started distributing easy-to-set tents to homeless citizens. But, what is the effect of this?

Seeing the huge increase in these tents across the city prompted the government to mobilize quickly to resolve the problem.

With that, millions of these people were relocated to emergency shelters, which could at least supply their basic needs.

Showing the problem up close was the best way that Medecins du Monde could have chosen to educate the population and alert the authorities to the situation.


HBO is known for its production quality, with series acclaimed by both the public and critics. But, we can also know her for her ability to use guerrilla marketing.

To promote The Sopranos series, HBO put fake arms as if coming out of the trunk of several New York City taxis.

When people started to think they were corpses, they saw the series sticker on the bumper. Simple, isn’t it?

Another program that HBO promoted in this way was Boardwalk Empire. This time, they left a train car in New York in the style of the 1920s, when the series takes place.

It does not stop there. Other series, such as True Blood and Curb Your Entusiasm also featured guerrilla actions.

The case of the latter, in fact, was a class of simplicity, as it was reduced to a martial band playing the theme song of the series through the streets of New York and Los Angeles, with posters informing the date and opening time.

True Blood won a more impactful and, let’s say, bloodier action.


Netflix, a global entertainment fever that you may already know very well, is not far behind when it comes to guerrilla marketing.

To publicize the premiere of the new season of the series “Orange is the new black”, she transformed the facade of a building in Paris into a prison, the main setting of the program.

Actresses in prisoner costumes simulated their common activities, such as working out, chatting, etc., which caught the attention of people on the street.

Another extremely timely action was during a presidential election debate in the United States, in South Carolina.

Netflix simply created a campaign committee for Frank Underwood, the main character in the House of Cards series, which is political.

Everything was thought out in advance, because in addition to the theme of the event – a presidential debate – having everything to do with the series, the location could not be better.

After all, the place of the debate is close to the character’s hometown, which creates an even greater identification with the audience.

Bonus: Warner Channel

We cite some cases of large companies that used the power of guerrilla marketing well, but there are many other examples that we can emulate.

Warner, for example, promoted the premiere of The Flash series in London with a brilliant idea.

Commenting “First” (alluding to the character’s speed) in all Facebook articles or posts on entertainment websites, he managed to attract great attention at almost zero cost.

This shows how much guerrilla actions can be powerful without spending a lot or involve too large a structure.

The possibilities of guerrilla marketing for the digital world

Guerrilla marketing is not limited to actions in physical places. He too perfectly suits the digital world.

To take full advantage of the possibilities that the web offers for guerrilla marketing, it is important to follow a few steps:

Discover the strategic channels to reach your personas

As we’ve seen so far, both in the tips and the examples shown, the main focus of guerrilla marketing is making an impact.

To do this, it is necessary that as many people as possible see what you have prepared and be attracted to it.

So, think: “What are the channels my audience focuses on?” That’s where you’ll want to direct your efforts.

Most, if not all, of the cases we have cited were only successful because they were right not only in the content they had to transmit, but also on site and until time they did that.

Banner Marketing Teams

Learn how to leverage the content you produce

One of the best things about using digital marketing to produce guerrilla actions is your power to viralize the content.

Did the initiative work? Why not write an article, produce an e-book or even do an webinar telling how it was to reach the final result?

You can also involve your newsletter subscribers in the initiative, attract them using email marketing.

The tip is that you go beyond the action itself, but also reap benefits from it in other ways, such as through content production telling your experience.

Think about the long-term effect

Part of the long-term effect has already been commented on briefly in the previous point, of taking advantage not only of the action itself, but also of its “derivatives”.

But that is not all. Is important think about the legacy that action will leave for your company after some time. Why is it important?

Some ideas can even work at first, attracting a lot of attention and even generating some sales, but leaving a negative impression over the months and years.

It is important to remember that on the internet things are never really forgotten. This means that a bad joke today can become a nightmare for tomorrow.

Take advantage of current affairs

Remember Burger King’s success story, which we mentioned above? Very well, there is a third party involved in this move, who has a lot to teach us, and best of all, it is a London company!

The Giraffas franchise, seeing the worldwide repercussion of the BK campaign, decided to take advantage of the subject of the moment and propose a partnership to the company.

The result: Burger King, which received even more prominence, accepted the proposal, and they launched the Peace Day Burger together!

This shows that it is not only by planning in advance, but also by be aware of potential opportunities and be quick to respond to them, that it is possible to use guerrilla marketing, especially digital.

Bet on interactivity

The very essence of guerrilla marketing matches perfectly with the idea of ​​Digital Marketing, and if we are going to summarize it in one word, it is interactivity.

At people love to participate, and feel much more motivated and impacted when they are part of the action, rather than mere spectators.

So, take advantage of all the resources of the digital environment to include and engage the public, and your campaigns are much more likely to succeed.

As its name says, guerrilla marketing has strong and provocative messages that are very successful in getting the public to think and act. You only stand to gain by taking these concepts into your online strategy. After all, when all actions are practically equal, whoever comes out of sameness gains an advantage.

Did you like to learn more about the high impact of guerrilla marketing? Be sure to also see what is behind high performance marketing teams!