What Is Guerrilla Marketing and How Does it Work?

What Is Guerrilla Marketing and How Does it Work?

Read Time: 9 Minutes


27 Feb 2024

As a business owner or marketer, you’ll likely be looking for new and innovative ways to promote your company and reach your goals. With so many different strategies and tactics available, you’ll be constantly fighting to ensure that your business stands out from the crowd, and guerrilla marketing is a very effective way to do so. In this blog, we’re going to uncover the fundamentals of guerrilla marketing and how you can implement them into your upcoming marketing campaigns.

What Is Guerrilla Marketing?

Guerrilla marketing, pronounced guh-rill-a (like the ape), is a long standing, popular form of marketing, which builds on impactful and memorable campaigns. Businesses get a chance to use unconventional, creative tactics for promoting their brand and offerings, with the aim of obtaining high levels of attention and creating an experience which customers can’t stop talking about. 

The term “guerrilla” comes from the tactics used by warfare groups who rely on surprise attacks and unconventional methods to achieve their objectives, and this mirrors the approach of guerrilla marketing. In other words, rather than focusing solely on traditional TV or print advertising, guerrilla marketing requires an element of differentiation to be successful.

Why Is Guerrilla Marketing Effective?

There are many reasons why guerrilla marketing can be seen as effective, and the fact that it’s been popular for so long emphasises the benefits. Key reasons this tactic can prove beneficial for your business include -

Zero to little cost - If you’ve got a limited budget, you can utilise guerrilla marketing campaigns to try and capture the attention of your target audience.
Highly impactful - Guerrilla campaigns are designed to be powerful and memorable in order to generate excitement and engagement. The best campaigns often get noticed and further publicity through other sources, such as the news or influencers who naturally spread the word further.
Tailored to your audience - Guerrilla campaigns give you the chance to target specific audiences, allowing you to be in front of the right people at the right time. 

In the next section, you’ll see some great ways businesses have used guerrilla tactics to provide success with their marketing activity. 

3 Inspirational Guerrilla Marketing Examples


Equinox banning new member sign ups on January 1st


New York based luxury gym group, Equinox ran a campaign which banned people from joining as a new member on 1st January 2023. Taking to both Twitter/X and TikTok, the brand explicitly said “WE DON’T SPEAK JANUARY” and wrote a message branding New Year's Resolutions as fantasies.

Many people join gyms in January as they aim to succeed with various New Year's Resolutions, such as “exercising more” or “losing weight” which Statista show as being highly popular goals set in the UK.

Creating a lot of curiosity and surprise, this campaign caught the attention of many users across social media, with various responses and high levels of engagement across the board.


BBC Dracula Billboard


The BBC wanted to build awareness of a new Dracula TV series which would be airing, and their creative team quickly went viral on the back of just 2 billboards. During the day, the billboards looked like a plain white space, including the show name along with 50 stakes, which may have looked odd. At night, however, the billboard came to life with light shining through the stakes to form a shadow of Dracula.

Despite not being seen in person by a large number of people, the creativity of the campaign led to the billboards being seen across the world, sparking conversations and leading to the goal of increased awareness being a great success. This worked well thanks to the creativity of making the most of light and shadows to build a scene which was prevalent at night, a perfect representation of the main character of the show and the locations in London and Birmingham were popular enough to be seen by the right amount of people to generate curiosity.

IKEA’s Oxford Street Store


IKEA are well known for their unconventional marketing ideas, and in 2023, the press and social media users went wild for their 128ft wide scaffolding cover which was designed to look exactly like the recognisable IKEA carrier bag. This was made to bring excitement to the new IKEA store opening on Oxford Street, which is one of the most exciting retail areas in the UK.  

They’ve used their bag in previous campaigns, however, this time they found extra success as people flocked to Oxford Street to see the bag in person and share it across various social media platforms. Conversations were being sparked across the country and even worldwide discussing the sheer size of the bag and the level of detail used to include realistic looking handles. 

Common Types of Guerrilla Marketing

There are many different types of guerrilla marketing campaigns which you may come across when looking for inspiration, like those we’ve provided. The right type for your campaign will vary, depending on your brand and the goals you hope to achieve. To help you understand different forms of guerrilla marketing, we’ve outlined the 4 most popular in a way which is easy to digest.

Viral Marketing

Viral marketing, sometimes known as buzz marketing, is a technique which is focused on getting consumers to spread the word. Often seen on social media channels, this strategy relies on consumers sharing your content with their social network, friends and family. Rather than spending time marketing the offering yourself, viral marketing works by consumers building greater awareness of your brand or promotion on your behalf, on the back of their excitement and high levels of engagement.

Stealth Marketing

Stealth marketing takes a lot of planning and consideration, however, can be extremely rewarding. There are many moments in life in which you’re being advertised to without realising it, thanks to moments such as tactical product placement on TV shows and references to services in podcasts. Stealth marketing promotes your product or service in a subtle way, without being obviously promotional, and is designed to feel natural rather than pushed, which is where the term “stealth” comes in.

Ambient Marketing

Ambient marketing is a way of promoting your products or business using unusual locations or items as a way to connect with the target audience. With advertising being so prominent in the modern world, it can be really difficult to stand out and capture attention, which is where this tactic can prove beneficial. Whether it be creating unusual 3D billboards or using CGI to place products in unexpected locations for an online campaign, many well known brands love using ambient marketing to capture the imagination of their audience.

Projection Marketing

Projection marketing is a risky form of guerrilla marketing, which can reap huge rewards. Regularly used for special events, brands like using this in their strategies to personalise their promotions for semi permanent campaigns in which they place large captivating adverts, usually on the sides of buildings or bland walls. As alluded to in the name, these campaigns are often created using a projector, which allows your business to create an interactive experience which connects with your customer in an unusual way, rather than using more traditional forms of advertising.

Our Top Guerrilla Marketing Tips

Now that we’ve been inspired by some exciting ideas and seen how much creativity can be used in guerrilla marketing campaigns, we’ve outlined our 5 top tips for you to consider when you look to implement guerrilla marketing into your strategy.

Know Your Audience

No matter how well you know your brand or offering, to be successful with any form of marketing you need to know who you’re looking to promote to. This proves even more important when you’re looking to deploy guerrilla marketing tactics as you’ll be using deep levels of creativity and surprise, meaning you need to know your audience inside and out. 

It doesn’t have to be too hard to learn about your audience in detail, you could consider finding out -

  • Where they spend most of their time (online and offline)
  • What their likes and dislikes are
  • How they predominantly communicate
  • What would surprise them
  • What they do in their free time

The answers to these types of questions could help you craft a message which resonates, along with helping you find the right channels and places to promote your campaign. 

Be Creative and Original

As we uncovered earlier, guerrilla marketing requires you to surprise your customers and be memorable, with this in mind, it’s important that you’re original. Consumers have more chances of being desensitised to your promotion if it’s something that they’re used to seeing, but by using promotions which come as a shock, you’re more likely to succeed. 

It’s important that you ensure that your campaign is relevant, so by using messaging and supporting elements (such as imagery or interactive displays) which relate to the brand or offer, you’ll be able to build a connection with the customer which also ties in with the message and promotion. A great way to ensure that you succeed with your original creativity is by thinking deeply about how you can blend seamlessly into your target audience’s world. This may be the strategic placement of your message, or utilising interactive elements in your promotional material. Either way, it’s key to make people stop and think about what they’ve just experienced and how it’s tapped into their emotions. You could take influence from your competitors' campaigns to get some ideas, asking yourself what seemed to work well or not so well and understanding why, using a SWOT analysis, which will allow you to develop your ideas with a thorough understanding of your decisions.

Make the Most of Available Online Channels

Combining offline guerrilla marketing with online channels can be a great way to increase the exposure of your guerrilla marketing campaign, increasing the chances of your target audience seeing the material you’ve created. Remember, especially if your campaign isn’t located in many areas, combining your innovative campaign with the publicity available from different sources, you’ll be able to attract more attention to your marketing.

You don’t need to have endless contacts in high places to make this a possibility, especially in the modern, connected, digital world. You could start by contacting journalists of all sizes on social media and through email, publicising your campaign on your business’s online social platforms and contacting influencers with information about your campaign. If it’s original and has the wow factor intended, it will sell itself to third parties, making it easier than ever to spread the word.

Focus On The End Goal

Many businesses and marketers have ambitions of their campaign going viral, however, it’s important to keep your eyes on the end goal, which would lead to more customers engaged with your brand with the value that you’ve provided them. 

Going viral is great for getting the most eyeballs possible on your campaign, however, it’s important that you reach the right people. As highlighted in the “Why Is Guerrilla Marketing Effective” section, good campaigns will be highly impactful and tailored to specific audiences. We’d suggest you consider taking the time in the planning phase of your guerrilla campaign to ensure that you’ve considered your campaign to your specific audience and understand why you’re taking each action so that you can optimise the chances of reaching the right people.

Analyse and Adapt Your Future Campaigns

As with any type of marketing campaign, it’s important to constantly analyse your campaign and adapt your findings to future campaigns to ensure that you succeed. By measuring the results of your campaign and collecting feedback along the way, you’ll be able to identify what went well and what could be further improved.

Great metrics to consider include -

  • Engagement on social media
  • Website traffic
  • Sales volumes
  • Feedback (both direct and online)

We’d suggest that you create a standardised sheet to monitor all of your outcomes and use this to ensure consistency and obtain an accurate representation to decide what’s working and what needs to be changed. This can be done on a spreadsheet or a table, depending on what works best for you! 

In Conclusion

Guerrilla marketing is a highly effective marketing strategy designed to grab the attention of your target customers and create conversations, leading to increased brand awareness. By taking inspiration from other campaigns, and allowing your creative instincts to flow, you can create original campaigns which will captivate your audience leading to increased levels of success with your business goals.


About the Author

Hi, I'm Callum and I'm instantprint's Content Marketing Executive. I'm dedicated to creating helpful content for our customers on our blog and social media.