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26 May 2023 • Resources

7 Examples of successful and creative guerrilla marketing done by brands

7 Examples of successful and creative guerrilla marketing done by brands

Trade has governed the world and relations between people for many centuries. Very important, it's also a very competitive sector. In fact, many commercial actors often compare it to a war for companies. The battles are really tough, and the marketing actions implemented to win the game are sometimes similar to real military strategies! It's therefore quite natural that the expression "guerrilla marketing" (also sometimes spelled "guerilla") was born.

So what is this combative tactical approach, an experiential marketing technique used by big brands to make an impression and attract attention from their audience? Here are successful examples of guerrilla marketing, strategies thought of by marketers, to adapt to your scale, for small business and beyond!

What is guerrilla marketing?

Do you have the soul of a secret agent? Then guerrilla marketing may be for you! If you feel like you've missed your calling, rest assured, as business can also allow you to adopt unexpected tactics, combining aggressiveness, adaptability, speed, and surprise, for the benefit of your brand!

Guerrilla marketing definition: Stealth street marketing that makes an impression on the media

Guerrilla marketing is a communication technique that uses surprise and relies on unusual interactions with the public to promote a product or service. In other words, guerrilla marketing is very different from traditional marketing. It's an unconventional method of promotion that aims to achieve maximum results with minimum resources. A way to reach your target and much more: with this strategy, passers-by are not only reached by these advertising techniques but also do not hesitate to share these actions on social networks thanks to the video posted on the internet. A viral way for products and services to become known by the general public!

Guerrilla marketing encompasses remarkable advertisements, often physical and then shared online. It was first introduced in 1984 by Jay Conrad Levinson, creative director of the Leo Burnett advertising agency. He believed that it was a method that was particularly beneficial to small businesses that were resourceful and creative. Forget about massive and expensive advertising techniques... Guerrilla marketing is more about imagination than budget!

The main advantage of a guerrilla marketing campaign is that it allows you to differentiate yourself from your competitors and boost brand awareness by launching a totally surprising and unexpected action whether you want to launch a product, boost your holiday marketing, or achieve another marketing objective. What's more, this process often relies on elements that are known to everyone, such as public garbage cans, a bus stop or traffic lights. The goal of this advertising concept? To transform a common element of our daily life and to integrate a striking message, in order to quickly reach as many consumers as possible.

Characteristics of a good guerrilla marketing strategy

So how do you build a good guerrilla marketing strategy? Although these unconventional marketing campaigns are still very different from each other, they still have some common points. They must be the following:

  • Creative: Guerrilla marketing is eccentric and must absolutely include an element of surprise (innovative concept, offbeat ideas, etc.).
  • Everyday: They must appeal to the consumer in their everyday life.
  • Inexpensive: They must be inexpensive and provide an excellent return on investment.
  • Innovative: They must not have been seen before.
  • Visible: They're positioned to be seen by a maximum number of people and create a buzz.
  • Viral: They encourage consumers to talk about them on social networks.
  • Bold: They rely on unconventional processes, sometimes bordering on legality. They're non-conformist.
  • Emotional: They must absolutely provoke a reaction from their audience, whether it's surprise, joy, or even disgust.

Budget for a guerrilla marketing campaign

A guerrilla marketing campaign is distinguished by its innovation and the media it uses. In some cases, it can be as simple as painting a bus stop or a crosswalk. As you may have noted by now, in this case, it's not a particularly expensive process.

The expense is even part of the criteria of a guerrilla marketing campaign. Generally, it's a question of setting up an unusual campaign, at a very low cost, but making it possible to obtain excellent visibility and thus a very good return on investment.

The most popular media for a guerrilla marketing campaign

When it comes to guerrilla marketing, anything goes and boldness is a must. However, regardless if you're using this type of communication action for Valentine's Day marketing ideas, Easter marketing ideas, or another kind of campaign, some media are more popular than others.

  • Public transport

Because public transport is so busy, it's also a support of choice for guerrilla marketing. A significant number of brands have already tried it. For example, many buses have already been customized to receive surprising posters promoting the services of a company or a restaurant or advertising the release of a new movie.

For example, you may have heard about the campaign proposed by a zoo, which promoted itself thanks to an optical illusion, representing a huge snake rolled up on a bus, and compressing the bus in question... It was simply impossible to pass by the means of transport without noticing this attention-grabbing ad! What's more, public transportation also means endless customization possibilities... Some people use bus stops or subway stations, while others personalize the handles of the buses or even their floor. Anything goes!

  • Public facilities

Of course, all public spaces can lend themselves to this kind of idea. Many facilities have already been used for guerrilla marketing campaigns: from crosswalks to garbage cans, public benches, or tunnel entrances... There's no shortage of ideas, and municipal facilities are often an inexhaustible source of creativity!

  • Posters and signs

Sometimes, simple posters are enough to create a buzz. In this case, their designers rely on surprising and unexpected messages... For example, in 2015, Burger King dared to try a humorous campaign, just before the opening of one of its restaurants. The construction for the new building was hidden by tarps with funny messages and tweets from some consumers to which Burger King brought a response. The success was instantaneous, and the communication for the opening of this restaurant was simply viral!

  • Pop-up stores

Finally, many guerrilla marketing campaigns can be found in pop-up stores... Also known as "ephemeral stores." More concretely, it's the opening of a business for a limited period. Since rarity often piques the interest of the public, many customers flock to these commercial places. Generally, these are spaces that allow for creativity, offering a more engaging experience for consumers.

What companies have used guerrilla marketing? Best examples of successful guerrilla marketing

Granted, a few models often speak louder than long speeches. What's more, they're also more inspiring and may give you ideas for your next guerrilla marketing campaign. So let me introduce you to some of the more innovative past projects with some of the best examples of guerrilla marketing...

Coco-Cola and its "Happiness Machine"

In 2010, Coca-Cola launched a guerrilla marketing operation in an American university. One of its vending machines had been installed in the cafeteria of the establishment, in order to promote joy and put people in a good mood... Very different from other vending machines, this one delivered unexpected items, promoting sharing with others and smiling. For example, it delivered several bottles of Coke at once, but it could also distribute a large pizza or even bouquets of flowers! It was so successful that, since its creation, the Happiness Machine has already been used by the brand several times.

T-Mobile and a giant flashmob

In 2009, no less than 350 people took part in a giant flashmob organized by T-Mobile, a cell phone operator, in the Liverpool Street station... However, the company didn't stop there and repeated the experience, this time seeing things much bigger... 13,500 people gathered in Trafalgar Square in London to sing the song "Hey Jude" by The Beatles together.

Jeep proves the robustness of its models on the street

The car brand Jeep also had an innovative idea to prove the robustness and maneuverability of its vehicles. The company created fake parking spaces in unlikely places in the public space. These were placed, for example, on stairs or astride particularly high sidewalks. The aim of this campaign? Provocation and humor! The message hidden in this advertisement was more or less as follows: you can't park your car in these unlikely places? That's too bad. If only you had a Jeep!

Adidas's ephemeral shoebox store

After a two-year hiatus, to celebrate the return of its famous Stan Smith, a true legend in the world of sports shoes, Adidas had the idea to create a pop-up store. This one was set up in London, and it was totally impossible to ignore it... The store took the exact shape of the shoe box housing the Stan Smith. What's more, the pop-up store offered new experiences to its customers, such as the ability to create 3D prints, design one's portrait like the one on the iconic sneakers, or personalize one's shoes.

adidas street marketing

Pixar's Up movie takes over bus stops

Using a bus shelter, Disney offered passers-by a colorful promotion of its film Up... The film studios decided to use a poster associated with balloons, like those present in the cartoon. On the panel, a character of the film held the cord of the balloons in his hands, while it seemed to escape from the support, while being attached to real balloons actually present in the air. This concept is a mixture between real and virtual, a daring advertising proposal to give even more weight to the message in order to challenge passers-by.

Unicef's "dirty-water dispenser"

Because guerrilla marketing is not only used to promote items, it can also act in favor of a good cause. It's been used by Unicef, to raise public awareness about the difficulties of access to drinking water in Africa. To do so, this association set up a dirty-water dispenser... The choice of drinks offered was then quite different from the usual ones. The bottles in the dispenser all contained a different disease and the consumers had the choice between malaria, cholera, typhoid, etc. The idea was to transpose the quality of African water to the Western way of life.

The BIC shaver for your lawn

Finally, to highlight the quality of its shavers, the BIC brand decided to place this giant tool on a lawn, partly freshly mowed. The whole thing was, of course, associated with an advertising message: "Our shavers are sharp enough to mow your lawn!"

bic razor for lawn

Guerrilla marketing is a technique that allows you to capture the maximum attention of consumers. What's more, by helping the brand to stand out positively from the crowd, it also contributes to a very strong brand image. The public loves it, and a growing number of companies are using it. While guerrilla marketing was born about 30 years ago, it's even more profitable today, thanks to the advent of social media. So, what are you waiting for to create a buzz?

How to learn more about guerrilla marketing techniques: Books, interactive lessons, videos... Get trained!

There are many references to learn more about guerrilla marketing in order to lead your brand to great marketing actions.

When you're an entrepreneur, especially on the internet, you owe it to yourself to learn about the different types of marketing that work or to form your own marketing team in order to reach your business goals. You can also get help from a communication agency that will guide you to enhance your point of sale, your website, your business, through a digital strategy, on social networks, with influencer marketing that will help you find brand ambassadors, etc.

To go further and take advantage of creative guerrilla marketing ideas, without having a huge marketing budget, you can start today to offer different, original content, taking inspiration from these successful examples of guerrilla marketing or by checking out well-done content marketing examples, and attract word of mouth to your brand.

To help you, the WiziShop ecommerce solution offers you complete ecommerce training, covering a full range of topics to assist you in the major steps of your online sales business, towards future big profits. So, are you more into digital marketing tactics or more radical marketing with guerrilla marketing activities?

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