Guerrilla Marketing strategy: definition, how to do it, cases and examples

How about the idea of using guerrilla marketing to beat the competition ?

This can be quite an opportunity.

One of the most interesting aspects of the strategy is its high viralization power .

That is, if you want an action that makes everyone talk about you on the networks, there is nothing more suitable than guerrilla marketing.

On the other hand, there is no way to guarantee that every campaign of this type will be a success.

It all depends on your planning and your ability to create, innovate and be original.

But when the shot is accurate, the action generates great repercussion for the brand and you can even “poke” the competitor in a light, subtle and good-humored way.

To help you on this journey, we have prepared this material to more clearly conceptualize guerrilla marketing.

You will find out why it is worth investing in this type of action.

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You will also see tips for setting up your strategy and examples and successful cases to serve as inspiration.

Come on!

What is guerrilla marketing?

What is guerrilla marketing

Guerrilla marketing is a more aggressive and direct strategy, which seeks to impact a large portion of consumers with an investment not as high as advertising requires.

Its goal is to offer a unique experience for the audience .

This requires a lot of creativity and energy from your marketing team when planning actions.

It is one of the marketing strategies used to promote products or services that tries to escape from traditional forms of communication.

This happens, for example, with actions that are carried out in public places with a large flow of people, such as squares and shopping malls.

Where does that name come from?

The concept of guerrilla marketing was introduced in the 1980s by Jay Conrad Levinson through his work, the book Guerilla Marketing.

It is interesting to note that, at the time of its release, there was a favorable climate for the use of this expression.

Just look at the historical context of the time to understand.

It was a few years after the end of the Vietnam War and it was on this that the author based himself to create that term.

During that war, the country was divided into North Vietnam and South Vietnam.

Northerners had fewer resources than Southerners, who were allied with the United States.

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Even so, the North Vietnamese managed to delay and overcome their opponents thanks to their own guerrilla tactics and strategies.

Notice, then, some characteristics of the armed conflict that help to understand the creation of the concept :

• Direct confrontation between two participants
• One side weaker than the other
• Inferior resources requiring differentiated actions
• Victory from unique strategies.

It was inspired by these tactics that the author then coined the term guerrilla marketing.

Why invest in guerrilla marketing?

If the goal of guerrilla marketing is to do more with less, its importance as a strategy to achieve the set goals is obvious, isn’t it?

From a marketing point of view, both traditional and guerrilla marketing are used for commercial purposes.

Therefore, there are no major differences between them.

But then, how is it possible to achieve more significant results even with less investment?

The secret to guerrilla marketing success is to think outside the box when approaching.

And that is why it manages to create a memorable consumer experience .

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Using unconventional tactics, the method manages to break this kind of shield that we create in ourselves, which ends up unconsciously blocking the avalanche of ads to which we are subjected every day.

Unlike traditional ads, which are easily dismissed, guerrilla marketing actions are focused on provoking a reaction in the public.

Thus, they are so striking that they hardly go unnoticed.

Considering the current high competitiveness, the method proves to be essential so that consumers can start looking at the company with different eyes, reinforcing its image, adding value and making it possible to establish a differential in the market.

Tips on how to do effective guerrilla marketing

As already mentioned, guerrilla marketing campaigns need to come out of the box.

Therefore, they all involve a lot of creativity and innovation.

But do not be thinking that every action of this type of marketing is effective.

Some of them simply cannot be accepted by the public.

Those that manage to attract attention and captivate the audience have high potential.

They are really able to make the brand more known and easily remembered.

It is necessary to consider that the current moment favors this.

As everyone has their smartphone in hand, they can photograph, film and share content, viralization on social networks is one of the main ways to guarantee a successful campaign.

Based on this, we have prepared some tips that you should consider to be effective in the campaign and not generate a bad reaction in the consumer.

Let’s go to them!

Know your customers well

Understanding who your audience is is a maximum gift in any campaign that wants to achieve its goals.

In guerrilla marketing, it would be no different.

Knowing your customers in detail and even possible customers ensures that your campaign does not fail to deliver values ​​that are not of interest to those consumers.

Therefore, the start of campaigns should be the creation of the buyer personas of your business .

That is, those people that you think have the ideal profile to become your customers.

But how to create these personas?

To be able to identify a profile, it is necessary to study not only the market, but also the consumption habits of your customer, their values, objectives and needs.

That way, you get the right message at the right time.

Discover the strategic channels to reach them

There is no point in having the right message in hand if you don’t make it reach the public, do you agree?

Therefore, the second step is to find out where your audience is present.

In other words, which communication channels do they use the most.

As we mentioned earlier, social media is an excellent weapon in guerrilla marketing.

The fact is that they provide the viralization of the content, reaching a greater number of people in a very short time.

It is worth remembering that, in order to guarantee a successful campaign, it is important that your brand speaks the same language as its consumers.

Whether it is something more relaxed or more serious, the language must always be in line with the business segment.

The interesting thing is to make sure that your action does not offend or leave anyone hurt by the content or the way it is transmitted.

Consider partnerships

Have you heard of co-marketing ?

Basically, it is when two companies come together to reach the same audience , creating content and promoting products that arouse the interest of these people.

In guerrilla marketing, this partnership between companies or organization can pay off when it is right.

The ideal is that everyone involved gains something from that action, even if it is more attention to the business, for example.

Be authentic

Your campaign may be creative, but if the idea behind it is not original, it doesn’t have something of its own, it risks falling into clichés and not achieving the desired goals.

Creativity and originality must go together to get consumers’ attention, as long as both are in line with your business, of course.

A good way to avoid accusations of plagiarism and cause negative repercussions is to research examples and successful cases of those who have already been doing this in the market.

Bet on interactivity

The goal is to create a unique experience for the audience.

So, however simple it may seem, the most successful campaigns are those that promote interaction with the audience.

This interaction can take place at different levels.

The important thing is that it is creative and that it helps to build a positive perception about the brand.

Be careful when executing

The timing of execution is decisive for any guerrilla marketing strategy.

As it involves public places and the movement of people, every detail of the execution must be thought out beforehand.

For example, let’s imagine that your campaign will use something from urban furniture to generate interaction with the public, such as city bus stops.

It is necessary to think about several elements that involve, directly or indirectly, that furniture, such as which bus lines your audience uses the most, for example.

This way, you can choose the best points to perform the action.

Tease emotions

For the experience to be memorable, it needs to provoke reactions and emotions in consumers, right?

Again, you must reflect on the importance of the content being appropriate for the segment and the audience.

You sure don’t want to arouse bad emotions and chase your customers away, do you?

If your goal is to promote products , for example, the approach can be done in a light and informal way.

As for portraying more serious and urgent matters, campaigns in an equally serious tone may be the best solution.

Generally, they cause a kind of shock in the public and provoke their reflection.

Leverage the content produced

Was the campaign initiative well accepted by the public?

How about producing and going viral with digital marketing, reporting these experiences?

In this context, social networks (again them) and email marketing are great weapons to enhance and disseminate content, in addition to fostering engagement with the public.

Invest in it!

Evaluate the results

As with any marketing campaign, it is essential to monitor the results to make the necessary optimizations and maintain the success of the action.

No matter how small your investment, it needs to pay off , do you agree?

Even guerrilla marketing actions based on spontaneity, they are no exception.

Therefore, they need to be measured.

A great way to start is to follow the repercussions on social networks.

By analyzing what is said in them through word of mouth, you can gain insights into the public’s perceptions about your brand.

After that, you can make the necessary adjustments.

It is also worth noting that it is interesting to compare the results obtained during the execution of the campaign with the normal performance of other months.

This allows you to assess whether the strategy is on track or not.

5 Examples and cases of guerrilla marketing

Guerrilla marketing examplea

If you haven’t run any campaigns in this style yet, maybe you’re undoubtedly about creating something impactful.

The good news is that you can be inspired by those who have already found the recipe for success.

We have selected good examples of guerrilla marketing to motivate you to also have innovative and relevant ideas for your business.

Certainly, you will remember some of them and identify yourself.

After all, they are striking campaigns, as is typical of guerrilla marketing.

Coca-Cola is one of the most notorious examples of guerrilla marketing.

And that is not only thanks to its generous marketing budget, but also because of the high impact it causes through sometimes simple messages.

There are several examples of guerrillas that we can cite.

To begin with, the numerous advertisements over the time that the brand exchanged provocations in a fun way with competitors are iconic.

The brand also invests heavily in guerrilla actions involving vending machines that are scattered in public places.

These actions have a great power of engagement, promoting interaction with people in an interactive way.

See the cool example of this action in a mall in Porto Alegre:

Another great action of the company always takes place in December, during the Christmas festivities.

In the opportunity, a caravan of trucks of the brand and illuminated with blinkers circulates for several cities of the country.

There’s no way to ignore it!


Netflix was one of the pioneers in the entertainment streaming service.

And, like Coca-Cola, it also always impresses with its guerrilla marketing campaigns.

Want an example?

To promote the launch of the third season of its original series The Orange Is The New Black, the brand has transformed the facade of a building in Paris into a kind of prison, making reference to the environment of the series.

What caught the most people’s attention was the presence of actresses in the facility, performing routine activities that someone who is in prison does.

McDonald’s vs. Burger King

In the fast-food market, there is no one who does not know the rivalry between the two brands.

Recently, they fought a battle on Black Friday: the potato war .

The result?

Again, they were the most cited brands of the event.

But that rivalry has not started now. It is historic.

What nobody expected was that, to celebrate the International Day of Peace, in 2015, Burger King would promote such an unusual and innovative action.

The brand published an ad in the form of an open letter in The New York Times, proposing the creation of a sandwich that would combine the main snack of the two in one: the McWhopper.

The sandwich would be sold only on that day and in a pop-up cafeteria built especially for the occasion, as a form of “truce” between them and the promotion of peace.

In contrast, McDonald’s did not accept the challenge and even created a bad image for the company with the answer given, stating that the two brands could do much more for peace if they worked separately.

Uber vs Lyft

You may not have heard of Lyft yet.

It is a company that works in the same segment as Uber, connecting users with drivers through a mobile app.

The company has not yet arrived in Brazil, but in the United States, guerrilla marketing is already widely used by it.

One of its actions was the distribution of pink mustaches to its drivers, making reference to the brand’s own color and differentiating them from the drivers of competitor Uber.

Uber’s response ended up pinning the competitor in a relaxed way and drew even more attention to the two services.

Actions were proposed that tried to convince rival drivers to switch platforms.

Kit Kat

kit kat

Nestlé’s action was super simple, but it certainly aroused the desire of many chocoholics out there.

Basically, the company painted wooden benches in Kit Kat colors, half chocolate and half packaging.

The interesting thing was that the painting perfectly fit urban furniture in a very creative way, giving a faithful impression of the chocolate bar.


Guerrilla marketing has a name that can suggest conflict – and in a way it does.

But as we saw in this article, he is almost always marked by good humor.

The public ends up having fun with the “war” between the brands and their creative and original actions.

It is also interesting to note that, although we have talked about market giants, this is a tailored strategy for small businesses.

Just think about how to “play” with the biggest competitor in your industry to attract the audience’s attention to you.

And at a low cost, which is even better.

So, are you ready to have creative ideas, out of the box and that will offer a unique experience to your audience?

Just do not forget to take care at the moment of execution so that everything happens as expected and that the action reaches its goal.

If you’ve done or do some guerrilla marketing actions, share them with us here in the comments.

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