What Is Guerrilla Marketing?

Guerrilla marketing is an innovative and cost-effective advertising technique that promotes a product, service or brand using unconventional and creative tactics. Its main goal is to capture the attention of the targeted audience in unexpected ways and build awareness by implementing unique strategies. Guerrilla marketing is distinguished by the following characteristics:

Unique Concepts:

Guerrilla marketing initiatives sometimes feature unconventional thinking and unique concepts that differ from regular advertising tactics.

Low Cost:

These campaigns are often less expensive than traditional advertising channels such as TV or radio ads.


Guerrilla marketing often varies from traditional marketing practices and may include unusual places, strategies, or products.

Personal Exposure:

Guerrilla marketing tactics are aimed to generate personal exposure and stimulate conversations.

Memorable Experience:

They attempt to create memorable and engaging experiences to encourage people to speak about the campaign.

Examples of Guerrilla marketing

Guerrilla marketing tactics adopt many shapes and their creativity is limitless. Here are some examples of guerrilla marketing campaigns that demonstrate the variety and influence of this advertising strategy:

Stratos Jump:

In 2012, Red Bull funded Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking free-fall from the edge of space. This risky action which featured Red Bull’s “Gives You Wings” tagline, was aired live on the internet and received a lot of attention.

T-Mobile’s “Dance” at Liverpool Street Station:

T-Mobile organized a flash mob of dancers at Liverpool Street Station in London. The impromptu dance performance drew commuters’ and passersby’s attention, generating a memorable and enjoyable experience.

The “Fearless Girl” monument:

State Street Global Advisors used Guerrilla marketing to place a monument of a courageous girl in front of the famous Wall Street Charging Bull in New York City. It was designed to raise awareness of gender diversity and equality in business leadership.

Netflix’s “Stranger Things” 3D Billboard:

To advertise the TV show “Stranger Things,” Netflix designed a 3D billboard in London which made it appear to be a Demogorgon (a creature from the show) breaking through the billboard.

BMW’s Ambient Marketing:

BMW devised an ambient marketing campaign in which an ad advertising their new M3 vehicle was put on an airport luggage carousel. As the carousel revolved, the automobile appeared to be drifting, highlighting the car’s flexibility and performance.

What Is Viral Marketing?

Viral marketing is a marketing technique that attempts to develop content or messages that spread quickly and widely among a targeted audience in the same way that a virus spreads from person to person. The purpose of viral marketing is to enhance brand exposure, engagement and product or service acceptance through referrals and social sharing.

The following are key features of viral marketing:


Viral marketing material is made to be easily shared. It’s usually interesting, instructive or emotionally moving which encourages individuals to share it with their friends, family or social network connections.

Emotional Engagement:

Viral marketing is based on network impacts which means that the more people who share the material, the more it spreads. This can result in an exponential increase in reach and engagement.

User-Generated material:

User-generated material is frequently used in viral marketing in which customers actively participate in generating or distributing the content. Challenges, contests and interactive experiences are examples of this.

Social Media:

These platforms are a popular avenue for viral marketing since they allow for simple sharing and amplification of information.

Low Cost:

Because viral marketing initiatives rely on organic sharing and recommendations rather than paid advertising, they can be less expensive than traditional advertising tactics.

Examples of Viral Marketing:

Here are some examples of viral marketing efforts that drew a lot of attention and participation:

ALS Cold Bucket Challenge:

In 2014, people poured buckets of cold water over their heads and challenged others to do the same, all in the name of raising awareness and funding for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) research. Celebrities, politicians and ordinary citizens from all around the world took part, resulting in millions of dollars in donations and widespread media coverage.

Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches”:

In Dove’s sociological experiment, an FBI-trained forensic artist sketched ladies based on self-descriptions and subsequently comments given by others. The ad aims to boost self-esteem and challenge women’s perceptions of their own beauty. It earned millions of views and encouraged debate on body image.

Oreo’s “Dunk in the Dark”:

When the stadium lights went out during the 2013 Super Bowl, Oreo tweeted a brilliant image of an Oreo cookie with the text “You can still dunk in the dark.” This timely and hilarious tweet went viral and received a lot of attention, proving the power of real-time marketing.

Twitter Campaign for KFC’s “11 Herbs and Spices”:

KFC’s Twitter account was following exactly 11 people: the five former Spice Girls and six males called Herb, a smart reference to their “11 herbs and spices” secret formula. This amusing discovery by a Twitter user quickly went viral, highlighting the brand’s smart and subtle marketing.

“The Whopper Detour” by Burger King:

Burger King sponsored a promotion encouraging consumers to get a Whopper for one cent but there was a catch: customers had to use the Burger King mobile app while visiting a McDonald’s location. The campaign capitalized on the rivalry between the two fast-food giants, generating major attention and app downloads.

Difference between Guerrilla Marketing and Viral Marketing

The major distinction between guerrilla marketing and viral marketing is found in their approach and execution. Guerrilla marketing is a creative and unconventional marketing technique that uses surprise, creativity and frequently unexpected tactics to attract a targeted audience’s attention. It frequently incorporates physical and real-world engagements such as public stunts, flash mobs or unique installations to create unforgettable experiences. Viral marketing, on the other hand, is a strategy that tries to develop digital content such as films, memes or challenges with the objective of fast spreading through social media and recommendations. While both types of marketing aim to build buzz and engagement, guerrilla marketing often focuses on in-person and physical events whereas viral marketing makes use of the power of the internet and social media platforms to spread information.

What are the benefits of using Guerrilla marketing and viral marketing?

Benefits of Guerrilla Marketing:

Guerrilla marketing has numerous significant advantages for organizations and brands. To begin with, it is a less expensive approach than traditional advertising methods, making it accessible to smaller firms with limited finances. Second, Guerrilla marketing can help firms stand out in a packed marketplace and develop referrals by creating unique and shareable experiences. It also has the potential to become viral which significantly enhances brand visibility. Furthermore, Guerrilla marketing encourages creativity and innovation, allowing firms to engage with their targeted audience in novel and unexpected ways. Finally, because customers often interact directly with the campaign, it promotes a sense of engagement and personal connection which boosts brand loyalty and affinity.

Benefits of Viral Marketing:

For organizations and brands, viral marketing has numerous significant benefits. For starters, it allows for exponential reach which is capable of swiftly distributing a message or campaign to a large and diversified audience. This spontaneous amplification driven by social networking and recommendations, has the potential to reach considerably more people than traditional advertising efforts. Second, it’s inexpensive because viral campaigns frequently focus on providing great content that resonates with the audience rather than dedicating large advertising resources. Because of its low cost, it is available to enterprises of all sizes. Furthermore, viral marketing raises brand recognition by increasing exposure and attention, thus presenting a company to a larger and more diversified audience.

Which Marketing Approach Is Right for You?

The decision between guerrilla marketing and viral marketing is influenced by a number of elements unique to your company’s goals, target audience, resources and brand identity. The uncommon and creative approach of guerrilla marketing can be a cost-effective method to generate memorable real-world encounters, making it great for firms wishing to display their originality and creativity. Viral marketing, on the other hand, is generally concentrated on digital content and can quickly increase online exposure and engagement, making it well-suited for businesses seeking to capitalize on digital channels and trends. Consider your budget, audience preferences, brand personality, goals, available resources, evaluation capabilities, competitive environment and risk tolerance before making your decision. A hybrid approach that incorporates parts of both guerrilla and viral marketing can turn out to be the most effective method in some circumstances.

Wrap Up:

To wrap up, the choice between guerrilla marketing and viral marketing should be guided by a thorough examination of your company’s specific requirements and circumstances. Both tactics have significant advantages: Guerrilla marketing thrives at producing memorable in-person encounters whereas viral marketing takes advantage of digital channels for instant visibility and interaction. Your budget, target audience, brand identity, goals, available resources, measurement capabilities, competitive environment and risk tolerance should all be considered. Flexibility is important as a dynamic adaptive strategy may produce the most beneficial outcomes.

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