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Guerrilla marketing

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Marketing management

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Guerrilla marketing is an advertisement strategy concept designed for businesses to promote their
products or services in an unconventional way with little budget to spend. This involves high energy
and imagination focusing on grasping the attention of the public in more personal and memorable
level. Some large companies use unconventional advertisement techniques, proclaiming to be
guerrilla marketing but those companies will have larger budget and the brand is already
visible.[1] The main point of guerrilla marketing is that the activities are done exclusively on the streets
or other public places, such as shopping centers, parks or beaches with maximum people access so
as to attract a bigger audience.[2]
Guerrilla marketing is a concept that has arisen as we move from traditional media to more online
and electronic media. It is a concept that was created by Jay Conrad Levinson when he wrote the
book Guerrilla Marketing in 1984. Traditional advertising media are channels such as print, radio,
television and direct mail (Belch & Belch, 2012) but as we are moving away from these channels the
marketers and advertisers have to find new strategies to get their commercial messages to the
consumer. Guerrilla marketing is an alternative strategy and is about taking the consumer by
surprise to make a big impression about the brand (What is Guerrilla Marketing, 2015), this in turn
creates buzz about the brand or product being marketed. It is a way of advertising that increases
engagement with the product or service, and is designed to create a memorable experience for the
consumer. By creating this memorable experience for the consumer, it also increases the likelihood
that a consumer, or someone who interacted with the campaign will tell their friends about it and via
word of mouth the product or service being advertised reaches a lot more people than initially
anticipated, and means it has more of a mass audience.
This style of marketing is extremely effective for small businesses to advertise their product or
service, especially if they are competing against bigger companies as it is inexpensive and focuses
more on reach rather than frequency. For guerrilla campaigns to be successful companies dont
need to spend large amounts, they just need to have imagination, energy and time (Bourn, 2009).
Guerrilla marketing is also an effective way companies who do not provide a tangible service can
advertise their products through the non traditional channels as long as they have an effective
As opposed to traditional media Guerrilla marketing cannot be measured by statistics, sales and hits
but is measured by profit made. It is designed to cut through clutter of traditional advertising and
have no mystery about what is being advertised. The message to consumers will be clear and
concise, the business will not diversify the message to the consumer and focus will be maintained.
This type of marketing also works on the unconscious mind, as purchases quite often are decided by
the unconscious mind. To keep the product or service in the unconscious mind means repetition is
needed, so if a buzz is created around a product and it is shared amongst friends it enables
repetition. (Bourn, 2009)
Two types of marketing encompassed by guerrilla marketing are viral marketing and buzz marketing.
Unlike typical public marketing campaigns that utilize billboards, guerrilla marketing involves the
application of multiple techniques and practices in order to establish direct contact with the
customers.[3] One of the goals of this interaction is to cause an emotional reaction in the clients and
the final goal of marketing is to get people to remember brands in a different way than they are used
to . The technique involves from flyer distribution in public spaces to creating an operation at major
event or festival mostly without directly connecting to the event but using the opportunity. The
challenge with any guerrilla marketing campaign is to find the correct place and time to do the
operation without getting involved in legal issues.
According to Marcel Saucet, 2013, the different types of guerrilla marketing
are ambient, ambush, stealth, viral and street marketing.[4]


o 1.1Ambient marketing
o 1.2Ambush marketing
o 1.3Stealth marketing
o 1.4Viral/buzz marketing
o 1.5Guerrilla projection advertising
o 1.6Grassroots marketing
o 1.7Wild posting
o 1.8Astroturfing
o 1.9Street marketing
1.9.1Distribution of flyers or products
1.9.2Product animations
1.9.3Human animations
1.9.4Road shows
1.9.5Uncovered actions
1.9.6Event actions
1.9.7Presence marketing
2Etymology and origin
3Street marketing
4Typical procedure
6Online guerilla marketing
7Associated marketing trends
o 7.1Undercover marketing
9Strategic risk
10Inexpensive costs
11See also
14External links

Ambient marketing
Ambient communication is a complex form of corporate communication that uses elements of the
environment, including nearly every available physical surface, to convey messages that elicit
customer engagement.[5] It is a compilation of intelligence, flexibility, and effective use of the
Ambient marketing, which can be referred to as presence marketing can be defined as:
"The placement of advertising in unusual and unexpected places (location) often with unconventional
methods (execution) and being first or only ad execution to do so (temporal)"[6]
Ambient marketing can be found anywhere and everywhere from hand dryers in public bathrooms
and petrol pumps through to bus hand straps and golf-hole cups[7] and can often interact with
Ambush marketing
Ambush marketing is a form of associative marketing, utilized by an organization to capitalize upon
the awareness, attention, goodwill, and other benefits, generated by having an association with an
event or property, without that organization having an official or direct connection to that event or
It is typically seen at major events where rivals of official sponsors use creative and sometimes
covert tactics to build an association with the event and increase awareness for their brands. For
example, Nike during the 2012 London Olympics, Nike created 'find your Greatness' spots where
they featured athletes from several locations called London (but without showing the real London or
referring to the Olympic games) which helped in building a strong association between London
Olympics and Nike.[9]
Stealth marketing
Stealth marketing is a deliberate act of entering, operating in, or exiting a market in a furtive,
secretive or imperceptible manner, or an attempt to do so.[10] People get involved with the product
without them actually knowing that they are the part of advertisement campaign. This needs to be
implemented with uttermost covertness because if the participants become aware of the campaign, it
will have a negative effect on the brand resulting in ethical doubts about its use.
Viral/buzz marketing
Viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message
to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the messages exposure and influence.
Like viruses, such strategies take advantage of rapid multiplication to explode the message to
thousands, to millions. Off the Internet, viral marketing has been referred to as "word-of-mouth",
"creating a buzz", "leveraging the media", "network marketing", But on the Internet, for better or
worse, its called "viral marketing".[11]
Similarly, buzz marketing uses high-profile media to encourage the public to discuss the brand or
product.[7] Buzz marketing works best when consumers responses to a product or service and
subsequent endorsements are genuine, without the company paying them. Buzz generated from
buzz marketing campaigns is referred to as "amplified WOM" (word-of-mouth), and "organic WOM"
is when buzz occurs naturally by the consumer.[7]
In 1976, biofeedback and psychophysiological instrument manufacturer Thought Technology Ltd.
was one of the earliest organizations to use this practice and define it by name. Ten years prior to
the terms' official use, Thought Technology implemented buzz marketing at the International
Exhibition of Inventions and New Techniques in Geneva.[12] Though unable to afford traditional
marketing, the small company was featured in a news article across from the Canadarm after
winning a silver medal for their GSR biofeedback instrumentation. This high-profile association
created buzz surrounding the product, as the endorsement was genuine. The resulting organic
WOM led to a personal congratulations from the 15th Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau. In
1984, a later use of this marketing strategy included a 3-page article in Prevention (magazine) which
garnered enough sales for the company to pay off all debts.[13] This organization is an early example
of how to use press and media in buzz marketing.[14]
Guerrilla projection advertising
Guerrilla projection advertising is effectively a digital billboard that is projected at night onto the side
of a building without permission of the governing bodies (i.e. council permits), or the permission from
owner of the building.[15] The displays are projected on buildings in high traffic locations (i.e. people
on foot and in vehicles). Guerrilla projection advertising is an effective addition to campaigns of a
considerable size, for example a product launch, the release of a new film, retail promotions
etc.[15] As with several guerrilla marketing techniques, guerrilla projection advertising may incur fines
or penalties for advertising without the consent of the building owner. This comes at a risk to the
company and/or brand. The advantages and disadvantages of this form of guerrilla marketing must
be carefully considered before proceeding to avoid unwanted expenses.[15]
Grassroots marketing
Grassroots campaigns aim to win customers over on an individual basis. A successful grassroots
campaign is not about the dissemination of the marketing message in the hope that possible
consumers are paying attention, but rather highlights a personal connection between the consumer
and the brand and builds a lasting relationship with the brand.[16]
Wild posting
Wild postings (also referred to as flyposting or bill posting) is a fundamental guerrilla marketing
campaign which uses cost-effective static poster campaigns where posters are adhered without
permission to high traffic urban areas such as the side of buildings, walkways or alleys, shopping
malls, lampposts, university campuses, on caf bulletin boards or skate parks etc.[17] Wild posting
marketing can encompass different varieties including paper posters, tear-away posters, guerrilla
cling posters (statically charged plastic posters which can stick to most smooth surfaces), magnets,
stickers and vinyl labels.[17] There may be legal issues around wild posting, however, if the display is
not posted on a paid advertising space as it is illegal to advertise on private property without prior
Of all the guerrilla marketing strategies, Astroturfing is among the most controversial and has a high
risk factor for the company marketing the product or service.[18] Astroturfing derives from artificial
turf, often used in stadiums or tennis courts also known as fake grass. Hence, fake
endorsements, testimonials and recommendations are all products of Astroturfing in the public
relations sector.[18] Astroturfing involves generating an artificial hype around a particular product or
company through a review or discussion on online blogs or forums by an individual who is paid to
convey a positive view. This can have a negative and detrimental effect on a company, should the
consumer suspect that the review or opinion is not authentic, damaging the companys reputation or
even worse, resulting in litigation.[18]
Street marketing
Street marketing uses unconventional means of advertising or promoting products and brands in
public areas with the main goal to encourage consumers to remember and recall the brand or
product marketed. As a division of guerrilla marketing, street marketing is specific to all marketing
activities carried out in streets and public areas such as parks, streets, events etc. Street marketing
is not limited to areas as it also encompasses advertising outdoors such as on shopping trollies,
public toilets, sides of cars or public transport, manhole covers, footpaths, rubbish bins etc.[19]
Street marketing isnt confined to fixed advertisements. It is common practice for organisations to
utilise brand ambassadors who can distribute product samples and discount vouchers and answer
queries about the product while emphasizing the brand. The brand ambassadors may be
accompanied by a bicycle kiosk which contains the product samples or demonstration materials, or
they may be wearing a "walking billboard". The physical interaction with consumers has a greater
influencing power than traditional passive advertising.[20]
According to Marcel Saucet and Bernard Cova,[21] street marketing can be used as a general term
encompassing six principal types of activities:
Distribution of flyers or products
This activity is more traditional and the most common form of street marketing employed by brands.
Product animations
This form of operation consists of personalizing a high-traffic space using brand imagery. The idea is
to create a micro-universe in order to promote a new product or service.
Human animations
The goal of such actions is to create a space in which the brand's message is communicated
through human activity.
Road shows
This form of mobile presentation is based on the development of means of transport: Taxi, bike,
Segway, etc.
Uncovered actions
These activities involve the customization of street elements.
Event actions
These activities take the form of spectacles, such as flash mobs or contests. The idea is to promote
a product, service or brand value through organization of a public event.
Presence marketing
This is a guerrilla marketing type that goes along the same lines as ambient marketing. Products are
to maintain a constant presence through product placements, street ads, stalls at local festivals and
Etymology and origin
The term "guerrilla marketing" is traced to guerrilla warfare, which employs atypical tactics to achieve
an objective. In 1984, the term guerrilla marketing was introduced by Leo Burnett's creative
director Jay Conrad Levinson in his book Guerrilla Marketing.[22][23][24] The term itself was from the
inspiration of guerrilla warfare which was unconventional warfare using different techniques from
usual and small tactic strategies used by armed civilians. It involves high imagination and energy to
execute a guerrilla marketing campaign. This kind of marketing is purely focusing on taking the
consumer by surprise, creating a greater impression and eventually leading to buzz through word-of-
mouth or social media platforms. Guerrilla marketing is perfect for any small or medium size
businesses to bring their product or services to its consumers without investing more money on
advertisements. This has also been used by large companies to show the difference from its
competitors and to make use of social media campaigns. Lately, individuals use unconventional
methods of job hunting or to work more.[25] As a result, the concept of street marketing was born. It
has evolved from being only the application of activities on the streets, to be the development of
innovative practices of promotion.[26] For example, one method used by many enterprises to promote
their products or services on the streets is the distribution of fliers. This activity does not focus on
creativity, but on making publicity on the streets. However, with the passage of time, companies
have developed more unconventional techniques to catch the attention of the clients.[21]

Street marketing
Main article: Street marketing
Street marketing is a subset of guerrilla marketing. Like guerrilla marketing, street marketing has the
characteristic of being unconventional.[27] However, it is limited to the streets or public places. Other
forms of guerrilla marketing use other media and processes, such as the Internet, to establish
communication with the customers.
Guerrilla marketing is indeed being understood more and more as mobilizing not only the space of
the streets but also the imagination of the street: that of street culture and street art.[28] The Y
generation, broadly consisting of young urbanites (15 30 years old), is often put forth as the most
susceptible target for the campaigns due to its associations with the culture of the street.[29]The
success on any guerrilla marketing campaign lies on the relationship between advertiser and the
agency. Both parties will have feel the need and work on it with same goals. The desire for instant
gratification of internet users provides an avenue for guerrilla marketing by allowing businesses to
combine wait marketing with guerrilla tactics. Simple examples consist of using 'loading' pages or
image alt texts to display an entertaining or informative message to users waiting to access the
content they were trying to get to. As users dislike waiting with no occupation on the web, it is
essential, and easy, to capture their attention this way. Other website methods include interesting
web features such as engaging landing pages.
Street marketing, unlike traditional media like usual flyers or billboards, uses different techniques
trying to get engaged with the target audience. This was born when companies wanted to take steps
to make customers attracted to the brand rather than waiting for them to come. This was especially
the case with small and medium businesses.[30] Levinson, in 1984 mentioned that the guerrilla
marketing can be executed in the street but street marketing itself was coined by Saucet in 2013.
The different types of street marketing types, according to the model of Cova and Saucet are: Street/
Ambient; Ambush/ Parasitic; Stealth/ undercover; Viral / Buzz.[31] The difficulty with street marketing
campaign is to plan, organize and execute the operation. The agencies or advertisers will always
have to identify a unique and creative idea, integrate the message required by the advertisers in the
operation in such a way that most of the target audience understands it clearly and has the potential
to get it viral. If the campaigns intent is vague or abstract, the viewers will fail to notice the effect and
the message.
Typical procedure
First, enterprises identify the public places where the campaign can be developed such as beaches,
cultural events, close to schools, sporting events and recreation areas for children.[32] Next,
companies have to develop a plan to get close to different media and the target market.[5] In order to
attract attention, street marketing events not only involve unusual activities, but use technology as
part of the events. The purpose is to increase the value of the campaigns and get potential
consumers' attention.[33]
Besides, the plans that companies develop take into account that guerrilla or street marketing
involves global communication and interaction not only with the customers or the media.[2] They are
also developed to identify opportunities and collect enough information about products, markets and
competitors. For example, for business it is important that customers stay with them, instead of
choosing the competitors offers. They implement innovative strategies with which they will not lose
position in the market, and they consider supplementation with other advertisement through other
mediums, such as radio and television, when using street marketing.[34][full citation needed]
There are various examples of strategies that are used in guerrilla marketing. One of them is to
provide offers to increase sales. In many cases, businesses do not only supply their products or
services to be recognized, but they also offer other things for free. Another instance is to present a
fundraiser offer. The point of this strategy is to help other organizations, such as schools, by offering
them money. Most companies implement this method not only to increase their sales, but to improve
their reputation and image among the community. Finally, there is a strategy called "team selling"
that consists of conforming groups of people, the majority of them young, who go knocking the doors
of different houses in a neighborhood. They do this in order to help companies promoting and selling
their products or services.[citation needed]
When doing guerrilla marketing or street marketing, organizations also consider focusing on the
psychological approach. For many companies, this implies if they are having success or not. Street
marketing focuses on some psychological aspects to know customers' behavior and preferences.
For example, certain psychological areas study how peoples brains are divided: 45% of people are
left-brained, 45% are right brained, and 10% are balanced. Left-brained persons tend to be logical,
right-brained ones tend to be emotional, and the rest combine the two. Then, according to the
product or service that enterprises provide, and also the kind of customer, businesses decides the
way they are going to manage their street marketing campaigns. Besides, almost all the enterprises
base their street marketing campaigns on repeating the messages they spread among their
customers. Repetition is related to the unconscious part of the mind. This is the one in charge of
making decisions. It lets people know what they are going to choose, as well as what they are going
to buy. Businesses follow the principle that establishes that, the more people paying attention to the
campaign, the more possibilities that campaign has for being remembered.
When a company decides to do a guerrilla marketing campaign which could be anything out of viral,
ambient, ambush, street or stealth, the focus for them is to meet the objectives. The main objectives
for them are:

To create enough buzz to serve in word-of-mouth, helping the brand

to establish well with its products.
To touch most of the five sensory identities of the
customer/consumer enhancing personal experience with the brand
and building good reputation.
To reach the target successfully by taking the brand to them in their
daily routine.
Through the experience and the ephemeral feelings shared between the company and the target,
advertisers and agencies generate a feeling of intimacy that resonates beyond the encounter. This
feeling of nearness becomes all the more lasting as the affected individuals relive this encounter on
the internet through social media.[35]

The guerrilla marketing promotion strategy was first identified by Jay Conrad Levinson in his
book Guerrilla Marketing(1984).The book describes hundreds of "guerrilla marketing weapons" in
use at the time. Guerrilla marketers need to be creative in devising unconventional methods of
promotion to maintain the public's interest in a product or service. Levinson writes that when
implementing guerrilla marketing tactics, smaller organizations and entrepreneurs are actually at an
advantage. Ultimately, however, guerrilla marketers must "deliver the goods." In The Guerrilla
Marketing Handbook, the authors write: " order to sell a product or a service, a company must
establish a relationship with the customer. It must build trust and support the customer's needs, and
it must provide a product that delivers the promised benefits..."[36]

Online guerilla marketing

The web is rife with examples of guerrilla marketing, to the extent that many of us don't notice its
presence - until a particularly successful campaign arises. The desire for instant gratification of
internet users provides an avenue for guerrilla marketing by allowing businesses to combine wait
marketing with guerrilla tactics. Simple examples consist of using 'loading' pages or image alt texts
to display an entertaining or informative message to users waiting to access the content they were
trying to get to. As users dislike waiting with no occupation on the web, it is essential, and easy, to
capture their attention this way. Other website methods include interesting web features such as
engaging landing pages.
Many online marketing strategies also use social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn to begin
campaigns, share-able features and event host events. Other companies run competitions or
discounts based on encouraging users to share or create content related to their product. Viral
videos are an incredibly popular form of guerrilla marketing in which companies film entertaining or
surprising videos that internet users are likely to share and enjoy, that subtly advertise their service
or product. Some companies such as Google even create interactive elements like the themed
Google logo games to spark interest and engagement. These dynamic guerrilla marketing tactics
can become news globally and give businesses considerable publicity.

Associated marketing trends

Guerrilla marketing for McDonald's

The term, guerrilla marketing, is now often used more loosely as a descriptor for the use of non-
traditional media, such as or street art, graffiti (or "reverse graffiti"), flyer-posting, ambush marketing,
and forehead advertising. It may also be a strong component of promotions involving associated
strategies, such as:

Grassroots marketing and astroturfingdisguising company

messaging as an authentic grassroots movement;
Street or "tissue pack" marketinghand-to-hand marketing;
Wait marketingpresented when and where consumers are waiting
(such as medical offices, urinals, or gas pumps).
Internet marketinghaving presence on sites, subliminally
encouraging its users (thereby creating "buzz" through a
combination of viral and undercover marketing);
Viral marketingthrough social networks.
Publicity stunts- A publicity stunt is defined as a pre-planned event
that is designed to attract the publics eye and attention, to create
hype about that topic, event or service.
Undercover marketing
Undercover marketing (also known as "stealth marketing", or, by its detractors, "roach baiting") is
where consumers do not realize they are being marketed to. Buzz campaigns can reach consumers
isolated from all other media, and unlike conventional media, consumers tend to trust it more often,
as it is usually coming from a friend or acquaintance. Overall, the person doing the marketing must
look and sound like a peer of their target audience, without any signs of an ulterior motive for
endorsing the item.

There are various organizations who have implemented the guerrilla and street marketing strategies.
The majority of them are small companies, but there are also big companies that have involved in
the guerrilla and street marketing environment.[37] Most of the examples of the strategies that both
small and big enterprises have put into action include costumed persons, the distribution of tickets,
people providing samples, among others. As stated before, one guerrilla marketing conventional
method that is used by many businesses is to provide fliers. The goal is to create awareness on the
customers about what the enterprise is doing. One example of this took place in Montpelier,
Vermont, where the New England Culinary Institute (NECI) sent a group of students to a movie
theatre to hand out 400 fliers. Those fliers had coupons in which NECI was inviting people to go to
its monthly Theme Dinners. Another company, Boston's Kung-Fu Tai Chi Club, chose the option of
disseminating fliers instead of placing its advertisements on the newspapers. The purpose of the
fliers was to promote the company's self-defence classes for women.
Other businesses apply the technique of sending disguised people to promote things on the streets.
For example, organized a street marketing activity in the Feria del Libro (Book Fair) in
Madrid. It consisted of a man dressed like a prince who was walking among the crowd looking for his
real love. He had a glass slipper and even got to try the shoe on some people. A woman behind
him was giving bookmarks to the people which contained messages such as Times have changed;
the way to find love, too or You have been reading love stories all your life; experience yours on Also, in Madrid and Barcelona, Nokia developed a campaign called Avestruz
(Ostrich) to promote the 5500 and 5700 mobiles. In the campaign, a group of real-size ostrich
puppets tried to interact with young people in order to let them know these mobiles provide a high-
quality MP3 playback. The puppets were holding their own telephones and listening to the music.
When a young person appeared, the puppet tried to catch his/her attention to show him/her the
quality of the mobile. The reason why Nokia decided to use ostriches was that they are big animals,
so people could easily look at them.[37]
There are enterprises that disseminate passes or tickets to different events. For example, Sony
invests on joining promoters and tells them that they have to infiltrate in public meetings. What they
have to do is to distribute free tickets to concerts and other musical events sponsored by the
company . Another instance is the Spanish company Clickair (an extension of Iberia airlines), that
developed a campaign in which a group of five people had to walk through Barcelona streets
dressed as Euros. The group was supplying approximately 3,000 tickets to promote different Clickair
destinations. The people who first sent a text message with the required information would get free
tickets to go on a trip. In the end, the company received a total of 3,390 messages. Along with these
examples, there are other street marketing techniques that are even more unusual. Lee Jeans, a
French company dedicated to the selling of jeans, promoted the opening of their new store in rue
des Rosiers in Paris. The method they applied consisted of distributing denims, as well as denim
accessories, on the different streets of the neighborhood. Furthermore, in Italy, the members of the
company Nintendo put into action a campaign in which they used post-its to promote the Wii
console. They pasted several post-it with the shapes of some characters from different video games.
Those images were placed as if they were billboards on the streets. Wii not forget, the name of the
campaign, and a brief explanation of it, were the words written on the post-its. In some cases, some
street marketing may incite the ire of local authorities; such was the case in Houston, Texas, when
BMWs ad agency (Street Factory Media in Minneapolis)attached a replication, made from
Styrofoam, of a Mini-Cooper to the side of a downtown building.[38] For the cost of a small city-issued
fine, the company received front page advertising on the Houston Chronicle.
Sony Ericsson used an undercover campaign in 2002 when they hired 60 actors in ten major cities
and had them accost strangers and ask them: "Would you mind taking my picture?" The actor then
handed the target a brand new picture phone while talking about how cool the new device was. "And
thus an act of civility was converted into a branding event.[39]
Guerrilla marketing is not just exclusive to small companies. For big companies it is a high risk, high
reward strategy. When successful it can capture even more market share, but if it fails it can damage
the companys brand image. One successful guerrilla marketing campaign is the Coca-Cola
Happiness Machine. In January 2010, Coca-Cola, with the help of Definition 6, filmed a reaction
video of a Coke vending machine dispensing doses of happiness to unsuspecting students in St.
Johns University. A seemingly normal vending machine surprised students by dispensing items that
were more than they bargained for. The students received goodies ranging from extra coke, pizza,
flowers, to even a twelve-foot hero sub. Cokes goal to inspire consumers through small, surprise
moments of happiness said Paul Iannacchino Jr., Creative Director, Definition 6. With a budget of
only $60,000, the video generated 500,000 views in the first week. It now has over 7 million views to
date. The campaign was so popular that a 30-second edit of the footage was featured during
American Idols season finale. The Coca-Cola Happiness Machine also went on to receive the
CLIOs prestigious Gold Interactive Award at the 51st annual awards dinner held in New York City.
After the campaigns success, Coca-Cola decided to continue with the Happiness theme and has
released similar videos since then.[40]

Strategic risk
Because of the nature of guerrilla marketing, the message and objective must be clearly defined in
order to avoid being misunderstood. Misinterpretation by the targeted audience of the message
intended to be promoted is a risk. Word-of-mouth advertising does not always stay focused enough
to present the intended message. The rumor-like spread of word-of-mouth marketing is
uncontrollable once released, and can result in a misrepresentation of the message or confusion
about a brand.
Another risk involves wrongly timed (or wrongly placed) events, which may actually be perceived to
be against the interests of the consumer. For instance, in an ill-conceived promotion which took
place on January 31, 2007, several magnetic circuit boardseach with an flashing LED cartoon
figurewere attached to metal surfaces in and around Boston, Massachusetts to promote the
animated series, Aqua Teen Hunger Force. The circuit boards were mistakenly taken for explosive
devices. Several subway stations; bridges; and a portion of Interstate 93 were closed as police
examined, removed, and (in some cases) destroyed the devices.[41]
Some guerrilla marketing may incite the ire of local authorities. Then risks are assessed and may still
be considered worthwhile. Such was the case in Houston, Texas, when BMW Auto's ad agency,
Street Factory Media, attached a replica of a Mini-Cooper (made of Styrofoam), to the side of a
downtown building in January 2013.[42] For the small cost of a city-issued fine, the company received
front page advertising in the Houston Chronicle.
Another problem presents itself if marketers fail to properly execute an undercover campaign. They
run considerable risk of backlash. An example of this can be found in Sony Entertainment's on-line
debacle with Zipatoni. The company attempted to promote Zipatoni through a stealth marketing
campaign, which was quickly detected by the internet community, resulting in Sony immediately
experiencing a backlash from video game enthusiasts.[43]
Street art is thus a subversive activity, hijacking public places and inventing rather paradoxical forms
of expression that reformulate ways of communicating,[44] all of which inform street marketing
practices. Thus marketing in the street, given that it is inspired by the work of such artists, brings
with it constraints and statutory risks for which agencies and advertisers are generally not
prepared.[45] The main problem is that, by definition, street mobilization campaigns require the use of
public space, and that use must be authorized by government authorities to be legal. This is just as
true for simple operations like distributing flyers as it is for mobilizing products or people and, of
course, for a disguised campaign.[46]
The authorizations necessary to carry out such a campaign are often very difficult to obtain within
the time allotted for bringing the plan to fruition. Numerous potential operations have failed to obtain
authorization for safety reasons, and in certain urban areas it is even expressly forbidden to
undertake a guerrilla marketing campaign. In such cases, many agencies and advertisers will simply
go ahead with the operation, meaning that they choose to act without authorization.[37] How is such a
choice reached, and on what bases? How is it justified? What impact does this choice have on the
performance and costs of the operation? What transformations does this choice bring to the agency
advertiser relationship? These are the main questions posed in the development of street marketing
operations today.[37]

Inexpensive costs
In a declining economy, guerrilla marketing is an increasing solution to giving companies the
comparative edge over others. During times where companies are downsizing and cutting costs,
companies look to guerrilla marketing as a cheaper strategy than conventional marketing. Instead of
investing money in the marketing process, guerrillas invest energy, time and creativity.[47] If done
successfully, companies will be able to reach conventional goals for profits and growth with a smaller
marketing budget. One such example is the Blair Witch Project. A group of film students filmed an
amateur horror movie. By setting up an internet campaign devoted to spreading rumors about the
fictitious 'Blair Witch', it created a lot of interest for the film. With a budget of $50,000, the movie
grossed $250 million worldwide.
According to Jay Levinson, guerrilla marketing emphasizes strongly on customer follow-up rather
than ignoring customers after their purchase. Focusing on customer follow-up is a cheaper strategy
because the cost of selling to a new customer is six times higher than selling to an existing
customer. During a tough economy, it is important to focus on building relationships rather than
sales, and aiming at individuals instead of groups. This promotes repeat sales, referrals and
increased size of purchase. The use of telephone as a follow-up tool is helpful in improving customer
relationships. Email is also another inexpensive tool for maintaining relationships. Emails can be
used to direct people to the company website. The site can be then used to provide information and
to advance sales.[48]
Honesty is an important attribute when marketing to customers during tough times. When companies
show that they are fully aware of the economic situation and why they have priced their products
accordingly, this earns the customer's respect. Explaining the current situation and the risks and the
steps the company is taking to the customers will give the customers assurance and also maintains
their trust. One example is the Las Vegas tourism board. During the 2008 recession, Las Vegas was
one of the cities that were hit the hardest. They released an ad campaign showing people they were
fully aware of the recession yet, in a dramatic way, showing 'that regular people are coming here and
having a blast'. This piqued a lot of interest which in turn led to an increase in tourism to Las Vegas
during the recession.[49]

See also
Customer experience management
Earned media

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External links
Gotcha! Ads Push the Envelope; CNN/Money article

Guerrilla theatre and derivations


errilla (1967)


on (1971)


ng (1984)



ime Troupe (1959)

ions (1947)

k (1958)





nson (1933)




rg (1945)

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Business books
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