How much does guerrilla marketing cost

In general, the word “guerrilla” is associated with fighting and conflict. In combination with the word “marketing”, most readers probably do not have a direct association and many people ask themselves what this is actually about.

What is guerrilla marketing?

At Guerrilla marketing is unconventional marketing campaigns, which achieve a great effect with a small effort. Guerrilla marketing increases the visibility of a brand for a large number of people without annoying them.

Guerilla marketing is not a form of combative communication or intrusive promotions (similar to guerrilla tactics). That would be against all principles of the inbound methodology. However, the approach is very unconventional and therefore not easy to explain. It is best illustrated with successful examples. This is exactly what we want to do in this article to show the best practices for this form of marketing.

Let’s see a few first Guerrilla Marketing Basics and then go into more detail about how it is being implemented successfully today.

Guerrilla Marketing: Warfare and Marketing

As mentioned at the beginning, the association with guerrilla warfare is obvious. It's not that wrong, because the term is derived from military language. There, guerrilla warfare is seen as a type of warfare that is largely based on a surprise effect. According to Creative Guerrilla Marketing, the basics are ambush, sabotage, and attack.

But how can this be transferred to our daily work? In marketing, too, guerrilla tactics are mainly based on a surprise effect. It's about that Consumer attention by atypical campaigns on objects and in places where they don't expect them to. The examples below show what something like this can look like.

The Concept of guerrilla marketing was established in the early 1980s by management consultant Jay Conrad Levinson. He has written several books on guerrilla strategies in various professional fields. At that time, of course, marketing was practiced very differently.

But even if guerrilla marketing still exists today, it is taking on completely different forms in the growing digital landscape. You will also see this in the examples below.

Budget friendly marketing campaigns

In particular, marketers value guerrilla marketing as a marketing strategy for the generally low financial outlay. The greatest effort of such a campaign is intellectual and creative in nature, but the implementation of the marketing ideas can be quite easy under certain circumstances.

Michael Brenner sums this up very elegantly in his article "Guerrilla Content", in which he equates this type of marketing with the recycling of content, such as expanding certain elements of a report to make a contribution from it. That costs time, but not money in and of itself.

So you could say that Guerilla marketing from the familiar environment makes advertising space to potential customers. So it pays to analyze this environment and find out what you can work with.

Types of guerrilla marketing

Even if guerrilla marketing is itself a sub-category of marketing, you can still identify other categories, as the company ALT TERRAIN describes:

  • Ambient marketing (outside) - Temporary and removable elements are attached to certain locations in a city, such as statues or works of art on the pavement.
  • Ambient Marketing (Inside) -Works like ambient marketing in outdoor areas, but in indoor spaces such as train stations, shops (at the point of sale) or university buildings.
  • Ambush Marketing -Ambush marketing uses concerts or sporting events to conspicuously advertise a specific product or service, often without the permission of the event sponsor.
  • Experience Marketing - This is a combination of the forms just mentioned, which requires interaction between consumers and the brand.

9 inspiring examples of guerrilla marketing

This can be done without suitable examples Concept of guerrilla marketing seem a little abstract and confusing. So let's see how this approach is being implemented by well-known companies.

1) Bounty


The kitchen roll brand "Bounty" brought life-size "dirty things" to the streets of New York: a huge, overturned coffee mug and an oversized, melting ice lolly. This is how the company advertises your product in a few words and in a unique way and clarifies the solution it offers the consumer.

You might be wondering if a billboard wouldn't have had the same effect. If we're honest, unfortunately not. We are more and more inclined to block out any advertising around us. For this reason we like DVDs and ad-free streaming options such as maxdome and YouTube (with ad blockers).

Unlike billboards, this campaign cannot be easily ignored. Let's be honest: if you almost stumble over a bathtub-sized popsicle on your way to work, you stop and take a closer look at the whole thing. Or is it not?

What we learn from it: Think about the solutions your product or service offers. Which is most important? Find an unconventional way to illustrate this to your target audience. Preferably without words.

2) Lenor (Procter & Gamble)

The German department of the guerrilla marketing agency Caveman developed a campaign for the laundry detergent and fabric softener brand Lenor that used drones. The automated vehicles drove up and down a shopping center, and a label encouraged passers-by and visitors to follow the drones in order to take part in a detergent test.

People who followed this invitation were then directed to a “booth” that was doing more traditional advertising, this time by people. Interested parties could see the advertised products in action to convince themselves of their effectiveness or to try them out for themselves.

What we learn from it: Guerrilla marketing can be combined with traditional approaches to make them more effective. Because what is often the weakness in traditional marketing is the strength of guerrilla marketing: catching attention!

3) The Grammys

Granted, this example is not entirely fair as it did not take place in real life. But wouldn't it be pretty impressive if it were real? To present the Grammy nominees for "Album of the Year", the Grammy Awards Show created a video in which the artists' street posters come to life and sing as they go by.

Of course, this cannot actually be done in this form, but imagine how extraordinary it would be to have a poster with animation and soundtrack advertise your brand. It would be completely different from a traditional billboard, as people certainly don't expect an advertisement to suddenly move and make sounds.

We admit that this project wouldn't be particularly budget friendly and required some technical sophistication. But if it were possible to place a moving or digital image in unexpected places like walls, in the middle of a flood of posters, it would surely surprise the unsuspecting passers-by and get their attention.

What we learn from it: Think about the places your target audience passes by every day or what objects they come into contact with and create something that is both unexpected and interactive in this context.

4) Frontline

Source: Marketing Ideas 101

At first glance, it's easy to fall for this photo and instinctively want to save the dog from the flies. Only then does it become apparent that the dog is not real and certainly not the flies.

The marketers at Frontline, an anti-parasitic drug for dogs and cats, posted a giant poster on the floor of a building. They knew that there were countless people walking around here every day and that there were probably almost as many on the higher floors, who would then see the optical dog-and-fly illusion. This advertisement is hard to miss and a guarantee for a second look.

Just like the previous examples, this campaign is also characterized by the fact that it creates a form of random human interaction that clearly shows the benefits of the advertised product. Unlike a traditional marketing approach that would have simply used a billboard, it is hard to ignore this installation.

What we learn from it: Find out how passers-by might involuntarily interact with your message and how they might manage to get people to be part of your campaign.

5) Giller travel agency

The travel agency Giller from Munich drew attention to itself in the winter of 2006 with a clever advertising campaign. The company's creative minds used snow-covered cars as advertising space for their own travel offers. Without further ado, vacation destinations and travel expenses were "written in the snow" and an information card from the travel agency was tucked under the windshield wiper.

In doing so, it was important to advertise warm holiday destinations in the middle of the cold winter, which of course is all the more popular in the cold season.

What we learn from it: Under the right circumstances, guerrilla marketing can work on the smallest (or even no) budget. As with all other forms of marketing and advertising, care should always be taken to meet the respective circumstances and the needs / wishes of the respective target group.

6) Burger King

Source: Seventeen

Ending a relationship is not easy, especially when it can be tracked on the Internet. That (supposedly) happened when an Instagram user commented on this post and told how his girlfriend got food from Burger King.

There was only one catch: his actual girlfriend wasn't even anywhere near a Burger King. So what did he mean by that? The drama took its course in the further comments.

After the comments hit the headlines, it was speculated that Burger King's slugfest was merely staged. If so, we can only congratulate the fast food chain, which is a pretty nifty way of getting your brand up and running. Burger King has almost a million followers on Instagram. In comparison, the big competitor McDonald's has 2.1 million followers.

While we don't know how many followers Burger King had before this famous relationship drama, it can be assumed that the campaign drew attention to the company's social media presence (at least on Instagram). Surely many have the brand's posts on Instagramobserved, but did you talk about it before this event?

What we learn from it: Guerrilla marketing can also work in a digital environment. Ask yourself which platforms your target audience is active on and whether there might be an opportunity there to stage a small show for them. Of course, you shouldn't be inventing anything, but creative use of digital platforms (and comments too!) Can go a long way in getting your brand off the ground.


This campaign by the health organization UNICEF raises the question of what would happen if the bottled water, which many of us buy in bulk, were polluted. In this way, UNICEF reminds the privileged population that in large parts of the world there is no clean drinking water for entire villages.

For example, UNICEF encourages passers-by to donate money for measures to procure drinking water in poorer countries instead of spending it carelessly on bottled water. To this end, it designed machines that sold polluted water and named the individual switches (usually the types of drink) after diseases that such polluted water can cause.

What we learn from it: Guerrilla marketing also works for nonprofits. Even if cruel or sad images are often a very impressive way of communicating your mission, there are still ways to bring it to people in a more subtle and interactive way.

8) Gold Toe


Are you selling underwear and looking for an unconventional way to market your products? Just put on boxer shorts of the same size as a giant bull statue!

This bizarre and yet so simple idea came from GoldToe, who were looking for a way to advertise their new underwear collection: They casually put on statues in New York underwear.

While we don't know where GoldToe got this size shorts from, it would be extremely nifty if the bull statue-sized shorts were made from scraps of fabric to make the campaign even more budget and environmentally friendly.

What we learn from it: Don't think about it too much. Sometimes the silliest marketing idea might be the best.

9) Greene King

When you meet up with your friends or family after a long period of time, what two things are likely to accompany this happy occasion? We just guess:

  1. eat
  2. Drink

The British brewery Greene King (which also includes pubs and hotel chains) launched a campaign to clarify why small shops and pubs are an important element of any neighborhood that should not be displaced by large corporate groups. And who better to bring this up than the owners, bartenders and regulars themselves.

Greene King gave them cameras to videotape the most significant and moving moments they experienced in their pubs. From weddings to funerals and birthdays a lot came together. The brewery shared these videos on its YouTube channel and asked where these moments could be experienced if such meeting places no longer existed.

What we learn from it: It's perfectly fine to get a little "sentimental". Think about the emotions your products evoke in consumers. Offer your target group the opportunity to create authentic content about your brand.

The guerrillas are on the loose

Could we shed some light on the matter?

When researching this blog post we were unfortunately able to no good guerrilla marketing examples in B2B-Marketing Find. However, this does not mean that the strategies cannot be implemented in this sector. It just demands that certain extra creativity.

We hope these examples have inspired you, especially if you represent lesser-known brands. Don't be afraid of crowdsourcing, because ultimately, it is the most creative approaches that will help you design a budget-friendly guerrilla campaign based on the inbound methodology.

Do not forget: Surprise the consumern in your everyday life and introduce your brand in unusual places and in an unusual way. Don't be pushy, but invite them to participate.

Header image: O_Lypa / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Originally published August 9, 2017, updated 04 November 2020

Recommend this article: