Is Guerrilla Marketing Still Relevant Today?

Guerrilla Marketing has been a popular term in the world of marketing. It was first coined and elaborated by J. Conrad Levinson in his book “Guerrilla Marketing” (1984). The popularity of his theory can be traced by 20+ million copies of books being sold and translation of his book in 60+ languages over time. The book threw cutting edge promotion strategies, particularly for small and under-resourced firms to successfully promote their brands under budget constraints. It primarily talks about “small budget-big impact” style promotional strategies, e.g., publicity stunts, wait marketing (marketing to people at waiting places like doctor’s office), ambush marketing (associating with a popular event without paying any sponsorship fees), wall graffiti, promotional posters etc.

Thinking as of today, the promotion landscape has radically changed since ‘80s. We are now living not only in an “inter-connected” world, but also in a highly “inter-active” world. This transition from inter-connectivity to inter-activity has morphed promotional strategies in many different fronts. Are posters still relevant today? If so, how can we cut through clutter where everybody else is showing up with posters everyday? How quickly can we implement “wait marketing” without annoying the potential audience?

The answer lies in not avoiding posters, billboards and ambush marketing altogether, but in how we can innovate ways of poster advertising, billboard displays and ambush marketing in a new interactive world. Here come the custom flash ads that pop up in mobile ads, content marketing through blogs, facebook advertising through customer profiles and so on. The challenge is about capitalizing on interactivity of customers and providers. As an example, here is a picture of transit shelter that is adorned with a heated billboard, saying “Feel the Warmth of Brasil”.

warm_brasil (credit:

The idea is to attract European tourists to Brazil, a sunny country that most European travelers would like to visit during harsh winters. Starting with Milan, Italy, the ad agency Artplan decided to put heated billboard on transit shelters where people can touch and feel the heat from the billboard! It is, as if, you can “feel” how valued a warm country would be for traveling when you are going through a harsh winter. It was reported that, the website received over 86,000 page-views while the campaign ran and an increase of 320% on the word “Brazil” in Google search engine.

Therefore, in a changing tech landscape with the same age-old budget limitation, the challenge of guerrilla marketing is different today. It is about meeting budget constraints with big impact “interactive” promotion that would work. Obviously, guerrilla marketing is not dead. It is still relevant today, with a new face of expression that must be learnt for success.


About 1mmarketing

Working as Associate Professor, School of Business, United International University, Bangladesh; a North-American graduate, with doctoral studies from UUM, Malaysia; cherishing a wide-view of the world, with multiple interests in culture, people, traveling, and specifically marketing science. I have a colorful and diversified background with a blend of corporate experience, research, consulting, training, public speaking and teaching. I love to write about marketing issues that affect our lives, and talk about its direction that would promote the greatest human welfare.
This entry was posted in Branding and Communication, Marketing Practices, Nation Branding and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Is Guerrilla Marketing Still Relevant Today?

  1. Mohammad Zohirul Islam pear says:

    very nice write up

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