Guerilla Advertising

As consumers’ loose sensitivity to constant bombardment, companies are taking extreme measures to stand out from the crowd, and Guerrilla Advertising is an unconventional and creative method of performing promotional activities.

The Spanish term ‘guerrilla’ was used to describe the irregular troops, who fought with Wellington against Napoleon Bonaparte, during the Peninsular War (1808-14). The guerrillas were not professionally trained troops and resorted to unconventional tactics to achieve their aims. US marketing Guru, Jay Conrad Levinson, coined the term guerrilla advertising to describe an equally unconventional and unorthodox, but nevertheless effective, approach to marketing.

In The Guerrilla Marketing Handbook, he states: “In order to sell a product or a service, a company must establish a relationship with the customer. It must build trust and support. It must understand the customer’s needs, and it must provide a product that delivers the promised benefits.”

Levinson identifies that, guerrilla marketing is specifically geared for small businesses and entrepreneurs and most importantly, it should be based on human psychology instead of experience, judgment and guesswork. He further adds that instead of money, the primary investments of marketing should be time, energy, and imagination.

Guerrilla Marketers should always use a combination of marketing methods for a campaign;create a standard of excellence with an acute focus, instead of trying to diversify by offering too many diverse products and services, instead of concentrating on getting new customers, aim for more referrals, more transactions with existing customers, and larger transactions. Forget about the competition and concentrate more on cooperating with other businesses. Use current technology as a tool to empower your business

One advantage of guerrilla marketing is that it can be very cost effective. The Internet is a particularly suitable medium for guerrilla marketing campaigns. Guerrilla marketing techniques include Web sites, flyers, posters, point of purchase materials, stunts, and many other innovative strategies.

In India, this form of advertising is relatively new and is rarely used, but with the boom of retail outlets and malls, many Indian companies are using Guerilla Advertising to promote their new products. The first amongst such companies were Sony Ericsson, Nokia, McDonald’s etc. We can see such advertisements displayed on elevators and escalators in our local malls. The concept is still in a nascent stage in India, and companies are trying to find new ways to adopt such effective strategies, which save cost and create brand awareness.

“Buzz” is what every brand wants without the sting on their pockets, with ad clutter and images on billboards and TV everywhere, it is difficult for companies and organizations with unique ideas and products, to get the exposure they need to thrive. Guerilla marketing or advertising methods are meant to create an alternative mindset; so that the audience is unaware that they’ve just been targeted. They infiltrate the target market or online environment, talk to the audience and create a buzz.

Take the example of a watch company. It can advertise in two ways; one is to rope in Aamir Khan and create an aura around the brand of being an elite and niche brand meant only for perfectionists, or it can do what the photograph shows, with the guy “really” trying out the watch on his hand.

As an advertiser, where do you think the customer will notice your brand more; on his hand or on theirs? And even as a customer, you are more likely to buy a watch which you have worn on your hand and actually had a “feel” of the brand. The “buzz” created by this unique form of advertising is what a company really wants for his brand.

Ishaan Bhardawaj

[Image source:]