10 Low Budget Guerrilla Marketing Examples

Maybe you can tell that I often blog about Guerrilla Marketing, that’s because I really like it. It’s creative and inventive and helps to raise brand awareness in those who experience the communication better than if traditional methods were used. However much of what I have posted before isn’t really Guerrilla Marketing, a lot of it has been big brands with big budgets. The true essence of GM is about the underdog using low budget methods to deliver a creative and impactful campaign against bigger competitors. That’s why GM techniques often have high impact in their immediate surroundings because their are focused on a pre defined geographic area, and the use of word of mouth to spread it amongst those in the geographic area who did not see the guerrilla ad. Luckily with things like social media, digital cameras and phones such campaigns can be grabbed and shared with the world. Perhaps that is why there’s a definite increase in the amount of GM campaigns being used (although not really here in Ireland) of late, as they can then be used as great fodder for a viral (if done right). Also the term Guerrilla is very in vogue at the moment, it’s attached to really anything that has the intentions to disrupt the status quo, but rarely really anything does.

So I thought for the next post on GM, I’d get back to the roots of what it really is. Here’s a list of 10 really low budget GM techniques that I have seen. I’d imagine all of these were put together for less than €100.

1. SalvationArmyDonate.org

In Portland, Maine the Salvation Army got local businesses together to donate space to promote the work of the organisation. The result worked out completely free and tied in nicely with the marketing message – the Salvation Army spends more on people in need and less on unimportant things that could eat into their budgets.


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2. Business Cards

Take the essence of the brand and deliver it in a straight forward manner. This example uses 2nd hand business cards to promote a 2nd hand shop, can’t get any more straightforward than that. Cost? €0.50c for a pen

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3. Boneless Chicken Dinner

Getting customers to see the product in a new light could also work. This isn’t going to make you rich, but it’s memorable, and adds personality to a product that has never had a ‘brand personality’ before.

4. Campbells Soup

This again gets people to see the product in a new light. It’s probably more effective than the last idea. The placing of the soup with the cold and flu remedies catches people under the weather, and while they might be thrown at first as to why the chicken soup is beside the Lemsip they’ll quickly think of how comforting chicken soup can be. That translates into a bunch of new sales.

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5. Flying Woks

This is possibly the most expensive thus far, but not that expensive. Its taking resources the company already has and moves them into a different location to help attract passers by. Its a good idea because it has a visual element, even if you fail to miss the sight of a bunch of chef’s outdoors the smell of freshly cooked food will grab you.  Add to that the free food and one business could have a lot of satisfied ‘potential’ customers who will go and tell all their friends. This type of marketing cant be done in print, TV or even on the almighty Facebook. A restaurant can talk the talk of being actually good, but this place obviously believes in their food and is willing to walk the walk.

6. Twilight

Yes I did say these examples were low budget and how they were for the ‘underdog’, so how exactly does one of last years massive films fit that criteria? Well firstly it is low budget look at what they did, simple little stickers that were in the shape of vampire marks with the words ‘Twilight’ and ‘Get Bitten’ printed on them and the Guerrilla aspect? They stuck them on ad’s for other products around Sydney Australia. It’s going to annoy a bunch of marketing companies, products, but also get picked up by the media and create a buzz among those who see it with those that didnt.

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7. DignityInDeath.com

Stickers placed on park benches by DignityInDeath.com to imitate memorial plaques. Each sticker provides a graphic description of death in uncomfortable and stark situations. The purpose being that such deaths are avoidable through the legalisation of assisted suicide.

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8. Dolce Hotels

I couldn’t find an image for this so you shall just have to use your imagination. Dolce Hotels are using what they describe as disruptive in hotel advertising targeting their customers. Using simple things like post it notes stuck on headboards and messages on bathroom mirrors in lipstick the hotel are trying to use “a humoristic and inspiring touch, we hope to show our flexibility for both business and leisure”. Nice, cheap and memorable.

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9. Guerrilla Mind Hacking

This was produced as part of a Guerrilla Art expo and features a series of thought bubbles placed at enough of a height to look as if they belong to passers by.

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10. Rock Climbing School For Kids

Great idea, using chalk to draw an iconic image that everybody will recognise in an unusual location that is related to the service. How easy is that? All it takes is a bit of thought and preparation.

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So there you have it ten simple, straight forward and low budget ideas that demonstrate what GM is really about. You don’t need oodles of money but with a little bit of creativity you can go a long way. The most basic ideas here required something to write with and a surface of some sort.  GM uses creativity to stick in the mind of the viewer and such levels of creativity are almost impossible to achieve in other forms of communication.

While GM isn’t for everybody, when its done right, it can be brilliant.

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