Great Guerilla Marketing

What do the Blair Witch Project, Old Spice and Halfway, Oregon have in common? They’re home to some of the cleverest guerilla marketing campaigns ever known.

The term “guerilla marketing,” created by advertising executive Jay Conrad Levinson in 1984, describes the unusual and often cheeky tactics used in a down-low ad campaign. Although some guerilla marketing efforts fail spectacularly, when a campaign hits it big, the payoff is huge.

Check out these great guerilla marketing campaigns from the past and see how you can fit them into your advertising model.

Yes, Steven Has Our Attention Now

If you lived in New York City, Los Angeles or Chicago in 2006, then you probably know all about Steven, the dirty, immoral, two-timing, devious, poorly-endowed slimeball; and Emily, his (soon-to-be-ex) wife.

The billboard guerilla ad, which announced Emily’s seemingly personal discovery of Steven’s extramarital affair and first placed in Times Square, sent fingers flying all over the Internet. The secret? Steven and Emily were fictitious — the ads were actually placed by CourtTV, which was marketing the return of Parco P.I.

Old Spice

In a terrific example of using new media to promote an old brand, Old Spice got zesty with its 2010 guerilla marketing campaign. After all, men from all walks of life, from NC lawyers to TX construction workers, want to smell like a sexy guy with a great sense of humor! After nearly 200 online videos and tens of millions of YouTube views, Old Spice body wash sales more than doubled less than a month after the launch date.

The Blair Witch Project

Who better to implement a near-perfect guerilla marketing campaign than our friends from Hollywood, who know a thing or two about suspension of disbelief?

The Blair Witch campaign, which helped produce one of the most profitable movies of all time, began with the rumor that Maryland teens were disappearing as a result of the century-old Blair Witch. When the movie was released, everyone — and we mean everyone — was talking about it as one of the scariest films ever made.

Halfway to Fame

Want a new computer lab and a cool $110k? No problem: get in touch with the folks from and agree to take its name for a year. In 1999, Halfway, Oregon agreed to just such a proposal, and signs welcoming visitors to the small town announced Halfway as, “America’s First Dot-Com City”.

The Lowbrow Approach

No matter how sophisticated we think we are, there’s nothing like a good streaker to get our tongues wagging. That’s exactly what happened when Vodafone (not once, but twice) sent buck naked runners across well-attended sporting events with the Vodafone logo painted across their backs. Although the stunt didn’t earn much positive press at the time, we’re still talking about it 11 years later.

The point? For very little up-front money and a lot of daring and ingenuity, your guerilla marketing campaign can bring business in the door.

Written by Shane Jones

Shane is a creative marketer who currently works at WebpageFX.  He developed a passion for Guerilla Marketing a long time ago, when he discovered CGM, and since then has not stopped following the best efforts of the biggest brands.  You can follow his own creative efforts on his bucket list blog, as well as talk with him on twitter, @ShaneJones15.  Find Shane Jones on Google+


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