An Introduction to Guerrilla Marketing

an image of some street art depicting a gorilla in a suit holding a banana

Here at Bulletpoint Marketing, we’re passionate about marketing and the impact it has on industry. So, we decided to discuss one of our favourite ‘sub-genres’ in our latest blog post.

Guerrilla marketing is the term used to describe a form of advertisement that plays on unconventionality in order to create a ‘buzz’ around a product, service or company. Originally, it referred to the outlandish antics of low-budget businesses attempting to build a brand image and make an impact on an industry, although conglomerates have also tried their hand at these techniques, but these larger campaigns are often rejected as true guerrilla marketing.

Effective Guerrilla Marketing Campaigns

There are a myriad of different campaigns that have experienced success through utilising the guerrilla marketing techniques of deception, ambush and the element of surprise. One of the most famous examples was The Blair Witch Project (1999).

By utilising ‘Web 2.0’ and guerrilla marketing, the filmmakers behind the low-budget, student film, “The Blair Witch Project”, were able to orchestrate (arguably) the most successful campaign yet. Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez, who co-wrote and produced the film, had a budget in the region of $60,000, yet managed to gross over $200m at the box office. A fictional backstory was created to reflect the characters in the film – three students making a documentary on the ‘Blair Witch’ who went missing during their project – which took the form of a detailed website with a chilling time capsule of their findings.

The film debuted at Sundance Film Festival in 1999, and was then bought by Artisan Entertainment for $1m. Throughout the runup to the release, the creators spent a further $1.5m promoting the thriller and successfully created a buzz before it was released to packed cinemas in America. The demand was great, leading to expansion in the number of screens showing the film, which was then followed by outrageous success following worldwide release.

Viral and Buzz Marketing

Often associated with guerrilla marketing, ‘viral’ and ‘buzz’ marketing have grown astronomically with the introduction of social media. Since these tactics focus on public spectacle, the shareability of this content allows for free marketing upon the ultimate word-of-mouth platforms for the producers.

Guerrilla marketing plays on the emotions of the public, and our incessant desire to share the weird and wonderful, which is why these campaigns are increasingly popular with both small and large companies.

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