The soldiers are fighting hard, but nothing is working against the enemy. Out of the blue, the special soldiers – the guerillas – join the battle and, with their impressive, unconventional skills, turn the table and win the war.
The above simile captures the essence of guerilla marketing: unconventional and out-of-the-box marketing strategies that are poles apart from the traditional marketing techniques. When traditional marketing doesn’t come, guerilla marketing comes to the rescue. In the wake of ever-increasing competition, enterprises adopt many guerilla marketing methods to make their presence known, capture the market and lure customers into buying their products.
Here are some examples of effective guerrilla marketing campaigns:
Publicity stunts capture the public’s attention and are a great way to promote products. In 2012, Energy-drink manufacturer Red Bull managed to pull off a high-action stunt and created a world record for highest skydiving. They hired an athlete Felix Baumgartner who skydived from an incredible height of 1,28,000 feet. This feat skyrocketed Red Bull’s market presence, and soon everyone was sipping Red Bull energy drinks.
Stealth & Sneak:
As goes the name, the public is secretly introduced to products without informing them directly about the marketing. For example, In movies, you must have seen actors using a specific product or background scenes showing specific brand logos.
For example, in a Bollywood Movie, 2 States, one can catch snippets of Sunsilk Shampoo. Social Media is also full of such stealth marketing. Content creators, especially vloggers, surreptitiously show or talk about a product between their dialogues, thereby compelling viewers to search for the products.
This involves performing eye-catching acts or stunts in public places. You must have come across marketing guys in a crowded area expertly displaying new products and even using them on the spot to show the desired results.
Nestle, a beverage and chocolate manufacturer, once promoted its product, ‘KitKat,’ by designing and coloring the public benches to look like KitKat Chocolate bars. Likewise, IKEA, a furniture brand, famously placed full-sized sofas at bus stops in Australian cities. Street Guerrilla marketing strategies, if implemented smartly, can be a game-changer.
It is a sort of ‘surprise attack’ promotional strategy, where new products take advantage of already established brands in a tactful manner. For example, when a famous brand, ‘Flipkart’ promoted its tagline ‘‘Nahin Khariden? Acha Kiya” by putting banners across the cities, another new brand, Snapdeal, smartly placed its posters below the Flipkart banners. The Snapdeal banners said – “Yahan Se Kharido.” This strategy requires a lot of creativity, and advertisers must be careful not to violate or breach any copyright or trademark regulations.
As the name suggests, this kind of guerrilla marketing involves taking advantage of the ambiance, i.e., the environment. Products are promoted at unusual locations where people least expect them, thereby captivating the public. Duracell, the manufacturer of pencil batteries, once affixed a visual poster (images of two Duracell batteries) on a high-voltage generator box, tacitly indicating how powerful the batteries are.
A Mumbai-based NGO, ‘Children of the World’, took a mission to promote ‘read and write’ culture among children devoid of education. Many of such children used to sell magazines at traffic signals and crowded areas. The NGO affixed a message, ‘Help me read this’ on such magazines along with the instructions for donation. This unique ambient approach paid off as plenty of donations were received from which a small school was set up.
Sentiments and Emotions:
It involves going out of your way to offer something that has sentimental value. Gillette, a razor manufacturer, launched its Barber Suraksha Programme in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, where barbers were freely provided hygiene kits, sanitization accessories, and Covid-insurance policies.
This unique charity went viral in social media, bolstered Gillette’s presence manifold in the market, and soared its sales graph. However, such guerrilla marketing has to be done with holistic planning along with genuineness of action as it involves touching the emotional values of the targeted audience. Mere gimmicks and inauthentic offers might backfire and may lend the company in lawsuits.
Organizing contests is an ingenious way to grab the attention of prospective consumers. Remember Cadbury’s Bornvita Quiz Contest hosted by popular quiz master Derek O’ Brien? It is a classic example of guerrilla marketing through contests. Decades later, Bornvita is still amongst the most favorite children’s health drink brands.
Nowadays, social media is replete with online contests and games ranging from dance competitions, writing contests, tournaments, sketching contests, etc., that are sponsored and organized by brands. Many brands give their products as prizes to the winners, who eventually become loyal customers.
Going viral virtually:
Social Media campaigns, especially through short videos, are a buzzworthy guerrilla approach that galvanizes the audience into instant action. If a video is rightly choreographed with just the right dosage of human emotions, it can instantly connect with the larger audience. Tanishq, a Jewellery brand, recently promoted their products by creating a short video where a Muslim family happily celebrates the baby shower of their daughter-in-law, a Hindu.
Similarly, to promote their Pregnancy Kits, Prega-News made a short film laced with powerful emotions where famous actress, Mona Singh, plays the role of an elder daughter-in-law who is unable to conceive but supports her younger sister-in-law who is expecting a child. This ad went wildly viral, and the sales figure of Prega News’ pregnancy test kits soared quite high.
As evidenced by the above examples, effective Guerrilla Marketing is the product of imagination, ingenuousness, and improvisation. It is all about how well you tell a compelling story about your product. To rustle up exciting and fresh ideas in the marketing context, one must be aware of the latest happenings worldwide and be alert to the trending topics to carve a dynamic and creative promotion plan to convince the consumers.