98% of people see some form of outdoor advertising every week, 83% remember it for at least half hour after. 

That’s normal advertising, so imagine how memorable it would be to create something your customers have never seen before. Guerilla marketing is a great tactic to stand out in extraordinary ways.

This guide will discuss what guerilla marketing is and highlight a few different forms of it:

  • Definition of guerilla marketing


  • Art displays
  • Ambient marketing
  • Projection marketing
  • Astroturfing
  • Pop-up retail
  • Viral marketing

Definition of guerilla marketing

To understand guerilla marketing, think about how people experience advertising. Traditional forms of marketing often use emotion or humour, which creates a story to get across a message.

In guerilla marketing, the aim is to make the public part of the story, which can be more immersive and memorable for them.

Guerilla marketing creates an innovative mass awareness campaign, through an unconventional tactic to make the best use of a particular space (often streets, for example) or resources.

It uses’ out-of-the-box thinking and creativity, where you seek to do something that customers have never seen before.

The term ‘guerilla marketing’ covers many ways of creating experiences. So to understand it, here are some of the typical methods:

Art displays

Another type of promotion that’s part of guerilla marketing is art displays.

This type often involves using graffiti art displays that make people stop and notice. Unlike billboards and posters, which are considered traditional ‘out-of-home’ advertising, it has the unconventional guerilla elements.

The costs of street marketing varies depending on the scale and permission costs. What often makes people notice them is their placement.

For example, car manufacturer Jeep painted parking spaces over stairs to show offroad cars. For the horror movie It, marketers sprayed the release date next to drains, and a red balloon (like the characters in the film).

Ambient marketing

Another form of guerilla marketing is ambient, it pays even more attention to placement. It uses everyday things and unexpectedly repurposes them.

The ambient term refers to the public’s idea of ignoring those things if the advertising wasn’t there. The main difference between ambient and street marketing is that it’s non-intrusive

Its design could be unnoticeable, and that’s why the experience to find it is enjoyable. Some people might find a small, well-placed ambient piece more exciting than a large-scale street artwork. 

An example is from sportswear giant Nike, who found a bench with no bottom to sit on so turned it into ambient marketing. All they had to do was paint their logo on the top of the bench and put the word ‘run’.

Projection marketing

Another type of guerilla marketing is projection. This also involves repurposing, but instead of objects, it uses public areas like buildings. Marketers project images or video onto spaces.

Projection marketing often draws attention to a critical message. The political activist group Led By Donkeys, displayed imagery of Prime Minister Boris Johnson as a criminal over the Houses of Parliament.


Another form of guerilla marketing is ‘astroturfing‘, it means that you ‘rent-a-crowd’. Similar to viral marketing which uses flash mobs, businesses hire crowds to make something seem more popular than it is.

Astroturfing is common amongst political rallies to show broad support in press coverage. Still, businesses and events use it as well. The idea is that if something appears busy, non-paid customers may join in.

There are specialist marketing companies that offer the service. Still, they bind their actors to non-disclosure agreements so that they don’t damage the business or politicians’ reputations.

Pop-up retail

Often considered another form of guerilla marketing, is pop-up retail. It means that you set up a temporary store to take advantage of a busy area or trend.

Pop-up retail follows seasonal changes. You might see more at Christmas, for example. They are set up and taken down quickly after their purpose is over.

Shops may pop up in unexpected and unique places. Small stores can also offer customers a striking visual or physical experience. 

An example is IKEA, which set up massive cardboard boxes with rooms inside. These were placed in public places throughout New York to promote their new store.

For more information on pop-up retail, see: How to write a business plan for a 

pop-up shop

Viral marketing

One of the reasons guerilla marketing is popular is social media. Platforms have an ever-increasing influence over people’s lives, and that creates new opportunities to advertise.

To create guerilla advertising to go viral, you rely on the expectation that people will share the experience on social media. People often look for things to post, so something out of the ordinary can usually get that reaction.

One example is flash mobs, where hired dancers disguise themselves and start dancing in public. Surprised by the situation, people join in and record the moment.

T-Mobile put on a flash mob in Heathrow airport. It has nearly 17 million views on Youtube. Its success was thanks to all the people who witnessed the display and shared it across social media.

Suppose you can produce marketing that manages to trend on social media. In that case, it’s likely to reach far more people than paid advertising on the platforms. 

Viral marketing

Whichever of the guerilla marketing tactics you choose to use in your business, it’s clear that there are many ways to create an impact. 

Even though, this type of marketing can use a low budget to create a high impression, it can also be costly if you have ambition to go big with it.

The best way for you to make sure that you can keep up with the marketing you want to create, is to manage the finances of your business.

BONUS: Financial management for your guerilla marketing

Countingup is a business account with built-in accounting software. Sort your costs with its expense categorisation feature. If you’re able to manage finances, you’ll be able to take more risks and try some unique forms of marketing.

Try the Countingup app today.