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Free Guerrilla Marketing Ideas

Updated on September 11, 2012

What is Guerrilla Marketing?

Guerrilla marketing is simply promoting a product through fun, unique, and outrageous methods. Rather than paying money to get people to see the company's promotions, guerrilla marketing attempts to create advertisements that people will WANT to see because they are funny, captivating, or completely crazy.

Marketing a new product or business can be expensive. From designing the promotions to placing the ads where they will be seen, getting a business seen is not a cheap or easy endeavor.

Fortunately for businesses that are not large enough to compete with the budgets of the big guys, there is another way to effectively get your name seen.

Guerrilla marketing.

For those who are willing to take a risk, potentially look ridiculous, and spend some time instead of money, guerrilla market is the perfect solution. By creating marketing campaigns that capture the imagination and attention of potential clients, an entrepreneur can get the word out about her business quickly and inexpensively.

If you play your cards right, you could even end up in the news.

Frozen Grand Central: Improve Everywhere

IKEA's Angry Birds Game

Volkswagen Slide

5 Guerrilla Marketing Ideas

Because society has gotten so fed-up with the constant pounding from advertisers, most people completely ignore regular advertisements. This is a huge plus for small businesses because it means that they have the potential to compete with the big guys!

Although it is important to design an individualized marketing strategy that effectively promotes your specific business, here are several ideas that can may be a good starting point in launching an effective guerrilla marketing campaign.

1. Give away prizes for accomplishing a task

TOMS shoes sends a flag with the TOMS logo on it in each box mailed. Customers are then encouraged to take a picture with this flag in the craziest places possible and post them on the TOMS website and Facebook page. The best are shown on the home page and elsewhere - providing people with great publicity.

The headphone company, Skull Candy, sent out stickers and encouraged people to place them on anything and everything. The people who stuck the stickers in the craziest or most creative places would receive free Skull Candy gear. Because Skull Candy focuses on the "bad boy" customer, this almost-vandalism method works very effectively.

2. Place your product somewhere public - free to use

Do you make furniture? Set up a living room in the middle of a park - with couches, chairs, a coffee table, and some candy. IKEA got publicity with Conan O'Brian's game of Angry Birds involving their furniture. If you associate something fun with your product in public, people will enjoy it and remember it.

3. Create a flash-mob event

One start up in Austin gave out 1000 water guns to people on the street and started a massive water fight. If you want to get great ideas for flash-mobs check out Improve Everywhere (Youtube or Google them) for some great ideas. Then simply find a way to incorporate your business into one of these.

4. Be awesome and crazy - yourself

There are certain business people that are known for their ridiculousness if you check out Richard Branson (of the Virgin Group) or Bob Parsons (of Both of these guys are constantly pushing the limits of what is appropriate and acceptable. Richard Branson has hot air ballooned around the world and sailed across the Atlantic to set a world record. His company logo is always on whatever vehicle he uses to set this record.

Create a personality for yourself, end up on TV, and the popularity of your product will follow.

5. Create Interactive Advertisements

The more that people can play with your product, the more they will remember it. Volkswagen built a slide, Coca-Cola created a never ending soda machine that also gave out pizza and subs. The longer a person interacts with your brand, the more likely they will be to remember you and eventually do business with you.

Coca-Cola Happiness Vending Machine

Further Reading

Check out the following sites for more guerrilla marketing ideas:

Take a Risk

Starting a business is already a huge risk. Sometimes the challenges and difficulties can appear overwhelming. However, with a bit of optimism and hard work, you can succeed at every aspect of your business.

For more great tips and ideas on how to market your business creatively, read up on what others have done, keep your eyes and ears open for problems that you may have a solution for, find ways to make life more enjoyable, and consider contacting a professional guerrilla marketer to create a specialized plan for you.

Good luck getting your business off the ground and please share any great ideas or methods that you use or have seen! I would be more than happy to pass along whatever campaigns you put on.


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    • KevinTimothy profile image

      Kevin J Timothy 5 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

      I was very pleased to be able to add this to my Facebook fan page. Great content, sir.

    • Robert Erich profile image

      Robert Erich 5 years ago from California

      Thanks for the depth that you have shared here Tim! I love the idea of tossing sandwich bags onto people's driveways. Very creative and unique. I will have to read some more to see what kind of business you are specifically in!

    • KevinTimothy profile image

      Kevin J Timothy 5 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL


      You keep cranking out the good hubs, buddy. As funny as this hub was there was a lot to learn...especially from these "major" guys. It's very inspiring to see that despite those guys having the multi-million dollar ad budgets, they still manage to remain grounded and reach out to the general public in their quirky ways.

      You know, I can't help but wonder just how Volkswagen got the permission to set up shop in a subway system.

      A simple but effective strategy is simply canvassing your area. Some people seem too good for hitting the pavement, but it takes these types of efforts FIRST. I love to use sandwich bags (weighted somehow) with tracks or ad materials in them. Afterwards we hit the neigborhoods and "lauch" the bag (with contents) onto driveways. My kids love to get involved!

      Track these ads and you'll be surprised how many prospects you'll generate from this strategy (alone). Sure it takes sweat, but what good thing doesn't? And retiring early certainly is a good thing.

    • Robert Erich profile image

      Robert Erich 5 years ago from California

      Thank you all. I am glad you enjoyed the article and wish you the best as you strive to succeed in your own business ventures!

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Fantastic ideas! Will be sharing these with hubby to promote his business. :) Thank you. Voted up and then some.

    • catgypsy profile image

      catgypsy 5 years ago from the South

      Haha...some great ideas! I never thought about this before...hmmm, you've just inspired me to maybe get a little crazy. Thanks!

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Awesome grab with the use of ostrich. This is a really great hub. As always, you are so well spoken and it's very easy to read in that it flows so nicely. I love the idea of guerrilla marketing. I might be totally guilty of spreading skull candy stickers - allegedly. The video is hysterical. I really enjoy reading your work. -K

    • Robert Erich profile image

      Robert Erich 5 years ago from California

      @Spartacus: Thanks man, glad you enjoyed! And yes, I think you do a pretty good job with that over the top (at least with profile pics).

      @Simone: It is questionable sometimes, but it can end up with legendary results. Should be used cautiously.

      @Trinity: Find the right cause and I'm sure you'll do something epic to promote it.

      @leah: That is awesome! I would be totally down for a giant playground.

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 5 years ago from Western New York

      This is an awesome hub! I love the Volkswagon slide - I once saw a guerrilla marketing campaign done by McDonald's. They installed an adult-sized playground and video-taped it (I think it was in Australia, but I'm not sure).

    • Trinity M profile image

      Trinity M 5 years ago

      Great hub Robert. Not sure if I’m that brave but your ideas are well worth exploring.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Hahaa, guerrilla marketing... le sigh. I have mixed feelings about it, but in many cases, something cheap and dirty is FAR better than something expensive.

      Advertising of all sorts is often met with muddled results- it's so hard to track how effective campaigns are, and many old style advertising methods aren't as effective as they used to be... so what the heck, sometimes going guerrilla isn't so bad.

    • spartucusjones profile image

      CJ Baker 5 years ago from Parts Unknown

      Really fun hub! You shared many fun and innovated ways of marketing. Ridiculous and over the top doesn't have to be a bad thing (it is a good thing!).


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