Unconventional advertising

Guerrilla marketing is one of the most often overlooked and least utilised strategies in the marketers’ repertoire. It basically involves alternatives to traditional advertising mediums and aims to overcome many of the problems that traditional advertising techniques face in reaching intended and extended audiences.

                Advertising has grown exponentially over the last 3 decades and, as we are all aware, we know that it is invasive. Advertising is in, and on, everything and it is becoming increasingly difficult for advertisers to reach audiences. Impact is one of the key ways in which we can quantitatively analyse the effectiveness of a campaign and the general clutter of advertising space and techniques means that impact is becoming harder to achieve.

                Guerrilla marketing aims to overcome some of the challenges of modern marketing by using innovative and original techniques to capture people’s imaginations and, at the end of the day, their wallets. There are a plethora of techniques we can use to create effective guerrilla advertising campaigns and we’re now going to analyse three of these to ascertain their utility and their ability to reach audiences with a particular message.

Stunt advertising

Guerrilla marketing stunt tactics revolve around creating a direct impact using an unconventional means to reach people. This could involve a seemingly impromptu stunt – like a flash mob, sky dive or some similar ploy. Basically these techniques involve reaching people in a way that draws them away from their day to day routine. For example you could be commuting to work only to see some acrobats advertising a new soft drink at a bus stop. This type of advertising has an incredibly high impact as it forces your audience to engage with your promotion as no-one can ignore something that intentionally draws their eyes. Using these tactics creates fantastic exposure and inadvertently attracts large scale media attention – both direct and virally through social media.

Shock advertising

Shock advertising works in a similar vein to stunt advertising with the added aim of creating a sense of shock in the viewers. Shock advertising is notoriously tricky to pull off as often the advertisers will be walking a dangerous line between advertising and simply shock. In this situation advertisers need to blend their advertising with shock very carefully to ensure that the message retains central focus. Shock advertising can involve a stunt but often it simply involves subverting our usual expectations. This can involve making us think we’ve seen one thing when we’ve actually seen another; or it can cause a direct shock impact that then we re-evaluate only to realise it isn’t actually shocking. These techniques can run the risk of creating social uproar but generally will create a high impact and, providing they are handled correctly, they will spread virally. If you intend to use shock advertising you must use it in a humorous way to avoid upsetting people!

Unconventional ad placement

This guerrilla marketing technique utilises the places where advertisements have yet to reach in order to attract people’s attention. If you think about where you see advertisements in your daily routine then imagine that you see an advertisement on the pavement in front of you, rather than on a billboard, or you see an advertisement in graffiti covering a traditional billboard. These types of advertising draw our attention for the simple reason that we are not used to seeing them in this situation. They, like shock advertising techniques, break us from our usual routine and hence attract more attention. Of course there’s little chance of media exposure with this avenue but it is still highly effective.


Whilst there are other guerrilla marketing techniques these represent some of the most useful and most common. It is clear that these unconventional advertising techniques have the opportunity to capture the imagination and attention of audiences on both a large and small scale; utilising these techniques as part of a broader marketing strategy helps build a campaigns impact considerably.