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Are Guerrilla and Ambush Marketing a Gamble worth playing?

Let’s not deny the fact that increasing competition has compelled marketers across sectors to think out of the box for increasing the visibility of their brand. Today, out of sight is out of mind for those consumers who are less of brand loyal and more of switchers.

The question then arises is, how do marketers appeal to them and at the same time overshadow competitors?

For everyone who is looking for an affordable solution, here are the two ways in which your brand can be made more notable.


It’s an unconventional way of creating high impact promotion that relies on imagination and creativity rather than heavy marketing budgets. They are made so as to not letting you ignore them once they grab your attention. Today, Guerrilla Marketing is not just for the brands wanting to save on cost, but brands wanting to stand out.

Let’s understand it better via examples.


Givenchy launched an outdoor, digital contest to win tickets for their Paris show on September 30th.

To kick off an Instagram competition, the brand had placed five thousand logo stickers around London, Paris and Milan as a teaser lead up to the show. People were being asked to photograph the sticker and upload it onto Instagram with the hashtag #GivenchyFamily. The best three posts would win tickets to the show and get featured on the brand’s own account.

However, there can also be a flip side to Guerrilla Marketing.


In 2006, Paramount Pictures discovered it wasn’t good to mess with a person’s daily newspaper. In a campaign to promote “Mission Impossible III,” the movie studio put small red musical devicesinside 4,500 L.A. Times newspaper boxes.

When the boxes were opened, the devices would play the “Mission Impossible” theme song, but the readers misunderstood the tune. The campaign backfired when customers noticed the devices and thought that the boxes contained a bomb. In one instance, the Santa Clarita bomb squad was called in.

“This was the least-intended outcome,” said John O’Loughlin, the L.A. Times’ senior vice president for planning at the time. “We weren’t expecting anything like this.”


It can be termed as the “unauthorized association of a business or organization with the marketing of a particular event for gaining benefit of marketing right or skipping licensing fee applicable in order to be associated with the event”.

These campaigns are to dilute (ambush) the brands officially associated with an event.

Here’s the best ever ambush marketing campaign.


Volvo was asking fans to tweet its hashtag, #VolvoContest, during other car brands’ Super Bowl commercials. Participants would nominate a friend or loved one to win a new Volvo XC60 luxury crossover. The brand wanted to involve real potential customers rather than just communicating their marketing message one way.

In total, over 55,000 tweets were sent. While other car brands got their 30-second spots in the limelight; Volvo was top of mind the entire game. Volvo also scored 200 million USD in earned media impressions and saw a 70% sales increase for their XC60 model in the month following the Super Bowl.

But like Guerrilla Marketing, Ambush too does have a flip side.


Patanjali – the Indian FMCG brand

Patanjali, the latest challenger brand in the Indian FMCG market, had opted for Ambush Marketing Strategy for its products, including toothpaste and soap. The campaign belittled Reckitt Benckiser’s Dettol soap and HUL’s soap brands, leaving these companies with no choice but to approach the High Court for justice.


It might be difficult to predict which campaign, either Guerrilla or Ambush would go for or against the brand. However, if implemented, can speak volumes about the ability of the brand to showcase creativity and communicate a message which can go viral, with social media doing rest of the talking for the brand.

Written by: Jay Bhuta

Edited by: Erica Blotto

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