The Best Guerrilla Marketing Campaigns of 2012

When the odds are stacked against you or your product, sometimes you need to resort to unconventional methods to triumph. Guerrilla marketing is not about ad budgets or corporate machines but finding the most creative way to advertise your product or cause (and often on the cheapest budget). Return on investment with guerrilla marketing is often higher than traditional methods because it targets the right people in eye-catching ways, meaning conversion rates are much higher.

If you’re looking for some guerrilla marketing inspiration, then here are 4 of the best guerrilla marketing examples from 2012.

 Kony 2012

The Kony 2012 campaign could rightly be called one of the most successful guerrilla marketing campaigns ever, at least in terms of take-up numbers. Not-for-profit Invisible Children wanted to harness public opinion to force political leaders to catch Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda. Their method of choice was to mobilise the hipsters of the internet into the mass sharing of a 29 minute video on Kony, while also encouraging people to take part in a mass poster night on April 20th 2012.

While Joseph Kony is still at large and Invisible Children did come under fire for their methods, Kony 2012 was a web phenomenon like no other that harnessed both social media and traditional guerrilla marketing techniques like postering to achieve the same end. By positioning itself as a mass social movement as opposed to a marketing strategy, Kony 2012 was able to become a worldwide hit and the main video has been viewed near 94 million times.

Tripl Parking Tickets

Sometimes guerrilla marketing doesn’t need to be on a large scale to be a success, it simply needs to be targeted and to be interesting. Travel website Tripl left 200 fake parking tickets on cars of investors and developers attending the Y-Combinator Demo Day earlier this year. Because the tickets are shaped like parking tickets, people are more likely to read them than normal leaflets left on windshields.

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Guerrilla marketing is often about intelligence and creativity, and by thinking outside the box someone can do for the price of a hamburger what other companies spend an entire year’s marketing budget on.

Dr Dre at the Olympics

Strict rules govern what products can be advertised at the olympics, and unfortunately for Dr Dre his Beats headphones were not official gear for the olympics and were therefore not technically allowed to be shown or advertise. However Dr Dre went by stealth and handed out dozens of copies of his expensive headphones for free to athletes, who then wore them as personal items. This is the simplest form of guerrilla marketing: distributing free gifts as marketing – especially if it is a way to circumvent a rule. The ploy was successful: everybody from Michael Phelps downwards sported the earphones and the distinctive heads became a theme in London 2012.

Belarus teddy bear bombing

When teddy bears started raining down from the sky in the streets of Minsk, the capital of Belarus, it was a little strange to say the least. However the stunt was much more than a guerrilla marketing technique, but a move to promote democracy by Swedish PR firm Studio Total. Each of the teddy bear’s contained a pro-democracy message aimed at spreading free speech in what has been termed ‘Europe’s last dictatorship’.

The ‘bombing’ was not only an embarrassment to the Berlorussian government because of invade airspace but also because it did what guerrilla marketing is supposed to do: raise awareness. We often concentrate on the failures of democracy around the world and forget human rights abused can be found in Europe too. By using a funny but poignant stunt, Studio Total brought Belarus back into the headlines.

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