Guerrilla Marketing goes back at least as far as 1984 when Houghton Mifflin published a book on the subject. This book may have simply been the first time somebody reported on the subject; the concept seems to go back further.
Guerrilla marketing involved unconventional advertisements inspired by high energy lateral thinking and using memorable images that stick in the mind of the observer. They are often quite surreal. Instead of a billboard picture of a crashed vehicle a guerrilla campaign would use a crushed billboard, making for a more striking effect. A Kit Kat commercial on a park bench was made to look like a half opened block of confectionary, using the wooden slates of the bench to represent the chocolate. This type of marketing often uses everyday objects, but combines them in a way that is highly unusual. This tends to stick in our minds.
Our brains, unless we have some impairment, process and remember a lot of information visually. Our dreams tend to be visual, and even where there is sound in a dream it connects to visual processing; puns, homonyms, homophones and other coding abound. Guerrilla advertising, rather like poetry and surrealist art, work by appealing to this brain functioning. The images of guerrilla advertising stick in our minds because our minds work with this type of imagery. Usually, while we sleep our brain turns our experiences into visual experiences. With guerrilla advertising the visual experiences is already provided.
Creative campaigns of any type work because somebody thought of an effective idea. It is not directly related to the money involved; a sign will usually cost the same amount no matter what design is has. But an effective design will work while other designs will not.
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The trick is to come up with a sign, display or image that works for your company or product. This may demand a lot of your brain, but not of you budget. An inspired idea costs as much to implement as a poor one.
Posters are an old method for getting you company or ideas on display. Yet they stay with us because they are effective and versatile; you can put any image on a poster. And while they may not be as radical as some forms of guerrilla advertising an original image can be highly effective.
It is a simple matter to decorate a marquee with the company logo and colours. But you can take this to another level and shape the marquee accordingly. A soft drink company can shape their marquee like a giant drinks dispenser, or a beach shower that would seem to bathe you in lemonade. People will remember this.
Stickers can use the same design concepts as posters and print ads, only they tend to be found in different places. Laptops, bags and car bumpers.
Advertising is about the concept, not the medium, though these sometimes overlap. An effective campaign need not be expensive, just creative.