Guerrilla Marketing Faux Pas: Worst Experiential Marketing Advice

by Sep 25, 2014

As with any other industry, there tends to be a fair mix of good, bad and ugly marketing advice out there in the world. As a result, there has certainly been experiential marketing that has been put on our “Worst Advice We’ve Ever Heard” list, so we thought we would share some of our favorite guerrilla marketing advice faux pas with you!


Breaking the Laws Causes a Buzz. 


If you’ve asked yourself, “What is experiential marketing?”, it can easily be answered by saying that it’s a marketing tactic that is intended to invoke emotions and make the audience feel bonded to a brand through experiences. When vodka giant Smirnoff commissioned a “non” graffiti artist to create a buzz inside the tunnels of the United Kingdom, the authorities were far from impressed. Rather than feeling a bond to the brand, they were more interested in bonds that could be tied to the brand (as in, jail bonds, that would have come about if the fines for graffiti hadn’t been paid).

Bad advice: Tie your to a giant illegal sign.

Best practice: Consult with local authorities and obtain proper permits before defacing public property.



There is No Such Thing As Bad Publicity.  

Whoever first said this phrase never bothered to ask, “Could experiential marketing drive negative effects?” If they had, this phrase would likely have been reworded to something like “Most of the time, publicity is a great thing”. When Turner Broadcasting Company was caught up in a public panic attack back in 2007, a guerrilla marketing tactic that was intended to get people talking with electronic billboards resulted in jail time for a couple of the members of the marketing team. The intended audience was for television show but resulted in misinterpreted bomb scares. Yes, people were talking, but some of those conversations happened behind bars.

Bad advice: “All publicity is good publicity.”

Best Practice: Stop for a second and think if this could be misinterpreted in any way. 



Risking Public Safety Can Bring Great Rewards. 

The folks at learned the hard way that putting the public at risk can be a risky investment when it comes to marketing. When they hired a small group of people to hold an enormous sign on a Seattle highway’s overpass, someone neglected to think about the retribution that could come from a slip of the hand. If the banner would have fallen, people could have been seriously injured, which would have obviously negated any positive marketing efforts. The banner was removed quickly after word spread. The lesson here? Guerrilla marketing should not put your potential consumers at danger. You can make a point and be memorable without risking a visit (or ten) to the hospital.

Bad advice: go with the cheapest bid or “yeah looks like it should hold”.

Best Practice: Make sure you have a professional experiential management team to check for incidentals. 


Spell it Correctly

Take note “guerrilla” is spelled with two “r’s” and two “l’s” not one “r”. Of course “gorilla marketing is something completely different! Take a look at the amount of people searching for the incorrect “guerilla marketing” vs the correct, “guerrilla marketing”. 


guerrilla marketing

Bad advice: spelling it incorrectly with a potential customer or client.

guerilla marketing" vs the correct, "guerrilla marketing".

Best Practice: Do a little research. 

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