Guerrilla Marketing: Buzz Over Budget

By Samarth Jani


Over the years, there has been a shift in the way media is presented to the public. Whether it be a new movie, television series or just advertising for a company, corporations are bringing their A-game when it comes to their marketing. With the increasingly shortened and distracted attention spans of Generation Z, brands are pulling out all the stops to get some press. In trying to garner mass attention, companies have led many people to form opinions on whether this new era of marketing is innovative or a nuisance.


One of the most notable marketing campaigns to come out this year was for the movie "Smile." To summarize, Paramount Pictures bought out home plate tickets to various baseball games and sent actors to occupy these seats while sporting “unsettling” smiles and tees with the movie’s logo. The stunt gained massive media attention, resulting in many reactions of confusion and excitement. Not only towards the movie but the marketing ploy itself.


Artwork by Shadia Zayer

The infamous marketing campaign for "Smile" has garnered criticism, drawing people away from watching the movie.


This marketing tactic, known as guerilla marketing, has become a favorite amongst many corporations over the past few years. Typically, this “in your face” style of advertising is used to promote projects or businesses who are working with smaller budgets to hopefully create a bigger outcome. Interestingly, now we are seeing bigger and more financially abundant companies give guerilla marketing a try.


On September 30, famed Halloween retailer, Spirit Halloween, released a full-length feature film to promote their stores for the Halloween season. Starring big-name actors including Rachel Leigh Cook and Christopher Lloyd, the film garnered a huge amount of attention not only for the surprisingly star-studded cast, but the fact that a major retailer made an entire movie to promote their stores.


Although cool and exciting to see, these precedential forms of advertising bring up the question, “Is this really necessary?” Millions of dollars are poured into these elaborate campaigns even with no promise of a successful outcome. To exhaust a company’s resources and budget to make an innovative concept only to not generate the attention wanted is a very real possibility. Unclear messaging can also be a factor in a marketing campaign’s demise as it can lead to unwanted backlash and the “cancellation” of a project in the media.


On the other hand, the benefits of guerilla marketing can be incredibly fruitful if successful and done correctly. Being viral in today’s media is crucial to a successful product or project launch and the attention that guerrilla marketing can bring can make or break how lucrative something can be. Certain campaigns like these are also praised for their creativity and innovation. Utilization of different media strategies are applauded for their forward-thinking concepts.


The rise of guerilla marketing into mainstream media is a confusing but exciting one. Seeing companies think of fresh, new ways to promote something can be intriguing and sometimes even thrilling. Though there are many legitimate downsides and risks to this style of advertising, exploring the uncharted territories of marketing as well as the potential benefits of a viral campaign provide necessary reasoning and praise towards companies.


Editor's Note: For more information on this subject, please visit the article "Say Cheese!" in the Entertainment Section.