Guerilla affiliate marketing

Guerilla affiliate marketing
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Capturing your target audience’s attention is crucial for success. However, usual marketing methods might not always yield the desired results. In these cases, guerrilla marketing can come in handy for finding cheap and effective traffic. Let’s see what guerilla marketing is and how it can be used in affiliate marketing.

Table of contents

What is guerilla marketing?

The main goal of guerilla marketing is to spend as little as possible to achieve the desired goals. The methods used in it are aimed to elicit a strong emotion in the consumer base. It doesn’t necessarily need to be positive: anger or fury will also work, although shock and surprise are more common emotional aims.

Have a look at a Game of Thrones ad in the New York Times: you surely don’t expect to see a dragon’s shadow while reading your news. Maybe you even cast a quick glance skyward: Daenerys Targaryen can’t be here, can she? Probably not, but you never know.
What is guerilla marketing?
Here’s another example: JWC decorated bus handles with prints of their watches. Of course, these were not real, but passengers could hardly resist trying them on, starting to dream about wearing them in real life — all while simply holding a handle on a bus.
WC decorated bus handles with prints of their watches.
Another case from the beginning of the twentieth century is remarkable: vodka produced by Nikolay Shustov was not too popular in the Russian Empire, and standard ads of the day (on trams and posters) did not work well enough for him. He then resorted to hiring students who went to pubs and inns and demanded they be served Shustov’s vodka. If they could not find it on the menu, they started loud arguments and brawls. This led to quite a buzz in the newspapers, and soon the whole of Moscow knew the new producer: as you can see, shock and sell is not exactly the newest marketing strategy.

Guerilla marketing types

You need to make sure that you understand your target audience well before choosing a particular strategy. No guerilla marketing will work without it, so study your TA first, and choose the best promotional strategy second.


One of the best strategies for high conversion. Here information about the service is spread quickly, reliably, and almost without the company’s participation. Users and subscribers spread the desired content using social media, messengers, or word of mouth. It is not the company that creates the buzz, but the clients themselves. However, creating content that will go viral online is not easy or predicatable at all.

An example: Never Say No to Panda from 2010.


Here the strategy is to hide from the clients their way down the sales funnel, and is very often used in movies and TV shows. A company becomes a sponsor of a project, and its products are displayed in the show. An attentive viewer will spot the brand immediately, while others will notice the product on a supermarket shelf thinking “oh hey, the guy from that movie had exactly the same thing!”
A company becomes a sponsor of a project, and its products are displayed in the show.


This marketing type blends into the environment. You won’t see any straightforward advertising right away. For example, an Exit sign should be present in all buildings due to fire safety reasons; but add a small additional sign next to it, and you have a perfect recipe for men’s deodorant.
This marketing type blends into the environment.


Here a trap is created. For example, you watch a soccer game on TV, and suddenly you see a banner unfold with a promo code for a bookmaker. Football fans are known for their gambling propensities, so why not use this for marketing purposes?


Usually — though by all means not always — large scale outdoor advertising is implied, but small-scale and cheap campaigns can be performed without huge billboards. Personalized approach is paramount here, as creative materials sometimes can be hard to connect to the product being advertised.
An example: an ad for the movie It.

An example: an ad for the movie It.

Even actions/Product animations

Usually these involve distributing flyers, flashmobs, or personalizing brand imagery in high-traffic locations.

Pros and cons

It can be challenging to maintain conversion and loyalty with this type of marketing. One miscalculation can lead to significant losses. Let us examine the pros and cons of guerilla marketing:
As you can see, the advantages are considerable, but so are the disadvantages. Be careful about what you do: e.g., in the summer of 2005 Snapple decided they wanted to go for a Guinness record and set up a 7,5 meter popsicle in New York. However, it melted way too soon and the park became covered in a gross sugary liquid. The park had to be closed for two days, and a fire brigade was called up to clean up the mess. The company was forced to pay a large fine and never attempted to do this again.
Snapple decided they wanted to go for a Guinness record

Guerilla affiliate marketing: a TikTok viral video

Of course, there are no outside advertising or huge billboards in affiliate marketing. However, you still can employ methods of creative and viral promotion. Consider this famous case:
Nathan Apodaca became world-famous after he published a video of himself skateboarding while drinking juice; the video now has more than 50 million views. It was one of the most popular videos of 2020.

TikTok immediately used the clip for its ad campaign with impressive reach. The juice manufacturer joined in, giving Nathan a pickup truck, while the fans donated him approximately $20,000. Everybody won simply because a worker filmed his commute to work.


Guerilla marketing works because it is easy to remember thanks to its unorthodox approach and presentation. However, you always need to be careful about your possibilities and closely monitor the mood of your target audience. The price of an error is very high, and you risk wasting your budget without attracting any traffic.

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