Guerilla marketing get lost

I have a belief about the ethics of advertising. I think that advertising should benefit the consumer even if they choose to totally ignore it. That benefit might be a free televison programme, a dramatically subsidised newspaper or magazine, lower tube fares or regular rubbish collections. In a sense this is the permission that we have to interrupt people or plaster their neighbourhood with billboards.
And this is my problem with guerilla marketing – or whatever desperately funky terminology it goes under this week. Whether projecting images on our buildings, fly-posting our town centres or littering our streets with brand ephemera it is of no benefit to anyone except the brands that pay for it and the companies that propagate it. It serves no purpose beyond the objectives of those organisations. Guerilla marketing may be seductive but it sucks.

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3 Replies to “Guerilla marketing get lost”

  1. You make a fair point that there are ethics in advertising. Certainly, part of doing a good job (both for a brand and its consumers) is providing some form of benefit.
    However, guerilla marketing — like any old tv spot — has the ability to be creative, humorous, attractive. Just because it isn’t making another product cheaper does not make it unethical.
    Consumers, more often than not, view all advertising as a hindrance — not a subsidy for other goods and services. Guerilla marketing is no different. In the end, bad advertising, in any format, is just that — bad advertising.

  2. I think it all depends on the brand.
    You wouldnt want to go guerilla marketing for Proctor and Gamble… but for Pot Noodle yes.
    Guerilla marketing at its best is engaging and raises awareness greatly. At its worst it irritates and annoys, even breaks the law.
    It can never be a replacement for film, audio and print advertising… but it is exteremly useful as a parrallel tool.

  3. My problem with ‘guerilla marketing’ as a whole is that it draws us into a communications arms race. Which, in the end, can only be bad for the industry, and for the poor sods who have to live in a world with bad ads tattooed on the inside of their eyelids.
    A lot of guerilla stuff is simply the death-throes of the interuptive marketing industry. It’s a desperate attempt to force themselves on people; rather than win their attention with content that merits attention.
    Obviously there is some great guerilla stuff out there, but I think the ratio of crap to good is higher than most marketing communcication. Say 95/5 rather than 90/10.

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