15 Examples of Guerrilla Marketing in Direct Mail Campaigns

15 Examples of Guerrilla Marketing in Direct Mail Campaigns

15 Examples of Guerrilla Marketing in Direct Mail Campaigns

Coined by Jay Conrad Levinson, the term “Guerrilla Marketing” refers to the unconventional marketing methods used to spark an audience’s interest with a company, product, or service that leaves a lasting impression and encourage future customer relationships. 

The key takeaway is that this unusual form of marketing leaves an impact on an audience, which does not always require a large marketing budget to achieve. Even something as unassuming as a postcard can be considered guerrilla marketing if implemented in a creative and unusual way. 

Types of Guerrilla Marketing

There are several categories that a guerrilla marketing campaign can fall under, including viral, buzz, grassroots, astroturfing, and ambient marketing. Each category is explained as follows: 


    Targeting a selective audience to build a loyal following of ambassadors over time.

The Hermès Birkin Bags. The rigorous process to purchase one has led to the bag’s notoriously lucrative resale value.


    Promotional marketing from paid sources that appear as organic and genuine to the general public.

    Ads placed in unusual locations to draw more attention to the subject they are advertising. 

    • EXAMPLE: Walgreens replacing see-through refrigerated doors with electronic screens to display ads during a customer’s shopping visit.  

Demo Video of Walgreen’s Cooler Screens.

How Guerrilla Marketing Can Work With Direct Mail

Some of the greatest strengths found in guerrilla marketing can be pushed to the extreme using direct mail. Because the marketing channel allows almost any size, material, ink, or packaging, there is no limitation to what a unique campaign can achieve.  

1.) Fully Customizable

One of the biggest drawbacks to digital marketing is the lack of customization available on online advertising platforms.

While companies can get lucky with a viral YouTube video or interesting social media persona, there are far more limitations that come with this marketing medium. 

Required video dimensions, algorithms, lack of personalized messaging, and a device requirement to view promotional material all affect how accessible and creative a marketing campaign can be within the confines of the medium. 

With direct mail, your only limitation is your imagination (and marketing budget).

There are thousands of possible formats and custom avenues a direct mail piece can take to leave a strong impact on its audience. (See examples below)

2.) Better Targeting Practices

If a company wanted to implement a high-budget grassroots campaign, they need to be certain that the people they reach fit their ideal customer profile. 

Digital marketing often relies on online user behavior to learn about them and determine their buyer persona.

However, users can be whomever they wish to be online, and their online habits do not always translate to the targeted audience that marketers wish to reach. 

In contrast, direct mail’s targeting offers a much more diverse range of characteristics to identify their ideal audience from thousands of other similar individuals.

And because every mailer requires a real name and address, your campaigns can afford a higher initial investment cost due to a much more selective promotional targeting strategy. 

3.) Personalization

In most examples of viral – or even ambient – guerrilla marketing, the targeted audience is not addressed on a personal level.

While most campaigns speak to a “group” of people that fit a specific demographic, rarely do you see advertising that speaks to each individual directly.  

However, by its very nature, direct mail does make a personal connection to every recipient.

Not only does the addressee receive a mailer with his or her name and address printed on the envelope, but the piece itself could be fully customized to that specific individual’s tastes to leave a stronger impact. 

Examples of Guerrilla Marketing in Direct Mail

As noted previously, direct mail can come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. It can also have various price points to suit a company’s budgeting needs.

Not every company needs to spend $50 per mailer, but there are plenty of practical options for those that want to create a customized customer experience on a budget. 


What better way to leave a memorable campaign impression than to encourage audience participation?

Incentivizing a person’s natural curiosity with a hidden message is a great tactic to really “wow” an audience. 

Knorr’s custom mailers used leuco dye to reveal a hidden message in their campaigns. Recipients were encouraged to place their mail in their freezers to reveal the hidden message.

Belgium’s World Water Day Mailer. Recipients were asked to run water over their mailers to reveal a hidden message.

Veer’s unique mailers reveal the message “PHOTOSYNTHESIS” when mailer is brought out into direct sunlight. (Original photos by Jonathan Wood (2013)


Who doesn’t like receiving gifts in the mail? From magnets to coupons, there is always something tantalizing about this type of advertising, even if these prospects don’t convert into future customers. 

However, there are a variety of ways to deliver marketing gifts with direct mail.

And with more specific targeting, your campaigns can invest more money into your mailers to leave an even bigger impact on your audience. 

Hello Fresh delivered promotional offers in the form of unique cards for customers to try.

World Wildlife Fund’s “Earth Hour” campaign. To promote the event, WWF sent out custom candles to illustrate a building “going dark” for earth day.

To promote the new Ant-man and Wasp movie, Ad agency Cossette sent the “World’s Smallest Press Release” to media and 200 fans.


For campaigns that rely on being memorable, sometimes a clever gimmick is what your direct mail marketing needs.

The gimmick can be related to a company’s services or as a promotion for new technology or product.

While the mailer itself does not contain something useful for the recipient ( like a gift ) it nevertheless includes a special uniqueness that is only possible through direct mail. 

The Bradford Exchange promoted its USMC Tribute Ring with a custom mailer that measured their recipients ring sizes.

Google Partners – 3D Hologram Prism. Users were provided a plastic material to fold onto their iPhone to watch a holographic display.

Sprint Multiwave Direct Mail Campaign, featuring a carousel of four quadrants to illustrate Sprints wireless campus manager.


Although it is more uncommon, there are certainly mail campaigns that are worth setting a much higher price point on each individual mailer for a select group of people.

For example, if your company wanted to contact C-Suite executives, investing more money into a personalized experience may help get your foot in the door. 

And that’s what makes direct mail the perfect marketing medium, as it has the chance to make the biggest impact while remaining personal to the individual. 

Jeep DNA Box. Contained elements such as seeds, soil, & stone to represent concepts like “adventure” and “freedom” to advertise the new Cherokee model.

MasterCard’s Reverse Advent Calendar. This calendar counted down the days between Christmas and January payday with luxury chocolates provided each day.

Anderson Canyon Video Mailers. Custom video players built inside a branded mailer.


As illustrated below, direct mail is not limited to a certain type of medium.

These examples and campaign concepts show just how creative direct mail can be as a marketing outlet. 

Suttlestraus. Carpet mailer campaign concept

‘Mac Revealer’ student campaign concept. Each MAC concealer mailer contained a product sample. When the sample was used, a domestic violence awareness message would appear.

Sector Alarm ‘An alarming letter’. This company installed an alarm that went off when the envelope was opened.

Start Your Next Campaign With DK Solutions

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From nationwide communities to individual households, your campaigns will reach new heights with DK Solutions.

Thanks to our data-backed TargetList methodology, our campaigns help you see better returns without the unnecessary clutter. 

Start your direct mail campaign today with DK Solutions. Contact us today or visit our blog for more information about our company and the direct mail industry. 

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