Is guerilla really ambush and vice-versa?

I was looking to do a post about the different types of advertising tactics available to people. Whilst doing some desk research, I had a thought – a realisation if you will.  We communications professionals have been confusing guerilla marketing with ambush marketing (not the first time I think marketing has naming issues).  Or at least we gave them the wrong name in the first place.

So here are some definitions:

Guerilla a member of an irregular armed force that fights a stronger force by sabotage and harassment

Guerilla marketing an unconventional system of promotions that relies on time, energy and imagination rather than a big marketing budget. Typically, guerrilla marketing campaigns are unexpected and unconventional, potentially interactive and consumers are targeted in unexpected places.

Ambush the act of lying in wait to attack by surprise

Ambush marketing – Ambush marketing can be defined as a marketing strategy wherein the advertisers associate themselves with, and therefore capitalize on, a particular event without paying any sponsorship fee.


Perhaps it is just me but when you consider the individual words, the concept of guerilla and ambush marketing seems to be the wrong way around. Ambush marketing should be about communicating where people are least expecting it, whilst Guerilla is about being subversive and aggressive.

Here are some great examples of both, what do you think they are?

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