Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Gorilla, meet guerilla

While writing Monday's post, it reminded me of an interesting error I've seen made more than once in this business. In emails or memos that reference the tactic of "guerrilla marketing" -- eschewing traditional media for unconventional, attention-getting and relatively cheaper message placements -- the unknowing writer has spelled it as "gorilla marketing." That, ironically, brings to mind the old "800-pound gorilla" designation for the biggest, most powerful brand in a given industry -- one whose advertising budgets dwarfed their competitors' miniscule marketing dollars and thus had little for need for the subtlety of guerrilla advertising.


The term, incidentally, was coined by author Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book, "Guerrilla Marketing."  Conrad based it, of course, on the concept of guerrilla warfare, i.e, small independent groups using ambush, surprise and mobility to effectively battle against larger forces.  Going back one step further, guerrilla is derived from the Spanish word for war (hence, "small war") and was how Spaniards described their resistance to Napoleon's French army during the early 1800s.

So, to recap:  Guerrilla marketing isn't gorilla marketing.  And guerrilla warfare isn't gorilla warfare:


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