Guerrilla communication
Guerrilla communication and communication guerrilla refer to an attempt to provoke subversive effects through interventions in the process of communication.
It can be distinguished from other classes of political action because it is not based on the critique of the dominant discourses but in the interpretation of the signs in a different way. Its main goal is to make a critical non-questioning of the existing, for reasons ranging from political activism to marketing
Marketing is the process used to determine what products or services may be of interest to customers, and the strategy to use in sales, communications and business development. It generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication, and business developments...

. In terms of marketing, journalist Warren Berger explains unconventional guerrilla-style advertising as "something that lurks all around, hits us where we live, and invariably takes us by surprise". These premises apply to the entire spectrum of guerrilla communication because each tactic intends to disrupt cognitive schemas and thought processing.

The term was created in 1984 by Jay Conrad Levinson, as a marketing strategy for small businness.


One form of guerrilla communication is the creation of ritual via participative public spectacle to disrupt or protest a public event or to shift the perspectives of passers-by. Such spectacles often take the form of street and guerrilla theater. Another way to create such spectacle is via tactical frivolity
Tactical frivolity
Tactical frivolity is a form of public protest involving humour, often including peaceful non-compliance with authorities, carnival and whimsical antics. Humour has played a role in political protests at least as far back as the Classical period in ancient Greece...

Pie-throwing as performance art is a form of guerrilla communication. Other forms of guerrilla communication include adbusting, graffiti, hacktivism (notably cyber squatting), and reclaiming.

It's a good actual example of communication guerrilla the demonstrations taking place since 15 may of 2011 in Spain and other countries, such as London, Berlín or París. Those demonstrations, hired via internet, are trying to create awareness among the population about other ways to manage in governments through the claim "For a Real Democracy Now".

Main methods of action

Generally, the techniques and methods used are guided by two principles: distanciation and over-identification.

Distanciation is based on subtle modifications in the regular representation, which lights new aspects of the representation and produces by displacement, new meanings unforecast. It consists on taking images, ideas and forms to change the communication process or its usual presentation to create confusion and reconsideration about each own cultural grammar. The new elements in the communication process create perturbations, which are effective to offer a critic vision to general public in front of the traditional point of view. The goal of this method is to create distance in front the existing to gain a new perspective. For example, in the mi-1990's the ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky employed distinction in order to raise support for a local homeless shelter . Their method included printing posters on dumpsters that said "kitchen" and a "House" poster was placed on bus shelters. Creative director Bogusky had the notion that the homeless "live in separate culture, where things take on new meanings- a bench becomes your bed; a shopping cart becomes your closet" . In this case, distinction confronts the passers-by to re-consider the traditional concept of "home" and how this seemingly basic concept in not applicable to homeless people.

On the other hand, over-identification means to express publicly those aspects well known but still being taboo, or consciously disregarded. This method takes into account the logic of thinking and cultural dominance there where are not expressed. Its intention is to delete auto-distanciation incorporated to dominant discourses. An effective way of subversion may consist in expressing positively the hidden aspects of the communication in a convincing way, better if it’s close to the system dominant logic. This is a call to the background parts of the message not always seen but felt. The case before mentioned about 15M in Spain is a good example of this method in action. Another example of over-identification exists in the work of street artist Banksy
Banksy is a pseudonymous England-based graffiti artist, political activist, film director, and painter.His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine irreverent dark humour with graffiti done in a distinctive stencilling technique...

. In October 2003 he entered the landscape room at the Tate Britain, removed a framed painting from his bag, and glued it to the wall . Beside the work, a rural scene with an image of police tape stenciled over it, the artist placed a card reading: "Banksy 1975. Crimewatch UK Has Ruined The Countryside For All Of Us. 2003. Oil On Canvas." . As mentioned prior, this installation ensures that the “felt message” is also the “seen message”. It is a reaction to a culturally dominating institution, Crimewatch UK. It was accomplished in a guierrilla-esque under-the-radar manner, and it also amplifies a consensus of sentiments towards such institutions.

External Links

See also

  • Culture jamming
    Culture jamming
    Culture jamming, coined in 1984, denotes a tactic used by many anti-consumerist social movements to disrupt or subvert mainstream cultural institutions, including corporate advertising. Guerrilla semiotics and night discourse are sometimes used synonymously with the term culture jamming.Culture...

  • Subvertising
    Subvertising is a portmanteau of subvert and advertising. It refers to the practice of making spoofs or parodies of corporate and political advertisements. Subvertisements may take the form of a new image or an alteration to an existing image or icon, often in a satirical manner...

  • Context hacking
  • Practitioners of guerrilla communication:
  • The KLF
    The KLF
    The KLF were one of the seminal bands of the British acid house movement during the late 1980s and early 1990s....

     / K Foundation
    K Foundation
    The K Foundation was an art foundation set up by Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty in 1993, following their 'retirement' from the music industry. The Foundation served as an artistic outlet for the duo's post-retirement KLF income...

  • Lavender Menace
    Lavender Menace
    The Lavender Menace was an informal group of lesbian radical feminists formed to protest the exclusion of lesbians and lesbian issues from the feminist movement at the Second Congress to Unite Women in New York City on May 1, 1970...

  • monochrom
    monochrom is an international art-technology-philosophy group, founded in 1993. Its offices are located at Museumsquartier/Vienna ....

  • Publixtheatre Caravan
    Publixtheatre Caravan
    The Publixtheatre Caravan is the English name for a travelling project of the Volxtheater Favoriten, a Vienna-based international theatrical troupe that has been creating site-specific theatrical interventions in public space as well as stage-based performances since 1994...

  • Reclaim the Streets
    Reclaim the Streets
    Reclaim The Streets is a collective with a shared ideal of community ownership of public spaces. Participants characterize the collective as a resistance movement opposed to the dominance of corporate forces in globalization, and to the car as the dominant mode of transport.-Protests:Reclaim The...

  • Spaßguerilla
  • Women's International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell (W.I.T.C.H.)
  • Youth International Party
    Youth International Party
    The Youth International Party, whose members were commonly called Yippies, was a radically youth-oriented and countercultural revolutionary offshoot of the free speech and anti-war movements of the 1960s. It was founded on Dec. 31, 1967...

  • 2007 Boston bomb scare
    2007 Boston bomb scare
    The 2007 Boston bomb scare occurred on January 31, 2007 when the Boston Police Department mistakenly identified battery-powered LED placards resembling the Mooninite characters in the show Aqua Teen Hunger Force found throughout Boston, Massachusetts and the surrounding cities of Cambridge and...

    , corporate guerrilla communication gone awry

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