← Back to Glossary

Stealth Marketing


What is stealth marketing?

Stealth marketing is marketing to consumers in a way that they are not consciously aware of. The goal of stealth marketing is to create a buzz or generate interest in a product without overtly appearing like traditional advertising.

What are common stealth marketing tactics?

Here are some common tactics associated with stealth marketing:

  • Product Placement – integrating a product or brand into movies, TV shows, video games, or other forms of entertainment without explicitly highlighting it as a promotional effort. This allows the product to be subtly featured within the content.
  • Word-of-Mouth Campaigns – encouraging individuals to talk about a product or service within their social circles without disclosing that they are part of a marketing campaign. This relies on the power of personal recommendations.
  • Social Media Seeding – introducing a product or brand into social media conversations through influencers, bloggers, or regular users who may not explicitly disclose their connection to the marketing campaign.
  • Viral Marketing – creating content (such as videos, memes, or challenges) that has the potential to go viral on social media, spreading quickly and gaining attention without overtly appearing as a marketing initiative.
  • Guerrilla Marketing – executing unconventional and unexpected marketing activities in public spaces to attract attention. This could include flash mobs, public stunts, or interactive installations.
  • Astroturfing – creating fake grassroots movements or communities to generate interest or support for a product. This can involve creating fake reviews or testimonials online to build a false sense of popularity.

What are the ethical considerations?

It’s important to note that while stealth marketing can be effective in creating intrigue and generating buzz, it also raises ethical considerations. Consumers may feel deceived if they discover that they were exposed to a marketing effort without their knowledge.

Transparency and honesty are crucial in maintaining trust between brands and consumers. Regulations in various regions often require disclosure when marketing efforts are involved, especially if they involve endorsements or testimonials. As a result, marketers need to be mindful of ethical guidelines and legal requirements in their campaigns.

Want to receive more great content like this for free?

Subscribe to our newsletter to get best practices, recommendations, and tips for digital marketers