Your Ad Here

The Cool Sell of Guerrilla Marketing

237 pages

April, 2013

ISBN: 9780814785904



Also available in


Part of the Postmillennial Pop series


Michael Serazio is an award-winning former journalist who has written for The Washington Post and The Atlantic, among other outlets. He is Associate Professor of Communication at Boston College and the author of Your Ad Here: The Cool Sell of Guerrilla Marketing (2013).

All books by Michael Serazio

2015 Susanne K. Langer Award for Outstanding Scholarship, Media Ecology Association
2013 Book of the Year, Visual Communication Division, National Communication Association
Amidst the profound upheavals in technology, economics, and culture that mark the contemporary moment, marketing strategies have multiplied, as brand messages creep ever deeper into our private lives. In Your Ad Here, an engaging and timely new book, Michael Serazio investigates the rise of “guerrilla marketing” as a way of understanding increasingly covert and interactive flows of commercial persuasion. Digging through a decade of trade press coverage and interviewing dozens of agency CEOs, brand managers, and creative directors, Serazio illuminates a diverse and fascinating set of campaign examples: from the America’s Army video game to Pabst Blue Ribbon’s “hipster hijack,” from buzz agent bloggers and tweeters to The Dark Knight’s “Why So Serious?” social labyrinth.
Blending rigorous analysis with eye-opening reporting and lively prose, Your Ad Here reveals the changing ways that commercial culture is produced today. Serazio goes behind-the-scenes with symbolic creators to appreciate the professional logic informing their work, while giving readers a glimpse into this new breed of “hidden persuaders” optimized for 21st-century media content, social patterns, and digital platforms. Ultimately, this new form of marketing adds up to a subtle, sophisticated orchestration of consumer conduct and heralds a world of advertising that pretends to have nothing to sell.


  • "The relationship between brands and consumers is one of great conflict, according to Serazio. This former journalist and assistant professor in the department of communication at Fairfield University uses the term 'guerilla' as a war metaphor to describe marketing’s new attempt at virtual invisibility... Serazio enlists Che Guevara, Michel Foucault, the Frankfurt School, and a variety of media studies theorists to fight for his cause... [T]he book attempts to resolve the mystery of whether power really has shifted from brands to consumers in the new media, word-of-mouth, consumer-generated, self-publishing promotional environment. Are new audience members 'empowered' to choose their brand exposure? Or are marketers using us? The book ends on a cautionary note, with a warning that, despite the concerns of the ad men and women, they still have the upper hand in this newest fight for hearts and minds."  

    Publishers Weekly

  • "Serazio gets as much value out of the [McLuhan's ideas] as seems humanly possible by adapting it to the contrast between the old-school 'hot' ad campaign—with its clear, strong message that you should buy Acme brand whatchamacallits, and here’s why—and a variety of newer, 'cooler' approaches that are more seductive, self-effacing, or canny about dealing with widespread cynicism about corporate hype."

    Inside Higher Ed

  • "Serazio (Fairfield Univ.) provides a well-written, extensively referenced and footnoted book that is reminiscent of, yet more ethically neutral than, texts by Stuart Ewen, Michael Schudson, Thomas Frank, and James Twitchell. In addition to scholarly sources, Serazio's broad reliance on trade and the popular press supports many detailed examples that emphasize his arguments and enhance readability. The numerous insightful and extended quotes sprinkled throughout the text were drawn from 46 semistructured, in-depth telephone interviews with prominent practitioners, creatives, executives, trade journalists, and other relevant professionals who are knowledgeable about guerrilla marketing campaigns. Chapters 4 and 5 will be particularly interesting to practitioners in this field. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers, students at all levels, researchers, faculty, and professionals."


  • "This book covers a lot of ground in its 200 some pages, but with relevant examples and a well-thought out structure, it is accessible to a wide audience. And since, as Serazio points out, the whole point of guerrilla marketing is to become invisible, this book is a must read for anyone engaging in media literacy education. It is a valuable addition to the field of media studies."

    Journal of Popular Culture

  • "These chapters do a good job of chronicling the various ways marketers have used the guerrilla techniques in the recent past. . .It does offer many timely observations on recent efforts by marketers to use unconventional methods to sell their products and services to consumers."

    Journal of American Culture

  • "Come 2013, not only is it hard to think of 'rebellious cool' without a major brand sponsorship: just about all markets of rebellion and authenticity are being actively co-opted into the media-marketing-lifestyle complex.  It requires a masterful scalpel to prise apart the self-sealing seams of 'culture for sale' today, and former journalist and current academic Michael Serazio rises to the challenge magnificently...As a book that mixes real case studies from the trenches of new media promotion with critical theory, Your Ad Here is as welcome for scholars of advertising as it is timely.”

    Media International Australia

  • "Michael Serazio has produced an extremely important and engaging book: well researched and highly readable, it provides a detailed and compelling account of the mechanisms of consumer governance at work in the digital age. It deserves a wide readership among scholars and students alike."

    —Liz Moor, Goldsmiths, University of London

  • "It is a truism that, in media, everyone knows they are being sold something all the time. It is exactly because of this that we become blind to the subtle seductions of contemporary commercial culture—and Michael Serazio is here to open our eyes."

    —Mark Deuze, author of Media Life and Media Work