What is Stealth Marketing ?


Stealth marketing, also known as buzz marketing or undercover marketing, is a form of  indirect marketing which promotes products and services to people without them knowing it. It is a subtle way of advertising the products or service without people noticing it. This type of marketing approach is useful to create a buzz for a product or a brand. Such marketing is often done through celebrity  endorsement, product placement, influences and making viral videos. 

The primary objective of  stealth marketing is not to generate immediate sales but to create curiosity and excitement among the consumers for the product or service. Large companies often use this type of marketing to spread the information of a product by word-of- mouth. Even though stealth marketing reflects a  powerful message and reinforces brand loyalty among people, it has been criticized for being unethical and deceptive. For instance, several companies who have fake viral videos, produce media  attention intentionally and have undisclosed amounts for advertising to influencers. However, effective and ethical stealth marketing can spread awareness of a brand and build positive  association with certain products. 

Types of Stealth Marketing

There are several types of stealth marketing which marketers use to advertise the products  and services to the people without their knowledge. Some of the common types of stealth  marketing that marketers often use are:  

Product Placement

It is a very common form of stealth marketing which refers to showing  a particular product or service in television shows, movies and other forms of media.  Marketers feature their products in such media to target a large audience. Companies can  feature their products in videos and ads through the actors and influences. This type of  marketing is also known as embedded marketing. Consumers perceive this type of  marketing positively as they can relate to the product naturally. 

Undercover Marketing

In this type of marketing strategy, marketers introduce a product  or service in such a way that doesn’t seem like formal advertising at all. This type of  marketing includes reviews or feedback from consumers about the new product that they have tried or heard from others. This causes a curiosity among people to try from what  other people have said about the product. This type of marketing can be very subtle and  people often don’t notice it. 

Subliminal Messages

This technique involves quick flashes of a particular product,  images, service, hidden messages, or cues which carries the power to create an impact on  consumers’ awareness. It influences the opinions and perspectives of the consumers  regarding a product. One example of subliminal message can be setting a message in a  song while an image appears. 


Sometimes, companies encourage people to write positive reviews and  comments about a particular product by paying them or giving them other incentives. This  is also one form of stealth marketing. Likewise, companies provide early access to  a product to a certain consumer before launching it and ask them to write a positive review  about the product. 

Fake Controversy

At times, product owners intentionally create online feuds about certain  products and services to draw the attention of people and in return advertise their products  or services. They create a fake controversy to capture the attention of the audience and start  the discussions about the product online. 

Advantages of Stealth Marketing

Stealth marketing has several advantages if used ethically and strategically. The following are  some of the advantages of stealth marketing: 

Generates of prior interest

Stealth marketing creates a prior interest among the people by capturing the attention of the targeted audience and arousing a curiosity, excitement and  deep desire for the product. People become curious and interested in seeing and using the  products that influencers use. This helps the company to generate short-term profits from  the product.

Promoting the product without advertising

Today, the advertising market is flooded with  numerous ads and it’s becoming extremely difficult for the marketers to capture the  attention of the audience. However, stealth marketing can help to gain the attention of  consumers indirectly through its innovative presentation and help the companies to  promote the product without advertising. 

Builds brand image

Stealth marketing creates an impact of a product in the consumer’s  mind which helps to build the brand image. People are attracted to remember the brand  name, product name, which helps to build the brand association and brand recall value,  eventually leading to developing the brand image in the consumer’s mind and creating  customer’s loyalty. 


Stealth marketing techniques are cost efficient which helps the business to  avoid unnecessary expenses such as shooting in luxurious studios with extraordinary  backgrounds or in far locations. Instead, businesses can create basic videos using icons which  can arouse curiosity among people. This saves a lot of time and money for the marketers. 

Downside of Stealth Marketing

There are some downsize of such marketing as well. Some of such downsizes are:

Damaging the brand image

Sometimes, the stealth marketing efforts can backfire on the  brand which threatens the entire reputation of the brand. Although the marketers use  stealth marketing to build a positive brand image, when consumers get to know about  the real intention of them, then it can damage brand image. 

Legally doubtful act

There are certain stealth marketing acts which fall under the legality of certain jurisdictions. Undercover marketing activities which misleads the consumers and  manipulate the certain information are unethical and punishable by law. 

Lack of attention from people

If people get to know that companies are using misleading  ads to promote their products, then they will lose their trust and faith in the company.  In such a situation, people don’t give too much attention to the company and their products. 


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