Saturday, December 09, 2006

State of the Buzz

Marketers have always understood the benefit of having positive word of mouth generated about their company. When a person raves about a new product to a neighbor or friend, the message has more credibility, and an effect on the person’s attitudes toward the product. Marketers still try to generate this more classic concept of word of mouth; however guerilla marketing and communication technology has increased the ways a buzz can be created and spread.

Guerilla marketing produces a local buzz from people interacting with the campaign. These people will spread a word of mouth through a more traditional sense, like talking to neighbors or friends. An example of this is when china maker William Ashley parked a Lamborghini on top of four tea cups outside of their Toronto store. The goal of the display is to get pedestrians walking by to tell their friends and families what they saw. The buzz is able to reach others and go even further because of the internet. E-mail, blogs, and instant messaging are just a few of the ways the internet facilitates communication. When Verizon promoted its FIOS service it used a campaign that incorporated both a local guerilla component and a viral word of mouth component on the internet. The guerilla component raised the FIOS service awareness by casting county locals for a part in a film called “FIOS Fanatics.” The buzz was spread on the internet by posting the audition videos of each person on a website. People online could then view all the auditions and vote for their favorite person. The effort to spread word of mouth continued after watching an audition because Verizon gave the viewer the opportunity to e-mail the video.

Another internet channel that marketers use to generate a buzz is the website YouTube. One video has the potential to be viewed by millions of people just from being posted on this site. Even though YouTube has millions of people viewing and posting videos from all over the world, the website is almost set up to facilitate word of mouth. Videos can be e-mailed to another person, placed directly into a blog, and are rated and commented on by viewers. A company that took advantage of YouTube’s reach interaction is Blendtec. The company posted entertaining videos of their industrial strength blender shredding random objects. The videos have almost two million views with the production expenses being the only cost to Blendtec.

Companies are also starting to realize the opportunities of generating buzz though blogs. Since blogs are a place where people share their opinions on anything, businesses sometimes get third party endorsements on products or kudos for the way they handle a public situation. However, like all word of mouth this can go the other way and people can write negative things about a company. For example several bloggers have heavily criticized the computer manufacturer Dell for its poor customer service. Since positive word of mouth is such a valued asset, companies are paying bloggers to write about their products. The online service sets up bloggers with an advertiser that gives them the criteria for what the blog should be based on. This raises some ethical questions because people who read the blog believe they are reading an objective opinion. Some blogs disclose that they are sponsored by the company but currently there is currently no uniform regulation for buying blog posts.

In order to receive positive word of mouth an advertiser does not have to pay someone to write a blog. The best way to conduct any buzz or guerilla marketing campaign is to be creative. This idea relates to Seth Godin’s purple cow concept discussed in class. It explains how people want to talk about something new, different, or creative. If someone sees a purple cow or a retail store shaped like a techno blimp they will want to send an e-mail, write a blog, or call all of their friends. Another way to increase word of mouth and to be creative is by incorporating multiple media into a promotion. For example Intel had a campaign with guerrilla marketing by having the SecondLife developer in a New York City store window, an online video game component with the developer creating the scenery in SecondLife, and the video streaming over the internet of both the developer in the store window and her character in the game.

Buzz marketing will continue to grow and be more effective as new communications technologies are developed. It will let advertisers be even more creative and allow word of mouth to be integrated into more media. Marketers are no longer passively generating word of mouth through the quality of their products but actively causing a buzz through media and creativity.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Will it Blend?

A blender company called Blendtec knows how to create a buzz. On its dedicated website they set out to answer the simple question, “will it blend?” by putting their blender to the test against objects like marbles, rakes, cola cans, and golf balls. The videos have now also been put on YouTube with most clips being viewed thousands of times, and the “will it blend” golf balls viewed over 1.7 million times. MarketingBlurb has done the CPM viral video campaign calculation. More than 5 million views and 10,000 comments in 5 days for $50 is a CPM of less than one cent.

Even though it looks like the idea came from the David Letterman bit “Will it Float?” Blendtec was creative enough to apply the concept to their product and use it in a viral internet campaign. The CPM numbers are impressive from a marketing stand point but it would be interesting to know how the promotion has affected sales.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Credit Card Bike Rides

The financial institution Chase used a guerilla/outdoor marketing campaign that offered free bike rides to college students. The promotion encouraged the students to sign up for a Facebook group where they could register for Chases’ credit card loyalty program. The bicycles where branded (check out picture) and placed on 17 college campuses giving rides from 9AM to 3PM. According to Adrants in a four week period the promotion got 29,000 college students to sign up for the loyalty program.

I really like this promotion because how if connected with the college student target market. It first created a relationship by offering a service for free. Even if it is just a ride to class, students like any consumer appreciate the extra effort. Chase also connected with college students by using a Facebook group as the medium to encourage enrollment into the program. Anything is better than another direct mail credit card application but Facebook is the most effective way a marketer can connect and reach college students.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

‘Car and Driver’ and Word of Mouth

Car and Driver magazine has developed The First Drivers Club in order to measure word of mouth for advertisers. The online social network created by BuzzAgent, a word of mouth marketing agency allows members to preview products and give feedback to advertisers. Members that test the products submit reports describing product quality and the word of mouth generated by their peers. The club benefits advertisers because of the word of mouth generated about a product and the magazine receives editorial content for the magazine. I think this is will be an extremely successful network for Car and Driver because it is allows readers to interact with the brand through another medium. According to Car and Driver’s paid circulation has been down like most magazines so it is important to be innovative to keep the advertiser's business.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Bodog Fights at Red Lights

The entertainment company Bodog is promoting its mixed martial arts pay per view event with a series of mini fights called Red Light Fights. The mini fights which start on November 19th take place in the back of trucks that will be driving around several cities in California and New York City. When the truck stops at a red light the fights will begin. According to Adrants Bodog’s Red Light Fights will even have Bodog Girls as the round card carriers.

I like the idea behind this promotion because it would definitely stay in my mind if I saw two people fighting in a ring set up in the back of a truck. It is an experience I could picture myself telling to friends. Bodog is also using the guerilla promotion with traditional media to increase awareness of the pay per view fight. I first heard about the event and BodogFight this past Saturday when I was watching college football.

The problem I have with the Red Light Fights is that the logistical step up. People might not understand what is happening when the truck stops at a red light for only a few seconds. The fighting in the ring does not portray an actual Bodog fight so people might not understand the brand or how it differs from other mixed martial art entertainment.

From Adrants

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Here Wii Comes

With only 11 days until its release, Nintendo’s next generation gaming console Wii, continues to build a buzz from online news and bloggers. FutureLab even has a clip from a South Park episode that shows Cartman unable to contain his excitement for the new system. Wii has also contributed to the buzz with a clever promotion as the release date nears. Each day Nintendo updates the Wii website with new videos of people from different countries playing the system. The most interesting part about this is that the video is shot from the TV’s view point, so we never see what the game looks like, only the people’s interaction with the game. This is a good strategy because it is focusing on what separates Wii from the PS3 and the XBOX 360. Wii’s “nunchuck” motion sensing controllers provides gamers with a higher involvement level compared to the other systems which have mostly focused on increasing graphics. Another way the video posting separates Wii is that it allows the company to show how the product itself is exciting. The advertisements that promote most new consoles center on images of individual games, instead of the system itself.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Soundbombs are a new interactive concept that can project a prerecorded sound when motion is detected. The idea invented by Fleix Beck, steams from noisy alarm “streetart” that has now been refined for more versatile use. Soundbombs create the opportunity to enhance current media by providing more options for guerilla marketing, as well as provide another dimension to billboards. Influential Interactive Marketing envisions Soundbombs being used by charities when collecting street donations. A message would play for pedestrians that walked by a Soundbomb, enticing them to make a donation. I can see how this technology could be very useful in any outdoor marketing because its ability to attract attention and further articulate a message.
What has added to the buzz about Soundbombs is the unique distribution method. A person that wants the product must apply by giving an offer and a reason to use it. This keeps the integrity of Soundbombs intact because the product will only be used for effective and engaging purposes. According to Wired Magazine referenced in Influential Interactive Marketing their have already been 2,500 requests for the product.