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Viral Marketing to Become the Norm? 213

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the advertisers-working-for-their-bread-and-butter dept.
An anonymous reader writes "One of the oldest advertising companies in the U.S., JWT, has just bought up all the Huffington Post's front-page ad space for a whole week. They are taking the unique approach of trying to create ad content interesting enough to make people want to watch, instead of the traditional ad agency approach of bludgeoning the user base over the head through interstitials and other forced ad techniques. Will the ad companies be able to put forth enough continued effort to make good ads that become viral, or is this just a short phase to gain publicity?"
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Viral Marketing to Become the Norm?

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  • What a concept! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JoeLinux (20366) <joelinuxNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday June 17, 2006 @02:01PM (#15555384) Homepage
    Instead of MAKING the customer do something, you make it attractive enough for them to WANT to do something.

    MPAA, RIAA: you taking notes?
    • Instead of MAKING the customer do something, you make it attractive enough for them to WANT to do something.

      It'll never work! Madness, I say!
      • I want to do a lot of things, i want to buy a barbie doll, and a giant robot, and a hair dryer and a lot of shiny gold chains. oh wait i changed the channel now i want to buy a lot of candy bars and a a box of tampons and omg omg is that the most sexiest car ever omg wtf bbq!

        now i changed channels again ahh pbs... now i want to pledge $50 to get that bag with the sesamee street character on it isn't is soo cute!

        damn.. i guess i shouldn't watch so much tv when i'm living in my parents house like a good comp
    • Few things can be made attractive to make you want to buy them. It works for things you can make a fad out of (iPod) but not so much for things you actually need (hygiene products). Most products that you use are so boring and mundane that the only way to get you to try them is to bombard you with the brand name until you give in. They try to make really clever commercials about them, but they are either so cheezy to put you off or are interesting and funny because they actually have nothing to do with the
      • Re:What a concept! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Karma Farmer (595141) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @03:46PM (#15555721)
        but not so much for things you actually need (hygiene products).
        The very fact that you mistakenly believe you "need" most hygiene products underemines any credibility you might have when talking about advertising.
        • by 0racle (667029) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @04:00PM (#15555764)
          I assume you never use shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, or soap then?
          • by Karma Farmer (595141) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @04:24PM (#15555843)
            I assume you never use shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, or soap then?
            I'm sorry, I'm sometimes so caught up in the the comforts of 21st century first world living that I forget how difficulty it is for some people to obtain the bare necessities of life.

            I think we all remember the great alum shortages of the mid 90's, and the deaths of millions as they ran out of precious, life sustaining deodorant.
          • I assume you never use shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, or soap then?

            Per a recent Economist article, only 11% of the population of India use shampoo. That statistic probably covers some more of the items you mention. That's nearly a quarter of the planet's population that doesn't need at least some of those personal hygiene products

            Somewhat ironicaly, the Economist was pointing out that Uni-Lever (and their local subsidiary Hindustan Lever) sees that shampoo-free 89% as a huge potential market.
            • (Intriguing statistic, considering that the word "shampoo" comes from Hindi.)

              Some years ago I heard, but cannot now find online evidence, that if you don't wash your hair for several months it naturally self-cleans, and that after that point you just need to brush dust out of it occasionally. Can anyone confirm/deny?

              If true, this would certainly confirm that no one needs shampoo, whether they live in India or elsewhere.

              • Re:What a concept! (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Daedala (819156)
                You can not use shampoo, but that doesn't mean your hair is self-cleaning. You still need to clean it. Brushing thoroughly -- and more than just occasionally -- to remove dead skin cells, and a mild cleanser (baking soda, vinegar) to remove old hair oil will still be imporant. Shampoo does tend to strip the hair and scalp of needed oils, which is why most women and a lot of men follow up with conditioner. The longer your hair, the more of a problem this is at the ends. You can find a lot more information/ar
        • It's not so much that you need to use hygiene products, it's that we need you to use them. It's a necessity if you want to be a respected member of society. I'm talking about shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant ... not cologne or Axe.
    • Re:What a concept! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MyLongNickName (822545) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @03:33PM (#15555690) Journal
      Guess what? I do not want my advertizing to be entertaining. I want it to be informative. I am tired of products being advertized as a way to meet some emotional need of mine: No, I do not need a BMW to make my peers envious. I do not need to think of McDonalds as a hip place for youngsters. Seeing Lebron on TV does not make me want to buy his shoes... I'm an uncoordinated white guy... your shoes won't help.

      The point of advertizing has morphed from a way to educate to a way to associate it with a feeling or a mood. I think this defines the difference between a capitalist society and a consumerist society. We crossed that a long time ago.

      But I won't go along with it. Maybe that is why I am (generally) happy with life.
      • Guess what? I do not want my advertizing to be entertaining. I want it to be informative.

        So do I, but if this were the only way products were presented, then people would only buy what they really wanted or needed, and consumption/sales would be down drastically. Capitalism will never settle on this as an exclusive solution, since it contradicts the principle of maximizing profit.

        I agree that if you make the personal choice to ignore any emotional advertising and only look for information, then you find yo


      • I really don't care to become personally familiar with ANY product whose last sentance contains the last three words :side effects may include ... AND OR DEATH!

        Does anybody remember (think it was BBC) Comedy show used to run on Canadian T.V. "This Hour Contains 22 1/2 Minutes". IIRC

        Content from Ad Agencies? I don't know. We can't get CONTENT from the mass news media...repetition, propaganda. and plenty of bull, but meaningful content is in serious short supply anywhere.
      • Re:What a concept! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Triv (181010) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @05:27PM (#15556019) Journal

        Guess what? I do not want my advertizing to be entertaining. I want it to be informative.

        Then you're statistically irrelevant to the advertising industry. Thanks for playing.

        I do not need to think of McDonalds as a hip place for youngsters.

        ...and I'm guessing you're not a youngster from that statement. Those ads weren't targeted at you. Also: 75% of all advertising is about keeping brands strong. Even if you don't like McDonald's, the fact that you're talking about them right now means they're doing a good job of staying in the public perception. So even if they lose, they win. It's fascinating, isn't it?

        The point of advertizing has morphed from a way to educate to a way to associate it with a feeling or a mood.

        Oh, please. Advertising that doesn't promote an emotional reaction is completely ineffective at selling things. This isn't a new thing - even the automobile advertisements from the good ol' days tried to appeal to your emotional side first before hitting you with statistics and facts and whatnot. You should looks at some of the classic Ogilvy car ads and pinpoint emotionally resonant language, even in the boilerplate. To believe that they were merely informative is a fallacy.

      • Perhaps I am mistaken but, personally, I do not believe that my purchasing decisons have ever been greatly influenced by all those advertisements which emphasize style, emotional needs and brand recognition over substance. I when I buy groceries, I read the labels and avoid anything that has the word hydrogenated in it, because I try to avoid transfats (which recent research has shown is even worse than saturated fats). I also check the label for details such as saturated fat and calories. I then compare

      • Re:What a concept! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @06:05PM (#15556160)
        The problem is, there's more often than not not a "rational" reason for buying a certain product. Hell, all detergents are essentially the same. They're even made by more or less the same companies (there are actually less than 5 global players in that market). So what rational reason do you expect?

        We've reached a level where all products are essentially equally good. There is a point at which production cost and quality level off, and there's nothing you can do to make it better without making it also more expensive. Which means that your product is as good as the next one.

        Now, how do you want to sell that to your customer? "Buy mine 'cause it doesn't matter?"

        Not necessarily a good selling point.

        Advertising has appeal to your emotional side. It has to tell you that with some deodorant you're more attractive or you're more entertaining or, hell, in WHATEVER way more interesting to be around. There is no tangible difference to competing products.
      • Guess what? I do not want my advertizing to be entertaining. I want it to be informative.

        Guess what? I don't even want that. I want my advertising to be invisible, unless I actually want a product in that domain. Anything else wastes my time and the advertisers money.

        That's the Holy Grail of advertising...

        (I'm well aware that some people want advertising, though. Hell, I have a neighbour who, whenever I see her, asks for all the crap-mail out of my letterbox - because she wants two copies of it. And, as

    • The customer doesn't know what he wants! He wants what we tell him to want, and we gotta make sure that he knows that if he does not want our product, he's a moron! His neighbor wants it, his aunt wants it, his dog wants it! So HE HAS TO WANT IT.

      I need a chair to throw.
    • Advertising is like money for us. Through advertising, we get free and cheap tv shows, magazines, newspapers, etc. I personally never WANT to give away money, but if by giving away money, if the price is right and I get what I want, then I'll be happy. Advertisments are the same. If you don't like to see the advertisments, you always have to option of purchasing the dvd when it comes out. Complaining about how advertisements suck or how they should be more creative is like complaining how spending money suc
  • Sorry, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @02:01PM (#15555386)
    I don't see the connection between "interesting enough to make people want to watch" and "viral".
    • Re:Sorry, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Umbral Blot (737704) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @02:03PM (#15555392) Homepage
      The idea is that if the ads are cool you will tell your friends about them, and then they will see them and spread them to their friends, hence viral.
      • > The idea is that if the ads are cool you will tell your friends about them, and then they will see them and spread them to their friends, hence viral.

        So if they beat your ass when you don't buy their product, and you warn all your friends, is that also viral marketing?

        I think there's a conflation of concepts going on here.

      • The idea is that if the ads are cool you will tell your friends about them, and then they will see them and spread them to their friends, hence viral.

        Do you really expect marketdroids to leave it at that?

        I bet they're already planning ways to infect you with a disease that makes you have to buy their products.
      • And considering the way Ad companies work, it WILL be overdone.

        When it's overdone, people get fed up with it. It's like those joke-mails. Remember them? You got them, some mail where someone told a witty remark or a joke, you'd forward them to your friends 'cause, well, they should have some fun too.

        Yes, it's funny for the first 100 or so joke mails you get. Then it starts being annoying.
      • The idea is that if the ads are cool you will tell your friends about them, and then they will see them and spread them to their friends, hence viral.

        I can mention a couple examples.. Anybody in the US seen the Japanese advert for a paricular tea. Look up Rube Goldberg and you are sure to find it. The other one that comes to mind is one made by Honda. It ran 2 minutes in length and as such was too expensive to air in the US. I have seen it several times and enjoyed it. Do a search for Honda and Cog an
    • Re:Sorry, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PCM2 (4486)
      I don't see the connection between "interesting enough to make people want to watch" and "viral".
      For reference, please see the excellent film Cabin Fever. [imdb.com]

      Pure sales gold.

    • Re:Sorry, but... (Score:4, Informative)

      by zlogic (892404) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @02:12PM (#15555425)
      Here you go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viral_marketing [wikipedia.org]
      Viral marketing it something that is spread by people, not by advertizing agencies. It behaves like a virus - once you release the ad into the wild, it spreads without your control, because people think it's interesting/funny and send it to their friends.
      • Like the free Ipod mini scam here on slashdot and livejournal.com? Oh but its not a scam here is the pic of my Ipod! It was mentioned on cnn so its real and free!

        Just give your 5 best friend's email address to the spammer and ..., bla bla bla
    • by Orange Crush (934731) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @02:16PM (#15555438)
      They're using Viral Marketing and leveraging Web 2.0 paradigms to synergistically create scalable advertising solu--. . . oh bother . . . they're not even using AJAX.
    • Viral I believe is because they want people to send it around (and keep track of how successful it is).
      • ... but keeping track is a hard thing to do. An example FTFA:

        The Huffington Post's traffic makes the ads ripe for engagement: the site attracted nearly 1.2 million unique visitors in May

        Usually how these stats work is you log all the different IP addresses that access your site during one day. This gives you an idea of how many unique visitors you have. Of course, the same visitor logging in the next day is again a unique visitor. So divide by 31 (the number of days in May) and you have the lower limi

    • Re:Sorry, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lord Ender (156273)
      'I don't see the connection between "interesting enough to make people want to watch" and "viral".'

      I didn't see the connection either. But I've got good news! I just saved hundreds on car insurance...
  • by SEMW (967629) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @02:10PM (#15555413)
    They've already succeeded. It's been posted on Slashdot. What better indicator of sucess in a viral marketing campaign designed to attract attention and publicity do you need?
  • Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cp.tar (871488) <cp.tar.bz2@gmail.com> on Saturday June 17, 2006 @02:12PM (#15555426) Journal

    I'm sorry, I must have got something wrong...

    You're not saying some time in the future I won't be forced to watch commercials because some gizmo or another preventing me from switching channels? I'll watch commercials of my own free will?

    I don't believe a change of this magnitude throughout the marketing industry is possible.
    It would be nice, though.

    However, I fear that if I start watching commercials thinking I like it, I'll have been brainwashed. And they won't have changed.

    • Re:Hmmm (Score:2, Funny)

      by rajafarian (49150)
      I don't believe a change of this magnitude throughout the marketing industry is possible.

      Enough scantily clad women and I'm there!

      • Enough scantily clad women and I'm there!

        Just the other day I saw an ad for some coffee-type beverage. If I'm not mistaken, coffe+milk. In a tin can.
        Featuring a girl squeezing said tin can between her boobs.

        It's a nice poster, but the product is totally uninteresting to me: I drink neither coffee nor milk.

        I admit, it's a sight... but to me, it's not advertising: no message is getting through.
        I just see the boobs.

        This kind of marketing can only get people to see the ad; nothing more.
        And seeing it isn'

        • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Informative)

          by Petrushka (815171) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @08:02PM (#15556519)

          I admit, it's a sight... but to me, it's not advertising: no message is getting through.
          I just see the boobs.

          This kind of marketing can only get people to see the ad; nothing more.

          Unfortunately, that's demonstrably untrue. The whole point of most advertising since the mid-20th century isn't to appeal to people's conscious judgment, but to achieve an effect at a non-conscious level. Just because you don't think it's having an effect doesn't mean that it isn't.

          Take a look at this [wikipedia.org], this [wikipedia.org], snd this [wikipedia.org] -- the last link is to an article on Edward Bernays, who pioneered the deliberate use of psychoanalytic techniques in advertising, with the specific aim of bypassing people's conscious judgment.

    • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Funny)

      by Skidge (316075) * on Saturday June 17, 2006 @02:22PM (#15555465) Homepage
      You're not saying some time in the future I won't be forced to watch commercials because some gizmo or another preventing me from switching channels? I'll watch commercials of my own free will?

      No, the idea is that you'll succumb to peer pressure and watch commercials because all of the cool kids are doing it.
    • I remember some Fosters radio ads which were more entertaining than most of the other content on the radio.
    • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Interesting)

      by misleb (129952)
      Even if they could come up with advertising that I actually wanted to watch, it seems to me that it would necessarily be accompanied by a decrease overall quality of programming. I mean, part of the problem with advertisement, particularly on television, is the interruption factor. I don't care if the advertisements are world class funny and entertaiing. I am trying to watch my damn show! The only way you could get me to want to see the advertising is to decrease the quality of said show such that I don't c
      • There used to be shows like Carrot's Commercial Breakdown...

        I actually wouldn't mind shows which only showed commercials.
        Hey, what the hell, put in an SMS-based rating system; I'll bet sheeple'll vote.
        Just don't interrupt me when I'm watching something else (although sometimes I do appreciate a commercial break, though I call it a toilet break).
        And especially don't interrupt me in the cinema.

        The way things are going now, I just build lists of products I'll do my best to avoid buying. Just because the c

        • Re:Hmmm (Score:2, Interesting)

          by izam_oron (942139)
          I actually wouldn't mind shows which only showed commercials.
          They already tried it [wikipedia.org] secretly, and it became a hit, but shows that actually showcased commercials were never popular. Just disguise it as anything else, and the sheep will come . . .
          • actually wouldn't mind shows which only showed commercials.

            The Price is Right, etc. How much more of a commercial can it be to say "If you can guess which price is right for this bottle of Palmolive, you can win this New Car, a blah blah blah blah ... blah blah blah ... Aren't you excied?!?"

      • Just get a widescreen HDTV-ready LCD TV. The commercials look so great, I've bought $3000 worth of stuff since I got the TV.
  • Very effective. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Poromenos1 (830658) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @02:14PM (#15555434) Homepage
    Most commercials here in Greece are so clever and well-made that you actually switch channels hoping to catch some of them. Their only downside is that everyone remembers the commercial but noone knows what product it's for, except maybe that it's for icecream or a phone company or something. So something for the advertisers to consider is tying the product with the ad, so it's memorable.
    • Re:Very effective. (Score:3, Informative)

      by abscissa (136568)
      There are many reasons why an advertiser might choose to not flagrantly display their product in an advertisement. However, unless there was a tie-in to the product or brand somehere, the advertising would be pointless. It might be as simple as putting an ad with a certain woman on TV and then having pictures of the woman when you walked into the store (so you feel some fermilliarity with the product). But the tie-in is there.

      Remember, you don't sell the steak, you sell the sizzle... marketing revolves enti
      • '80's ad buyer

        "Half of all advertising is wasted ... the problem is, I don't know which half."
        00's ad buyer
        "99% of my internet advertising is wasted .. the problem is, I don't know which 99%. The stats they give me are BS."

        ":ies, damn lies, statistics ..."

    • Re:Very effective. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Acid-Duck (228035)
      If you've got some time/patience to look for it I remember an article about patents in which it was explained something like this: Microsoft got a patent which describes a system in which they display ads on TV between shows, and optionally offer a chance to answer perhaps a T/F or multiple choice answer (ie: what color as the actor's tie?) and offering some type of meaningless promo for right answers.

      So yeah, if you're patient enough check it out.

      Erik
  • Virual works... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by misleb (129952) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @02:22PM (#15555464)
    Viral advertising works because it is rare. How could it be the norm? I seriously doubt that there is enough talent out there to regularly churn out advertising that is entertaining enough. It is, after all, only advertising. People will learn to filter it out.

    -matthew
    • True, but the same can be said for most forms of advertising, i.e. they get less effective the more you deluge the viewer with them, the impact is reduced as the viewer is over-exposed to that type of advertising.

      Sadly the response from marketers to that diminished effectiveness is typically to increase quantity even more. Witness spam, popups/unders, flash ads etc on the internet.
    • I suspect that once it becomes the norm, it would all get merged together into one concept: Good old fashioned product placement.
    • Viral works on one thing alone: You have to have an AWESOME product that people will want to tell their friends about. You have a subpar product that is ho hum, people may use it, but they won't become your "free" market force that works for you.
      • Viral works on one thing alone: You have to have an AWESOME product that people will want to tell their friends about.

        That;'s not at all true; if the ad itself is interesting and gets passed on for its entertainment value, that's clearly a success; if the ad contains information that gets passed person-to-person independently of the ad, in a sense that's a kind of successful viral advertising itself; spreading FUD that gets accepted as conventional wisdom and spread around and repeated in person-to-person

    • That's the point (Score:3, Interesting)

      If people do learn to filter it out, the advantage of viral advertising is, they won't have to watch it anyway.

      With traditional advertising, people filter it out, but still have to watch it, wasting their time, their power (having the TV on), the broadcasting company's time, etc. With viral advertising, only people who actually want to watch it will waste your resources pulling it down.

      I've never seen anything conclusive to say that subliminal messages work, or that in-your-face ads work. I only have my o
    • Actually, the real lesson is to not make homogenized crap. The media industries are pretty short-sighted as to what they'll fund. Nothing that caters to anything that looks like a niche is acceptable, it must be accessible to anyone and everyone, so therefore no one likes it. I would love it if more shows like Firefly and Wonderfalls was made. That is partially the problem with the "gatekeepers" of the mass media, they really don't understand their market very well.
  • by bazily (838434) <[slashdot] [at] [bazily.com]> on Saturday June 17, 2006 @02:24PM (#15555471) Homepage
    "...or is this just a short phase to gain publicity?"

    It worked.

  • by hsmith (818216) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @02:27PM (#15555481)
    and it will be dead forever. Look at places like myspace. It is pure viral marketing, friends tell friends and friends get friends to join. The amusing part is, myspace makes money off of the old, failed system of marketing, while myspace enjoys having no advertising budget of their own. they have millions of stupid kids out there spouting off how great their service is. it is an amazing feat.

    if anyone is trying to market their business, i suggest they read "PyroMarketing" good stuff.
    • by SonicSpike (242293)
      ... I will tell you that it isn't dead.

      I have a minor in marketing and have been invovled in marketing in some form or another since the age of 16 (I'm 24).

      There are different types of marketing, direct marketing and "top of mind" marketing.

      Direct marketing is designed to generate sales or leads. Top of mind advertising, sometimes called branding, is more modest but designed to have the potential customers keep the brand or company in the top of their mind. Budweiser commercials are a good example. Seeing a
      • well, i shouldn't have said it is dead, but no one cares about it anymore. people have become so swamped with marketing that they have backlashed against it. Ad's treat us like we are idiots and we are bombarded with them, THAT is the problem.
        • I can agree with that. I hear waaaay more than my fair share (I work at a radio station), and I also market for national ad campaigns on other media.

          The trick is to target and segment the market such that your ads are focused and aimed at the demos you are trying to reach.

          For example, if /. starts to put up ads about tampons or even something like a new car or perscription drug ad or whatever, that in my opinion is poor advertising (called shotgun). But if they put up ads for techno-gadgets, laptops, the la
  • Fans of the strip will catch the drift.

    In other words, the second thing- this is a short-term thing to gain publicity. First, there are barely enough agencies making good ads now, let alone sustain this kind of campaign. Second, if anyone does find anyting new and different, it only takes about 30 seconds for other marketing types to glom on. Then we're bombarded with the "new and different" for a few years.

    Besides- "viral marketing" is a flawed premise, at least as far as adult audiences go. Yes, viral co
  • too late (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FudRucker (866063) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @03:10PM (#15555608)
    as a US citizen (like many others) i have been bombed and hounded by advertising for so long now that i automatically ignore all advertizing like ignoring the background noise in a factory...
  • It is a fad. Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jerf (17166) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @03:11PM (#15555612) Journal
    Because of the nature of the beast. There is a fundamental disconnect between what they want and what they can get, no matter how good their ads get.

    What they want is for your primary goal in life to be to consume their product. (This is especially difficult in that several hundred or thousand products all share this same goal, and best case scenario is still that only one can "win".)

    What they can get at best is "an interesting commercial", at a much greater expense than just creating a standard annoying-as-hell commercial.

    They'll be pleased with the initial apparent progress towards their goal, but when it caps out long before it gets to making consumption your primary goal in life, they'll become disillusioned and go back to the cheap-but-annoying model, as it has better bang-for-the-buck.

    Advertising's primary problem is that they were able to fool themselves in the past that they were making progress towards making their products our overriding concern, because of the very fuzzy and indirect nature of the feedback they recieved. As they become better at figuring out the real effects of their advertising, they are becoming more desparate to "recapture" their old progress and stature, which is especially difficult as it never existed in the first place. Until they realize that it was always an illusion, and re-align themselves to think of themselves as an investment instead of an attempt to create little quasi-religions centered around products, they are always going to have this problem.

    (Note that most business people already correctly think of advertising as investment and have for a long time. It's "Big Advertising" that has a very wrong mental model of their own importance.)
  • I cannot stand the corporate advertising bullshit that gets forced down our necks everytime we try to watch a TV show. BUY NOW! SAVE MORE! BUY, CONSUME! YOU NEED THIS! IT WILL REVOLUTIONIZE YOUR LIFE! Even "clever" advertising is still advertising. (But I will admit, I do watch a commercial (usually only shown late at night) that has hot women nearly showing T&A. I have no idea what the commercials are for - so in a sense the marketing company failed, nor do I even care to purchase their product
  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @03:24PM (#15555652) Homepage
    ... that viral marketing just doesn't work.
  • Just move to a tasteful, 'product placement' model of advertising in mass media and get rid of interrupt-driven advertising altogether!!! No, not THE TRUMAN SHOW [imdb.com] style or that one (in)famous night of programming on ABC(?) that revolved around Elizabeth Taylor and her new perfume.

    Consumers get longer programs/movies/whatever with real content to watch making them happy. They also don't have to watch conventional advertising which is mostly assinine, repetitive drivel with only a handfull of exceptions such
    • The thing is, whether you like it or not, when you see a commercial on TV you will be able to recognize the product later on. The idea is not to make commercials visually appealing and entertaining, it's to get the name out there.

      I mean, when I need a new car, I know that Family Auto Mart is just off the corner of New Haven and Main Street. They finance anybody!
  • The final game of the season in American football, is the biggest TV audience of the year, and the advertising is part of it.

    For those people not into the sporting event, it is something for them to watch. Companies kick off their ad campaigns, and a lot of money goes into producing and airing them.

    It is the TV advertising industries day to shine as well.
    • by MurphyZero (717692)
      It's proven that it works too. Clydesdale sales are always highest in February. Same with monkeys and boobs. That's pretty much the big 3 for Super Bowl commercials.
  • This is nothing new, if a particular advertising campaign really needs to grab people the agency will use viral methods, if its simply a branding exercise then it will use brand identity methods and if its a specialised niche then it will be marketed to specialised audiences. There is really nothing special about viral marketing it simply depends on how much money is going to be put in and what the end result is going to be.

    Occasionally some small time advertising agency will come up with a good idea but mo
  • I think it's slimy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Saeger (456549) <farrellj AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday June 17, 2006 @03:41PM (#15555708) Homepage

    The key thing I want to know about any "viral marketing" is WHO engineered the virus in the first place? Was it a stealth marketing [wikipedia.org] shill trying to "subvert the cluetrain [cluetrain.com]", or was it a truly grassroots meme like the Mentos+Coke thing?

    If it's the latter, I'm fine with it, because it's genuine, but the former is just dirtier than even massmedia ads because the manipulation is sneekier and you KNOW the bastards are laughing all the way to the bank. At least with conventional ads you know someone's trying to sell you; with viral/stealth marketing it *could* be authentic, but it's more likely to be just some smirking jackasses taking everyone for a ride.

  • Repetition (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Triv (181010) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @05:18PM (#15555998) Journal

    full disclosure: I work in advertising.

    There are a lot of entertaining ads out there, the problem is they're only entertaining the first few times you see them, then they get boring. Then annoying. Then grating. I've seen some (supposedly) good products strangle themselves with over-exposure, and the thing is, while showing an ad more often gets you more impressionable eyeballs, it also alienates the customers you might've had, had you not bludgeoned them over the head with your thirty second spot.

    The solution to this is tricky. Rather than producing a larger variety of ads, I think companies should move the bulk of their content to the internet - if people are actively looking for your information they're less likely to be annoyed by it. (Please note that I'm not talking about banner ads, here, I mean sites dedicated to providing product information in as friendly a way as possible.) There are all sorts of reasons why this won't work, namely that most people (unlike this crowd, I'm sure) don't watch TV with a laptop nearby just in case an interesting URL pops up on the screen, but it'd be a nice thing for them to consider.

  • or is this just a short phase to gain publicity?

    I'm pretty sure that most ads are made in an effort to gain publicity.
  • Take a look at the history of marketing and you'll see that every generation had its "perfect" marketing. In the beginning of TV, it was the "company sponsored broadcast", with companies sponsoring news or information, then it was the "company sponsored show", where companies, often exclusively, sponsored game shows. Then we got soap operas (that show genre even got its name from the marketing behind it), we got commercial breaks, we got targeted flyers, we got... well, you name it.

    "Viral marketing" is the
  • What if "viral marketing" was more than just a metaphor for word-of-mouth marketing campaigns?

    Some viruses and parasites will rewire the host's brain to help them propagate themselves. The rabies virus is an obvious example. What if someone used real genetically engineered viruses for "viral" marketing?

    Vernor Vinge, in _Rainbows End_, imagines an all-too-plausible future in which tailored viruses are released into the population to make people more susceptible to ads for honeyed nougat. Honeyed nougat was j
  • Huh ?? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PenGun (794213)
    I have not seen an ad for years. Huffington looks exactly the same to me. You mean there are people who don't have all ads turned off ??? ... Well I just assumed ... you know it's so easy .......

        PenGun
      Do What Now ??? ... Standards and Practices !
  • I hate the term "viral marketing" as it is used to represent interesting content as opposed to "forced-down-your-throat" ad propaganda. Many years ago Bell Canada got into this "viral marketing" stuff by hiring a comedian to do their TV ads in Quebec. Now I hate telecoms even more than I hate buzzwords, but the ads were hilarious and everyone either loved or hated them, but all knew of them. Many people even recorded or downloaded them.. some used them as an answering message or ring tone.. you'll be har
  • p2p (Score:2, Funny)

    by zypres (939921)
    If I download a film, and tell my friends to do the same, would that be Viral marketing?
  • For what?

    Halo 3, The Legend of Simon Conjurer...what?

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