Thank-you, Reader's Digest

For this wonderful bit on marketing, to help folks sort it all out:

"If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying 'Circus Coming to the Fairground Saturday,' that's advertising. If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk him into town, that's promotion. If the elephant walks through the mayor's flowerbed, that's publicity. If you can get the mayor to laugh about it, that's public relations. And if you planned the elephant's walk, that's marketing."

In keeping with our lesson in this week, I might add this:

"And if you filmed the elephant doing all of the above, and posted it on, that would be viral marketing."

Viral marketing is interesting in a number of ways, perhaps most of all, for the fact that many times, people don't even seem to realize they're being marketed to when they are. And yet, the desired effect is still attained. Many times these campaigns fail. But what is "failure" really? Is it not becoming a youtube phenomenon? Not having your "advergames" become the next great success?

Those expectations are perhaps too lofty, though they should be aspired to all the same. But the real measure of success can be found in things like checking hits, frequency, and so forth. The other intriguing thing about viral marketing (which makes it intriguing on the marketers' end as well), is it's relatively low cost. With that in mind, it puts "failure" further into perspective. Where else could an advertiser spend so little with such great potential to turn that small investment into something bigger than superbowl commercials?

Speaking of commercials, our lesson focused on the viral campaign Burger King developed, and showed through commercials, of people "freaking out."

Now, I realize that there was some manner of success indicated with these commercials (as noted in our lesson), but, I personally thought they were crap. It neither made me interested in Whoppers, Burger King, or sitting through another one for 30 seconds I'd never see again. I'm not sure if these were the best "freakouts" they got from telling people they'd discontinued the Whopper, but they were, overall, pretty lame. And so really, they just came off looking fake (particularly considering that I recognized one of the "Burger King employees" as a comedic actor).

It could've worked though really; if they'd had some better freakouts. I'd have rather seen some manufactured ones, than the allegedly real ones they showed instead. I feel nauseous again trying to dissect how Burger King thought they were being so "edgy" with this campaign, and how they didn't even really get close enough to the edge to look over.

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