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The buzz for the buzz

June 17, 2004 at 7:37 by Martina Comments

“Tell a friend” is becoming the most used sentence on the Web. Every marketer wants us to spread the word for them… the situation is becoming rather oppressive or, better, inflated. Everyone is talking about viral marketing! Marketers, advertisers, publishers, every online player has something to say on the topic, even the press which is dedicating more and more attention to the “buzz word”. The latest article has been published on the NZ Herald that starts its analysis from Burger King’s “Subservient Chicken”. Fortunately the article adds something new to the ongoing discussion: viral marketing is risky. As Stephen Pearson CEO of the advertising agency Lowe New Zealand says:

“You do have to, by its very definition, take a greater level of risk. If you really want people to have a look and pass the stuff on then it’s almost inevitably going to offend or at the very least provoke [the audience].”

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3 Responses to The buzz for the buzz

  1. most of the experiments that marketers have tried (eg subservient chicken, sky high airlines) get WOM because they are humorous. marketers need to take it to the next level and engage customers in the their product development and evangelism. Then customers will talk about their product the way they want them to.
    On a sort of related note, check out this tell-a-friend bookmarklet I made (with help).

  2. John says:

    I agree… In the viral marketing efforts we undertake with clients, it’s often a challenge to make users into “product evangelists”…
    For every successful viral campaign, there are hundreds of unsuccessful ones.
    The other misconception is that viral marketing is all “send-to-a-friend” email. That’s BS… There’s a lot of work seeding sites online, getting exposure through “press”, link sites, message boards, etc… Email is just a tiny part of all that.

  3. Wedgewise has just published “The Irresistible Outbreak of Trust”, The Wedgewise Viral Marketing e-Brief, a summary of the first 100 search engine results for “viral marketing”, check it out at