Thursday, August 10, 2006

Snakes in a Campaign

Personally, one of the marketing channels (is it a channel?) or types that I find the most interesting is viral marketing. I would guess that coming up with a good viral campaign would be challenging, a bit hit and miss. On the other hand, sometimes even without trying, a campaign can turn viral.

Always watching for effective examples, I found a great one yesterday. Or it found me. On my way home from work I got a call on my cell phone. The caller ID said the call was from my boyfriend. When I answered, it was Samuel L. Jackson, calling me by name, referencing some of my personal traits - including the fact that I work in public affairs and drive a junky car – and telling me to take my “boyfriend Aaron”, and go see his movie. It was hilarious.

And proof of effectiveness, when I got home, I went online and have already sent it to 5 other people.

I sent it to some co-workers (who Samuel instructed to “take your co-worker Elizabeth and go see my movie”) who instantly asked about the implications of relevant telemarketing regulations. (It is the way we think around here!) How do you get on their internal do not call list? What about calling hour restrictions?

The effective thing about the campaign is that the call is not originating from the movie studio or a marketing company, but from your friend. If I call-traced the call I received, it would send me back to my boyfriend’s number. So I guess it would be his internal do not contact list that would be relevant here… And there were some other relevant features built right into the campaign’s programming. You are only allowed to send a call between 8am and 10pm of the area code being called (which worked – it would not let us call our summer student’s Vancouver cell phone before 8am Vancouver time). And playing around on the site, we determined that it will not call the same number twice.

So far this is my favourite viral campaign I have come across. And when my boyfriend saw a TV ad for the movie last night (mmm integration) and mused “you know this movie looks like could be good” I knew that the campaign had been successful.


Anonymous Ed Lee said...

Thanks for putting up the link - I heard it on the radio a few days ago and couldn't remember what the address was!

I think Snakes on the Plane is going to be a case study for word of mouth marketing campaigns for quite a few years.

That said, it'll be extremely difficult to replicate the sort of success that the campaign's enjoyed.


12:48 p.m.  
Anonymous Sulemaan Ahmed said...

Cool. One problem. I tried entering my name as Sulemaan, Sul, Sully and none work.

I thought technology had moved beyond the days of simple anglo names such as Tom, Dick and Harry.

I'll still see the movie though...

1:26 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Snakes on a Plane may well become the standard for viral or buzz marketing.

Was reading an article the other day about it. They have had celebrities wearing t-shirts on late night shows, a wrestling champion wore a shirt on national TV, its all over The Daily Show and the Colbert Report, Wikipedia is rife with articles about it.

I typed it into Google and happened upon this blog!

Proof is in the pudding. Word of mouth seems to be working

4:13 p.m.  
Blogger Michael LeBlanc said...

Just got a call from Samuel J. myself - what a gas! What a brilliant idea. Persona personalization - simple yet, wow. Agree with Sulemann though, pretty limited variety of names. Similar (but not quite as clever) program done with multiple celebrities for "black friday" (the 1st shopping day after U.S. Thanksgiving) by Target - get a wake up call from a celeb @ 6am so you don't miss the deals.

4:00 p.m.  

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