If you are on the ball you will have heard of whisper marketing by now. That is to plant a person in say a shopping centre and recommend a product to a fellow shopper. This “word of mouth” is constructed yet could have the same effect as a viral campaign, spreading the idea to others.
The issue seems to be that it is a misrepresentation because it is a constructed scenario, however creative it is. I just wonder what in marketing isn’t constructed, ie ad campaign, direct mail, website, and sometimes even the way testimonials are edited.
I guess the unsavoury thought for consumers is that something they might think is a normal social interaction is actually being sponsored by a company and that does leave a bad taste in your mouth.
Tim Pethick from Nudie I think might have the solution: Word-of-mouth is fundamentally important to our entire strategy. I think consumers feel like they’re over-advertised to at the moment. They’re immune, in a sense, to the messages that they’re getting. Well, what about if we got consumers to be our evangelists? When we were doing sampling events and were interacting with consumers, we gave them brochures that said, ‘We want Nudie‘. Go and visit the store you want to stock Nudie in. Give this to them and ask them to stock Nudie for you. It worked. People went out and did that.” (ABC Mondo Thing epi 12)
Or Ross Honeywell points out whisper marketing is similar to virual marketing and be warned. “Viral marketing is perfectly ethical if what you’re doing is communicating a fabulous idea to other people who are happy to spread it. People who spread it most are these neo-consumers. They’re savvy. They’re really smart. They really get it. And anybody who tries to market them in unethical ways will, A, be spotted very quickly, and, B, be rejected.” (ABC Mondo Thing epi 12)
Food for thought.