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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sean Carton's Five Rules of Viral Marketing 


With a brief nod to Cartoon Network and Peter Berdovsky, Sean Carton of idfive has published his list of five rules of viral marketing (or guerilla marketing). Here is the expurgated version:

If you want to generate word-of-mouth, don't try to be hip.

Destruction of property or intruding into people's comfort zones will only backfire.

You can't fake authenticity.

Know your audience.

Love your customers.

Carton cites a number of examples in his article, but it may be fun to apply the general concepts to the Aqua Teen Hunger Force promotion. Once you do, you run into the "this promotion has multiple audiences" problem. By their positioning, the electronic devices could be seen by Adult Swim fans...and they could be seen by Thomas Menino.

This is not good.

Not necessarily that you can only advertise in places where Adult Swim fans will congregate, but just bear in mind that the vast majority of people on your average street corner won't know Adult Swim from YCMA Swim. If no one had thought that these items were bombs, then the promotion would have...um...bombed, and the six hundred dollars in labor costs would have been wasted.

To cite a semi-related example, it's lucky that the whole Pedro for President thing wasn't conducted as a viral marketing campaign. When you sell the shirts, then the shirt owners have some sense of pride or whatever in promoting Pedro (similar to what you can find for people who wear designer clothing). But let's say that people decided to give the shirts away to 500 hip and trendy people in Manhattan and Ibiza; what would have happened? (And by the way, if you don't know what "Pedro for President" stands for, don't worry - I didn't know either, and once I found out, I didn't really care. Napoleon, Schmapoleon.)

Favorite U.S. president - Third favorite Finnish figure skater

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