Without a doubt it seems that “Viral Marketing,” is a powerful buzzword. Just tap into an existing social network and have your marketing message spread — essentially — for free.
Sounds like a big money saver that can slash your advertising costs dramatically while increasing response. Your message is not yelled at a cold prospect but instead delivered by a friend.
And it spreads, … if it is done right.
Usually big corporations are prone to not doing it right.
Corporate managers are listening to their agencies …
Agencies are doing it wrong because they still believe you can buy attention and sales for big money. Their share in this kind of deal is not insignificant.
Viral Campaign For Turning TV license dodgers Into Paying Subscribers
The idea is fun and spreads but I don't see much potential for making people pay a mandatory fee which they refuse to pay up to this point. Especially because the idea seems to spread more outside the intended target audience.
My wife and and my sister in law have been stunned when I surprised them.
Unfortunately for the Swedish broadcasting corporation they won't pay any fees in the near future.
Two days ago I counted about 13 tweets within one hour about that viral movie tool. Just right now there were 21 tweets in the last hour. But only 1 person living in Sweden, all other 20 tweeples couldn't care less about Swedish TV license fees.
But let's leave geographic targeting issues aside. Since I am outside of Sweden, don't speak Swedish and admittedly did not check other sources and media in Sweden, I could miss an important part of the campaign altogether. My view here is certainly skewed as I am an outsider. Still, there is a lesson to be learned.
The missing part in this campaign: A Strong Offer.
Sure the videos spread somewhat but they do not answer the important question:
“Why should someone who breaks the law by not paying the fee at first place all of a sudden start paying?”
It reminds me on the infamous campaign by the IRS (Internal Revenue Service, USA) a couple of years ago. Psychologist and author Robert B. Cialdini talked about that case study in an interview about his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (↑).
They basically sent a letter to tax payers saying,
“So many citizens are not honest with the taxes at least you shouldn't be the one who lies in the tax return.”
The result was quite the opposite the IRS had intended. Even more people evaded some of their taxes because they felt:
“When everybody is doing it it must be okay and I would be stupid not doing it.”
The Swedish Hero Campaign doesn't score for any of those issues at all. No good reason for signing up right now; ~95% of users outside the target group (*); even experienced Internet users let me know that they gave up trying to load the movie.
(*) An estimate from a snapshot at Twitter; not representative at all.
Certainly a nice try, a funny one, … I am just glad that I was not the one who has to pay for it.
What's your take?
John W. Furst
P.S.: I'd love to see the real figures what it had cost to produce and how much registrations it produces.