How long will it take for the South African advertising community to realise that consumers have become brand immune?
You want an example? Great. You wake up and turn on the radio: info overload. You drive to work, radio, billboards, pamphlets, signage and bergies with "Please feed my family" signs: overload. You go for lunch, new billboards and pamphlets, more signage and bergies: overload. And so it continues until we reach that sweet spot I like to call, "Critical overload". Critical overload means that consumer minds are effectively closed for business. More products and new product information every day means that consumers have less time to consider each input which means they have to reject and discard before they can assess, so they ignore.
So many brands competing for withering attention spans, (Think brand ADD), increases desperation among advertising types, which brings irrelevant messages, which in turn desensitises consumer minds. The challenge we have to accept as brand-custodians is that consumers want relevance. They want sense but above all, they want simplicity. We have all become victims of fast time in a time-obsessed society. Living on speed, rushing through life trying to keep up with fast food, fast ovens, fast credit, fast-forwarding, one-night stands, speed dialing, quick playback, instant replay and all in real time please! And we forget the simple things.
Sid Peimer mentioned in an article once, "Clients are only interested in relevance". Mr. Peimer, you are right. But what Mr. Peimer did not mention and what most agencies seem to forget is that the product offering of those clients must be relevant to the people they want to sell it to. And that's all that viral advertising really does; it takes the relevance of the brand to the consumer's world. It doesn't try to force-feed the consumer, it just opens the packet and the consumer feeds himself, and in theory his friends.
Every time I mention the word "Viral" to someone they respond with, "Ah, the internet". Incredible! A campaign is viral in nature when it influences behaviour. It's really like starting a trend. Trends start very small. They are started by influencing a small group of very influential people who in turn act as willing missionaries to sell to a larger group by using their influence. The secret is really to find the key people to influence so that they can quietly spread the message until they reach a point where everything tips over and mass behaviour changes.
This is how it's done: we create a viral message that almost becomes a secret, a secret we reveal to a select few who we know will "Get it". Then we plan and buy media that will carry the message in an infectious way. The method must always be cost effective, in keeping with the message and be able to deliver the secret inside the heads of the "Missionaries". Of course the missionaries must be clearly defined and their feelings and behaviour understood. Once we've obtained and applied this information the game is afoot, because word of mouth must now take over to compensate for minimal media expenditure to reach new people. The viral message, (Secret), is sometimes so insidious that the missionaries don't even know that they are spreading the message for you.
Why is viral the new way? Because it truly creates advertising that reaches from the inside out. It also makes it easier to measure success and failure. Viral advertising simply means that behaviour inside a demo or psycho graphic spreads beyond all boundaries, creating epidemic sales. Or at least that's what I tell the people who pay me.
Rudi Kok is the self-proclaimed master of the viral universe. He lives in Cape Town with a transsexual dog called, "Mister Million". For more information or if you simply don't understand this article you can either phone his parole officer, or you can cut out the middle man and dial direct on 082 518 3519.
I still see that the brand is a valuable commodity and you can't take away the value of a brand. I see viral marketing as a tool not a commodity and although I agree that viral marketing is extremely effective, I struggle with the concept that "brands" are not valuable.
Have I misunderstood you? Posted on 29 Oct 2003 12:49
Can you (for the record) please give as more background on your secondary as well as tertiary education as well as work & life experience to validate your rather extraordinary prophecy. We do after all drink Coke / Pepsi & not cola. Wear Levi's / Diesel - not denim and listen to 5 or YFM & not a radio. LONG LIVE THE BRANDS Roody Posted on 29 Oct 2003 13:44
Firstly, choose a finger. Secondly, I see that you were brave enough to comment but not brave enough to leave your name or contact details. You have my number, why don't you call and ask me these questions yourself. Maybe we can meet and I can stick your levi/diesel product up you butt.
Please don't forget to call. 082 518 3519. I am waiting. Posted on 3 Nov 2003 11:32
While I agree with the message overload sentiments of this article entirely ... come on detractors - tell me seriously you don't suffer from data fatigue ... I also agree with those purporting the validity of brands. You're both right ... And adopting mutually exclusive stands is more than a little trite. Off course brands have value ... but brands are based on products. Great products seep into the collective reality almost by themselves ... and it is only THEN that viral messaging works. Take Miller's Draft as a perfect example. Damn ... it's a great sumnmer beer. Out of the blue, there it was. Suddenly, in a about half a dozen households of friends I know, a six-pack had found its way into the fridge. It's presence warranted comment ... It's quality elicited conversation. More people were turned onto it. NOW Miller's is becoming a brand. What many of you forget, is that Diesel was a great item of clothing before it became a brand ... that coke is a drink first and foremost ... and that whether you scream about it from every media platform on the planet or quietly whisper about it into select missionary ears, of it aint a great product it aint ever gonna be a brand. Alright? Posted on 3 Nov 2003 12:58
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