Posts Tagged ‘social networking’

Viral Epidemic – No Cure?

July 16, 2009

The past few weeks I’ve heard a lot about viral marketing. The firm I’m currently working in is trying to concentrate on the digital advertising space to differentiate themselves from the pack. A good strategy, given their young, dynamic employees and a fairly good understanding of the Internet and its use as a marketing tool. However, the focus on everything viral is quite disconcerting.

Digital marketing, and viral marketing through the digital medium, is only a nascent trend in India. The current downturn has ad agencies scrambling for ideas and strategies to differentiate themselves from the pack and grab the few crubms that are being given in these times.  So in a desperate effort to stand out from the crowd, a lot of agencies have jumped into digital marketing. The success of a few high profile viral campaigns like Subservient Chicken by Burger King (http://www.subservientchicken.com/), the “Best Job In The World” by the Queensland Tourism Department, and more recently the Great Driving Challenge by Mitsubishi (http://www.greatdrivingchallenge.com/) have done wonders for raising the awareness of their respective brands. It has also resulted in a lot of advertisers and advertising agencies sitting up and taking notice. All are intrigued by the power of the online medium as a viral tool that can catch millions of eyeballs at very low cost (relatively).

Is viral marketing in the online space a solution to grabbing peoples’ attention for every brand? Or is this viral contagion a harmful epidemic that needs to be stopped? No doubt digital marketing and viral campaigns have the power to singlehandedly change the fortunes of a brand. The problem it has the power to change the fortunes for the better and for the worse. Mortin’s ad which got released on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmykFKjNpdY) created a huge uproar from mothers. The ad, which suggested that motherhood is a pain that needs to be tolerated, created such a backlash that the brand may never recover.

This reveals an interesting problem. Although viral marketing may have a tremendous potential to do more with less, it is not well advised to jump into the viral/digital bandwagon without careful thought. This is true for both advertisers as well as agencies. Viral marketing can truly be an epidemic. Once it is started it is nearly impossible to stop, whether it works for the benefit or harm of the brand.

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Has my digital identity taken over?

July 7, 2009

I had an interesting experience yesterday. I played chess with (or rather against) my cousin. As surprising as it may sound, I do know how to play. Whats interesting about that you ask? Well, although we were sitting right next to each other, we didn’t play on a regular board with regular pieces; we played chess on Facebook through a chess.com application. Has my digital identity taken over?!

Until a couple of years back I had no real digital identity to speak of. I wasn’t present on any social networking sites. I didn’t have a blog, I didn’t read blogs and although I did have an email address, I never used it. I never had a need for a digital identity. I was happy enough going to college, playing sports, playing boardgames, watching the occasional movie and hanging out (read drinking) with my friends. Remember the times when the most important social gauge was how many people showed up to your birthday party and not how many people follow you on Twitter? I kinda miss those days.

Today the first thing I do at work is check my work mail. I then check my personal mail. Then check my Facebook and Twitter accounts, then my blog, then a friends blog… by the time I’m done an hour has passed. That got me wondering whether I do all this just to pass the time at work or have I become addicted to the digital me? On one hand my Sundays haven’t changed much from 5 years ago (thank God). But on the other hand, I am posting this on my blog! What do you think; has my digital identity taken over?