Sunday, July 6, 2008

Chaos Marketing

Coincidence. My reading of "Unleashing the Ideavirus" by Seth Godin had to be on the same day as the dumbest marketing fiasco of recent times unfolded in my city.

Here is the plot: Advertise like crazy and tell the world that you are going to give away Rs. 1000 (almost 25$) free to every Tapan, Dinesh and Hari who drops in to a XYZ shopping mall and gives his/her fake address and name to one "so-called" financial company. The news spreads like wildfire and before the advertiser knows it the entire junta of Navi Mumbai (2007 population estimate - 2.1 million) with their aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and every distant relative, friend and enemy they can catch hold of, descend upon this poor mall. Chaos prevails. Truck loads of people from other distant towns also come for this prized bounty. Things get out of control, people get angry, throw stones, destroy the glass facade of the mall and then go around town burning vehicles. Wow! Don't believe me? Read the story here. Brilliant marketing I say. Imagine the amount of negative publicity that poor firm could garner (forget the costs that it is going to bear for all the damage that happened later :) !!).

ING Direct had a similar scheme in the US (don't know if they still have it!). You refer a friend to ING Direct and in return you earn 10$. Amazing idea. The reason it worked there probably was because it was done online, and one had to open a bank account to get the amount. Also you can't really fake your identity while opening a bank account! Though am bad at convincing people, I actually got 3 of my friends signed up for a whopping profit of 30$ :) and I guess within a month every person in my organization had an ING Direct account.

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