Archive for May, 2009


If you subscribe to Netflix, then you recently received a marketing piece in the mail with four “free trial offer” cards stuck to it with snot glue. They all expire on the same date in June, so nobody can use them one after another. They’re of no use to you, because you already pay for your membership. Basically, the only thing you can do with the cards is give them to friends.

A great word of mouth tactic is to give someone more promo materials/ free offers/ coupons than they can use. This is exactly what Netflix is doing. (Almost like they took a page out the Sernovitz’s book Word of Mouth Marketing). The recipient of the mailing would feel bad chucking all those free trials, so they hawk them to all their friends first. If one of their friends takes them up on the offer, it makes the recipient feel pretty good about themselves. Insta-WOM anyone?

This is also a good example of the fact that word of mouth marketing isn’t always crazy guerrilla tactics. Sometimes, it can be as traditional as direct mail.



Read Full Post »

I think I’ve blogged once about Progressive Auto Insurance and I’m doing it again! They have updated my policy to include a Pet Injury Coverage. I can’t believe it, but if my Shasta or Roxy (or any of my family members’ pets) get into a car accident with me, their vet bills are covered up to $1,000. According to this article, “Pet Injury coverage is built in to your Collision coverage at no additional cost. It’s merely a matter of choosing to use it or not”. Does any other company show that much appreciation for their customers four-legged family members?

Insurance companies and big banks have one thing in common – people are suspicious of them. It’s gestures like Pet Injury Coverage that give them a more human, personable feel. It’s also gestures like this that spawn word of mouth, because they are A) unexpected, B) unique and C) customer-centric (you don’t see what the company gains by introducing this service).



Read Full Post »

As you may have noticed, I am a regular Adrants reader. So yesterday, I was very pleased to see this post: Please Let This Be the Last Time We Have to Define ‘Viral’. I just knew it was going to be about the same point that we continually try to drive home on our blog, which is that viral is an end result.

Attila Nyeki sent Adrants a video accompanied by the message, “This is a viral we have done recently in poor little Budapest, Hungary. I hope you will like it.” While the terse response from Adrants kind of makes me feel sorry for Attila, I do believe they were spot on:

Dear Attila,

This is not a viral. Viral is a result. Viral is a video (or any other piece of marketing) that, because people find it interesting, gets forwarded to others. Only until that happens (a lot), does something earn the label “viral.”

Steve Hall
Editor, Adrants

Could it possibly be said more concisely?


Read Full Post »

We all love the Mac vs. PC commercials. How can you not? They are a witty, easy way to show the different personalities between the two companies and their technology. So of course when I saw this parody commercial, I had to write about it. The spot was produced by www.bankerspank.com – a pro credit union website. It’s a genius way to play off of an existing buzzworthy campaign and turn it into your own…not to mention, making credit unions the confident, laid back and funny character.

This particular parody spot does a couple things really well:

1. Points out that “big banks” don’t know how to talk to their customers in a personal and sympathetic way
2. Conveys how credit unions know and respect their members…even in a touchy-feely way
3. Brands big banks as impersonal and distanced from customers

I think Bankerspank did an effective job tweaking an existing campaign concept to create word of mouth for themselves and the credit union industry. And if this one parody spot isn’t enough, don’t worry – there are many more on their website. In fact, there is even an online store where you can purchase t-shirts, hats, mugs and much more. I know what my friends and family will be getting for Christmas this year…


Read Full Post »


Thanks to a hat tip from Ad Rants via Twitter (@adrants), we came across this funny little site: www.shootthebanker.com. OK, maybe not so funny if you’re a banker. But for the rest of us, it’s a great laugh!

ShootTheBanker.com allows you to control a paintball gun in real time as it is pointed at a banker (actual banking credentials not verified). What’s really interesting is the connection between the online interface and reality. On this site, you are apparently digitally controlling an experience that’s actually happening to a real person.

It’s pretty popular – I signed up to have my turn with the paintball gun and the site said “There are 120 angry people ahead of you. The gun will be yours in 33:14”

Buzzworthy? I think so. Heck, I wrote a post about, didn’t I?

Thoughts? Please share.


Read Full Post »


There is a microfinance organization in Bangladesh called Grameen Bank that caters specifically to the poor and formerly poor borrowers. The Bank removed “the need for collateral and created a banking system based on mutual trust, accountability, participation and creativity. GB provides credit to the poorest of the poor in rural Bangladesh, without any collateral. At GB, credit is a cost effective weapon to fight poverty and it serves as a catalyst in the over all development of socio-economic conditions of the poor who have been kept outside the banking orbit.

Terms and conditions of the loans are reasonably adjusted to cater to underprivileged members of society. There are no written contracts and, instead, societal pressure is relied upon to encourage payback, (it works, their payback rate is over 98%). All of the small loans and business pursuits Grameen Bank has taken on add up. The Bank had 7.75 million borrowers as of February 2009… 97% of those borrowers were women.

The interesting thing is how much the Bank has grown. Between 2003 and 2007, the number of borrowers increased more than two-fold. This growth was spurred by massive word of mouth in the the communities served by the Bank. After all, we have to remember that the Bank’s customers mostly do not have regular access to television, radio or internet. Many are illiterate. Despite all this, they managed to hear about Grameen Bank. Why? Because the Bank offers something worth talking about – a service that is new, life-changing and not found anywhere else. In addition, they offer trust. To a group of people who are poor, cast-aside and even scorned by the rest of society, there is nothing more buzzworthy than acceptance and trust.

In our own country, trust in financial institutions has sunk precipitously. What behavior and practices can we change at the company level to generate positive word of mouth for banks?


Read Full Post »


The Irish aren’t afraid to shock. Online bank RaboDirect.ie has launched “The Truth“, a funny viral marketing campaign created on the premise that the world would be a lot more interesting place if we were all brutally honest. At first glance, the videos posted by the bank seem very naughty. Word are bleeped out, leaving much to the imagination. However, if you watch the “uncensored” versions, you will find that it’s all just in our dirty little heads.

To make the campaign more interactive, the bank also opened a forum for visitor “truth” submissions under such categories as Money, Relationships, Personal, Professional, and Other. So far the site has proved itself popular, with confessions ranging from the innocent to the outrageous. The website also features truths from staff at RaboDirect.

I believe that, behind the humor, there is a more thought-provoking commentary about dishonesty in the banking industry. RaboDirect is trying to make themselves appear transparent by revealing their own small, embarrassing personal truths and giving others a forum to do the same. It’s definitely more subtle than stepping up and saying, “We are honest and open – trust us!”, but nonetheless gets the message across.

The campaign has generated a lot of online buzz (and laughs). It has also shown that RaboDirect understands that word of mouth is not created by talking about products or rates – it’s created by giving something interesting to consumers that they can’t resist sharing with others. Pseudo-dirty videos definitely fit that description.


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »