This week there were two remarkable word of mouth (WOM) advertising/marketing efforts that deserve mention.
The first was Domino's Oven Baked Letter incident. Many of us are familiar with the Domino's 2:1 commercials that visually demonstrate the finding that their oven baked subs are preferred 2 to 1 over Subway's. Apparently Subway was also familiar with the ad campaign, and none to pleased. The Subway lawyers sent an email to Domino's threatening legal action. So what did Domino's do? They had their CEO, Dave Brandon (also a conservative Regent at the University of Michigan) film the spot below. The spot can be viewed on the Domino's website (where you can also "oven bake the letter" yourself, or on YouTube where one version has over 1 million views.
The second WOM moment of the week came with Bill Gates at the TED Conference. While speaking on the lack of funding for malaria research, Gates unleashed mosquitoes on the auditorium stating to the affluent crowd that it shouldn't just be poor people at risk for contracting malaria. (The swarm was malaria free.)
What made these two incidents stand out from other WOM campaigns is that you passed along the message - not the method of delivery.
Think of your favorite virals - for most of them you remember that they were funny, or stunty - and when you told people about it, THAT was the message. I told dozens of people about Smirnoff's Tea Part-ay video generally by saying that Smirnoff had made a hilarious rap video staring preppy people. No mention of their new Raw Tea product or any of its attributes. With both the Domino's Oven Baked Letter and Bill Gates mosquitoes stunt it's virtually impossible to recommend to others without delivering the intended message.
"You have to check out the Domino's Web site - their CEO got a letter from Subway telling them to pull down their ad campaign - you know the one saying their oven baked subs are 2 times better - then the CEO actually oven bakes the letter!" or "Did you hear Bill Gates unleashed a swarm of mosquitoes on an auditorium at TED during a speech on malaria research and said that poor people shouldn't be the only ones suffering from malaria?" This is WOM gold - and we shouldn't lose sight of it.