Archive for February, 2010
Perhaps you've managed to catch some coverage of the Winter Olympic sport of Curling over the last two weeks during the Vancouver Games? The sport has been covered almost nonstop on CNBC here in the US and been enough of a sensation to even have an entire episode of The Simpsons (arguably America's most popular TV show) dedicated entirely to it. Even more impressive is that the sport has managed to accumulate all this attention in spite of three relatively big strikes against it:
- It's not intrinsically exciting.
- America has no hope of a medal.
- No one you know plays it (and you probably haven't either).
This is quite a mystery if you were to consider it in marketing terms (which, of course, I can't help doing). A sport that no one has grown up playing, with little inherent tension or excitement and a national team that is lacking (at current count, they have played 9 games and lost 7 of them) still manages to be among the most popular Winter Olympic sports in the US. Why?
The answer, I believe, comes from an interesting phenomenon that was profiled in another popular American television show – Seinfeld. In one episode, the character George Costanza talked about his ability to be initially annoying and irritating, but to grow on you until eventually you can't stop thinking about him. A similar phenomenon accounts for that moment we have all had where we can't get that awful song out of our heads, but eventually start singing it and even (on some level) liking it.
Your first reaction to curling was probably one of misunderstanding, or ridicule. Let's face it, it's an easy sport to make fun of. But as you see those guys (or girls) furiously sweeping the ice in front of that granite stone – you can't help watching. Yes, sweeping is actually an Olympic sport and as the ratings will show, it's one of our favourites here in the US. The marketing lesson here is simple: Sometimes being sillier than anything else can actually make you the most memorable (and successful). Need more proof? Just look at the success of the Snuggy.
NOTE: This post was originally published on the AMEX Open Forum website, where I write a weekly piece on marketing advice for small business owners. Whether you believe in karma or not, using social media successfully for your small business often has a lot to do with a series of seemingly disconnected events. Every comment you post online, every person…Read More >>
Social media is not a robot. In fact, there could hardly be a more opposing idea to social media than that of robotic automation. I start this post by sharing that because the idea that any job could be "replaced" by social media is contentious idea. There are plenty of market forces displacing people from jobs … do we really…Read More >>
If you are not Indian, chances are when I say Chacha you will think of a type of latin dance. Although it is technically called the "cha-cha-cha" it's the more widespread meaning. If you WERE Indian, however, you would know that Chacha means Uncle. Actually, it means a lot more than Uncle. When I call someone Chacha, anyone who heard…Read More >>
For many marketers, considering mobile marketing year after year is the same story. The year starts off with lots of hype about it finally being the "year of mobile marketing" … and after a month or two, the excitement dies down and reality hits. Most teams realize that they lack the experience or knowledge on what type of messages people…Read More >>
If you believe some pundits and fanboys, the coming of the iPad and the new market for Tablet PCs that it is expected to open up will revolutionize how I use a computer. It will change the way I browse the Internet, do email and make coffee in the mornings. Here are a few choice marketing promises from the Apple…Read More >>
Let me go on the record to say that if you happen to be a vendor of some type of social networking solution or software that would be useful for an agency like Ogilvy, hands down one of your most effective methods of advertising has to be to target the Ogilvy network on Facebook with a customized ad. I have…Read More >>
For several years now, I've taken the slightly different approach to doing a recap post of Super Bowl ads and instead of focusing on which ones I thought were the best or most entertaining, I try to break them down from a marketing point of view to share some lessons for anyone in marketing who may not have been able…Read More >>
Last night was an unlikely stage to unveil the future of music. The 52nd Annual Grammys were on the last Sunday in January as they have been many times before … only this time they were up head to head against the NFL Pro Bowl being played for the first time in the week before the Super Bowl instead of…Read More >>