The 300 Page Phone Bill
SpiderPig - The Movie

When I Was Young We Made Our Own Fun or B2B Viral Marketing and a Girl Named SpiderPig


OK actually we didn't at all - we mostly watched cartoons.

[Going back and listening to the theme tunes of cartoons from your youth is pretty much what Youtube was invented for, but I digress].

I may have spent the summers of my salad days watching TV with the curtains drawn to avoid light hitting the screen, but my parents and concerned well wishers would often wax lyrical about the virtues of making your own fun.

They are probably chuffed that 40% of people are now 'making their own entertainment', according to a new report from Deloitte. [Although they won't be getting any fresh air, which was the other thing they seemed to think was vital for growing boys.] 

[Snide aside said, they'll still probably be more pleased than those content producers who will be victims of the shift in value in the chain of media from content to platform that this suggests is inevitable - there are only so many hours in the day. By the way, this isn't really a digression, more a sidebar to the main thrust of this paragraph, although the one before about fresh air almost certainly was.]

Which brings me neatly to B2B viral marketing.

My mate Chris asked me about business to business viral stuff recently [as I've mentioned before I get asked this sort of thing a lot due to being the in-house geek / digital ninja and that].

At first glance I thought oooh this might be a bit tricky, business being the sober, serious face of communications where direct mail and trade press rule.

But then I went back and read my own post about viral  being a thing that happens not a thing that is

[Side note: Yes sometimes I go back and read my own posts. Quite apart from the sheer vainglorious joy it gives me, my brain stores a lot of stuff online and Google is faster than me trying to remember. In fact, I think increasingly, our brains are less like databases and more like index servers - you can access far more knowledge if you remember how / where to find it rather than the information itself. Of course, this has been a criticism of technology since Plato's Phaedrus, where he was on about writing ruining people's memory but I think it's even more relevant now. But I digress again.]

and I realised that my brain had begun to ascribe a corrupt meaning to viral - it had started to mean funny video.

This made me a little sad.

But then I cracked on and actually thought about it and realised that large business to business companies have always been great at viral marketing. They use their vast resources to get reports written about relevant topics for their specific business groups and release them into the world for free. 

These get passed around like anything with a perceived value that seems free [how many times have you got that 'pre-release' word doc of Jamie Oliver's new cookbook? It's been coming around for at least four years now. These digressions may take over this post completely if we aren't careful - keep your eyes open and let me know] and demonstrate the deep industry expertise of the consulting companies that spawn them at the same time.

Here's one from Accenture that made Adage a couple of weeks back which explains that people think shopping is quite annoying - the reports have PR value too.

In fact, knowledge marketing is almost certainly the oldest form of viral marketing - as we evolved in a environment of very scarce resources [and no refrigerators], information was the one thing we could pass on in the spirit of reciprocal altruism but not lose utility of ourselves.

The further the information travels, as long as it's ascribed ["Where did you hear that? Ug told me" - an appropriate illustrative parenthesis, not a digression, although it is now] and turns out to be true and useful, the better for the originator's reputation, with no additional effort on Ug's part [Ug has lept out of the digression into the main body copy. This could be trouble - oh no wait he's back in the brackets now].

The only thing which spreads faster and farther than the useful truth are things people really, really want to be true but seem unlikely and are impossible to verify [file under "Religion" and then go read The God Delusion].

Which brings me, finally, to Facebook and the group called

If 100,000 people join, my wife will let me name my second child Spiderpig

which, although it would be completely awesome, isn't true [Warning: things promised on Facebook are not legally binding. This has been a public information digression. We now resume the normal post.] but is a bit of B2B viral marketing for a web agency in Australia.

Which brings us all the way back to theme tunes of cartoons from my youth: Spiderpig, Spiderpig, does what ever a Spiderpig can, via a number of digressions.