Meme Mash Up
Selling Happiness

Green Eggs and Spam

The rules have changed

My mate Ahra sent me this homage to Dr Seuss, discussing the pitfalls of using social media and that.

It highlights that fact that almost any commercial approach via social media is considered, and rejected as, spam.

[I've suggest before that all ads can be considered spam - unsolicited commercial messaging.]

You can't force people to look online - something else is just a click away: the transaction cost is so low that I'd rather move on than wait, and once I've moved on I won't come back unless there's a good reason.

So the dudes at - for verily this is a piece of 'viral' communication - changed the way they thought about social media and the end result was a pdf children's book about new marketing.

We are all connected and the cost of propagating content is approaching zero - it's much, much easier to forward a link or post on a blog than it is to cut things out of the paper [but I do appreciate the fact that my Dad still does that].

So there is a distribution network primed and ready, thirsty for things to distribute, dissect and discuss.

[To steal from Bogusky: people like talking about stuff, all we can hope to do is give them things to talk about.]

It's not about invading our spaces, finding out where we have run to and burrowing your way in, it's about giving us things to communicate with each other with, sending a friend a smile.

And, often, as in this case, they way you get past the immediate rejection, what contributes to making the idea spreadable, is borrowed interest.

People in advertising have traditionally taken a dim view of borrowed interest:

Borrowed interest just means there’s no real value in the product or service you offer, or at least the [advertising] agency people couldn’t find it, or were more concerned with a “creative” portfolio that might impress other ad people

[From here]

I think this thinking is fundamentally flawed. It assumes that the function of advertising is to express a differentiating truth about the product or service, that makes you want to buy it - that advertising is salesmanship.

It's not.

The vast majority of products and services have functional parity. There are no USPs - not ones that people really care about anyway. [Now washes whiter than the whitest whites.]

Borrowed interest is an entirely sound strategy for attracting attention.

The tea borrows interest from the chimps, the chocolate from the gorilla, the burger from the king, the insurance from the lizard or the caveman.

Equally, by leveraging existing cultural artifacts, referencing and remixing symbolic structures, appending your products, you borrow interest to attract attention.

It's not borrowed interest - it's creating interest in something that isn't itself interesting, by connecting something boring [most products, in most categories] to something else. Sure you can ladder up your product benefit to a higher order value proposition, but pretty much all your competitors could too.

Clients tend to think their products are fascinating - if you spend your life thinking about something, it is going to take on a large significance in your life.

Agencies tend to think what they do is interesting - but one of the first things you learn at an agency is that marketing clients only spend a fraction of their day thinking about advertising, although it is perhaps the most visible element of their roles.

Calling people consumers tricks you into thinking they spend their whole lives buying stuff, or thinking about buying stuff.

But they really aren't that interested.