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Marketing Disruption?

Link: gapingvoid: never try to change people’s behavior.

I’ve been following Hugh’s sideline, ie new client, with interest.  He’s levereging his muscle in the blogo-world to generate some PR for a wine called Stormhoek by giving away free samples and asking people to comment upon the wine in their blogs – and in doing so creating some ‘marketing disruption’ [his term, not mine].  It’s the marketing as conversation thing.  However, what Hugh and Stormhoek are doing is circumventing that period where ‘use’ grows into ‘advocacy’ and by doing so it risks being  just another ad campaign albeit one using a different ‘channel’ and a slightly different method.  Advocacy is different from buzz and Hugh risks not so much ‘disrupting’ marketing as being very much part of the ‘push’ marketing machine. 

However, if this seems a bit dubious I’m also concerned about the belief by the Stormhoek people that the campaign can do for wine what flickr did for photos:

a real experiment to see if the blogosphere can do for a real world good, like wine, as it has done for services like Flickr

Peter may have had his tongue rooted to his cheek when writing that but I do feel the view is symptomatic of many in marketing who see the blogo-world as just another channel to exploit.  Photos are utterly different and the way flickr works to maximise the sociality around the object would struggle to be repeated by wine because: it’s not visual and therefore not as recognisable; the ‘sense’ of taste cannot be visualised and ‘transferred’ in the same way; photos can say so much more about you than wine; and the the barrier to feeling able to comment on a photo is far lower than for wine.  So the campaign and the project is flawed and the best that can be gained is some PR – and that *has* been generated.

I do applaud the move to make ‘more’ of wine though.  It’s a highly social, living, thing in so many ways – from its varied provenance to it’s ageing and sharing.  One way to objectify wine and make it the subject of sociality in the same way as photos could be to add tags – use folksonomy to enable people to describe wines.   That would be so much better than relying on producers blurb even if the person describing the wine isn’t an expert.  Neither am I.

see also: shop for stormhoek

2 Comments
  1. Fair points, and you’re not the first one to articulate them, but yeah, I appreciate the thought you’re putting into it.

    Sure, wouldn’t we all love the blogosphere to be magically turned into product pimps. But that would be too easy, too predicatable.

    Not to mention, uneffective.

    What’s more interesting to me, and more part of the long term plan, is not using bloggers as an external advertising mechanism.

    What’s far more interesting to me is how this interaction with the blogosphere will affect the internal conversation… how it will affect the internal culture of Stormhoek itself.

    In the Hughtrain, I wrote “the future of advertising is internal”. This is what I’m talking about.

    The story isn’t, “buy this product so you can be more like us”, which is what typical “cool” brands try to do. We want to be more like them, not the other way around. We dig what’s happening in the ‘sphere, and we want to be part of it.

    So it’s more about “outreach” than “selling”.

    i.e. we want the conversation to move from the external to the internal, not the usual “firehose” mass media internal-to-external.

    That’s the plan, anyway. And yeah, I agree, there is some risk. But you got to try these things.

    Again, thanks for the input =)

  2. we want to be part of something

    Excellent points by Technogoogles about the Stromhoek Blogger’s Wine Freebie: I’ve been following Hugh’s sideline, ie new client, with interest. He’s levereging his muscle in the blogo-world to generate some PR for a wine called Stormhoek by giving aw…

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