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.
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