Blog: WOM - there it is!
Olly Wehring | 30 March 2007
Word of mouth (WOM) marketing, the hot trend in North American advertising, is apparently preparing to hit the UK.
As consumers switch off to ads - literally, in an increasing number of cases with the spread of digital boxes (I haven’t sat through a single commercial break since Sky+ made its way into our living room) - advertisers are being forced to constantly invent new ways of connecting with their audience.
Positive WOM product endorsement has always been a veritable advertising Holy Grail. But US advertising agencies have taken things one step further by giving volunteers freebies in exchange for them casually slipping product endorsements into conversations with friends and family.
Now, I’m certainly not one to knock getting free stuff. And if I like something, I may well share this info with my nearest and dearest. But does combining the two smack of selling out? Is this commercialisation of our personal relationships an invasion of privacy and a betrayal of trust?
Advertisers say not. Because there is no regulation over what people say, the endorsement is presented as genuine. Moreover, the volunteers must state that they are part of an advertising campaign at the outset.
So will it work?
I can pinpoint the single one thing that annoys me most about advertising on TV. My biggest gripe is that the sound dramatically increases during the commercial break. Presumably, this is to attract your attention – but if this is the case it is so clumsily executed that, for me, it is simply a signal to switch off.
WOM advertising is certainly a lot more subtle than this. If a friend were to recommend a product, I would initially take them seriously. But then, as soon as they told me they were part of an ad campaign I think my suspicions would be aroused. No longer is this person acting in my interests, they are acting in the interests of the company that is bribing them with free goodies.
Is there a way that companies can tap into positive word of mouth without drawing the legitimacy of the messenger into question?
Whisk(e)y companies spend a lot of money and effort ageing their products for that premium taste....
PepsiCo created a stir last week with the news it is testing a product called Caleb's Kola, with some in the media claiming it was the beginning of a new “craft soda” category....
SABMiller's bid to widen the appeal of beer is very much in evidence at its latest 'House of Peroni' - with beer cocktails and a bigger bottle for the Italian lager brand on offer. ...
Here's a round-up of the big stories on just-drinks last week, featuring PepsiCo, SABMiller, the Scotch whisky category and the US wine market....
- Analysis - Remy's Cognac "dead-cat bounce"
- Comment - How Hand-Made is Tito's Handmade Vodka?
- Diageo's future brighter than present suggests
- Diageo's Q1 Results by Region
- SABMiller's troubles fuel M&A rumours
- Moët Hennessy unveils first Travel Retail outlet
- Diageo puts Beckham centre stage in Haig Club ad
- United Spirits sees Q1 net loss
- Beam Suntory, Edrington part ways in Travel Retail
- TWE unveils Penfolds range after CEO's "bold move"