Michele Miller writes about the P & G attempt at “viral” marketing with their Men with Cramps campaign.
The danger comes when marketers and advertising agencies glom onto said techniques, transforming themselves into “Advertisers Gone Wild” without much thought about actually persuading a customer to buy a product or service.
Later, she hits the jack pot:
The subject matter actually doesn’t bother me. I lived and worked with musicians in New York for 15 years… I love fart jokes, scatological humor and the like with the best of them. It’s just that the attempt of Men With Cramps falls flat. It’s just not funny. It doesn’t offend me… it does nothing for me.
She then goes on to point out SERIOUS flaws with the campaign, such as the banner at the top of the faux web site not being linked. After her blog entry, the error was fixed. (Ah, the power of the blog!)
In the end, most of us didn’t hear about the Men with Cramps campaign because a friend sent us to the site. The buzz was created as The New York Times and CNN carried the story of P & G’s outside the box thinking.
The moral to the P & G story is this: Viral is what happens when you connect with the consumer. When you touch a nerve or when you make them laugh. The Men with Cramps campaign does none of these.
As an avid user of the Thermacare product, the fact that the “viral” videos never reached me naturally is terrible sign. That sound you hear is one million dollars going down the drain.
In the end, the Men with Cramps angle just isn’t even mildly amusing. Not to men, not to women, not even to teenagers. It didn’t connect and in an effort to label the campaign a “success” P & G turned to traditional media outlets to try to save the campaign.