11.27.2010

The Buzz About Buzz Marketing

When done correctly, buzz marketing can work. When done well, it fascinates me because the marketer is able to capture a collective audience or target market and call them to action.  Is it brainwashing or just perfectly executed marketing?
In October 2009, one of the most astounding and surprising guerilla marketing attempts (arguably ever) was flawlessly executed in Italy.  Heineken created more than buzz with this unique and way out-of-the-box idea; they created a legion of fans around the world.  Or, at the very least, got the world talking - about Heineken. 

As everyone knows, soccer is king in Europe.  Heineken staged an event so that it occurred on the same night as a match of Real Madrid versus AC Milan. This is like putting an event as the same night as the Super Bowl in the city where the Super Bowl is being played.  You simply do not do this.  Unless you're Heineken. 

Heineken had many accomplices.  Girlfriends, bosses, even Real Madrid and AC Milan! The fake event was a classic string concert and poetry reading at a concert hall.  Now, what sports fan wants to go to a strings concert on the night of this match? Not me!

Heineken even had the event broadcast live on SkySport, with crosses for interviews of famous sporting celebs to aid in the Authenticity, or infact, leverage some of the people who’d been stung by the stunt! (Heineken: Guerrilla Marketing Event In Italy, 2010). So these men (nearly 1,000 total people in the audience) were coaxed into skipping the game to attend this concert.  Bosses were in on it and asked employees to attend the concert ( of course the employee would say yes if they are a good employee); girlfriends asked their boyfriends with the boyfriends always replying by reminding the girl that this concert is the same night as the soccer match.

There was a big screen as the backdrop to the stage. The string quartet played music as a video played behind them. As the concert progressed - and the men got increasingly bored - the video's message began to change slowly.  Frame by frame it revealed the hoax to the audience culminating with a live broadcast of the soccer match! As the audience realized what was happening they all began laughing and clapping and cheering - and they got to enjoy the game!

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