Swine flu the Viral

September 1, 2009

Swine flu 

A trip out to Dun Laoighre last weekend, for the ever entertaining World Cultures Festival, saw me confronted with my first swine flu poster. HSE launched its campaign on the 21st of August. The five-week radio, TV and print, targets parents preparing their kids to return to school as well as general information, such as how to recognize and treat the symptoms.

 My friend thought it ironic that I sit under the DART poster. My current state of health (cough, stuffed nose, blood shot eyes), makes me look like another victim…turning the poster into some sort of 3d warning to all passengers. I don’t have swine flu; I do have a rather bad chest infection, along with an increasingly low tolerance to pig jokes. I’m a walking talking swine flu leaflet of the symptoms, the recovery, the cure…all information I’ve gathered from other people.

 In Unleashing the Ideavirus, Seth Godin says your idea is contagious, like the flu. If you think of your idea as a virus, you can “infect” the marketplace by motivating customers to talk about your product. He stretches this metaphor to explain how to captivate powerful “sneezers” so they will spread the word. Not a pretty picture, if you are a literal type of person, but you get the concept. For the right product or service, this is an alternative to advertising (or, as Godin calls it, “interruption marketing”).

 People respond to other people’s sick stories. We sympathise, we learn from them. We’ve been hearing about swine flu for the last 3 months, we’ve heard about it in the news, we all know someone who knows someone who has it. We talk about it, we spread the word. Complimentary to the horrible virus that it is, we spread the word virally. The value of its WOM (https://theinfluentials.wordpress.com/2009/08/26/wom-en/) is much more than any media campaign can add.  While my particular symptoms might not be contagious my WOM certainly is.

Philippa. (acchhuu)

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