Sunday, November 28, 2010

Viral Schmiral

Pillow Pets. Apparently, our daughter saw one -- and I mean one -- TV commercial for the things and is now obsessed with getting one for Christmas. She saw one ad. One. And it wasn't even at our house -- just happened to catch it on TV at Grandma's house.

Folks fond of the intertubes like to say that it was the Internet that invented viral marketing. Not so. Our daughter caught the Pullow Pets bug from one isolated television commercial and a chance placement of a handful of Pillow Pets on an end cap at Wal-Mart. So don't tell me the viral concept is new. Or that it started with television.

I listen to a lot of old-time radio. One of my favorite shows is "Fibber McGee and Molly." their sponsor was Johnson Wax, makers of "Self-Polishing Glo-Coat," a floor wax Fibber and Molly plugged incessantly when the show's narrator Harlo Wilcox wasn't doing it himself. I recently listened to a show where the plot revolved around removing a spot on the floor, and the increasingly antic antics the pair go through in trying to get it cleaned up. Of course the punchline of the entire half-hour episode is that Johnson Wax has a product that'll take care of the McGees' little problem.

we today would see through that obvious ad ploy, and not put up with it, right? Right? Because we're so much more aware of advertising and much more media savvy these days, since we cast off the onions tied to our belts and stopped saying things like "Gimme five bees for a quarter," right?

They were too, you know. Once, with Harlo hawking his wares, Fibber McGee and Molly poke fun at the so-called integrated commercial:

Fibber: Watch him pour it out.

Molly: Listen to him spread it around.

They -- and their listeners -- were savvy enough for me.

So viral advertising and the cleverness we think we are the masters of today is old hat. Because I can make just as much fun of the commercial for the product mentioned in my mobile device blogging signature as Fibber McGee and Molly can poke at Harlo and his ridiculous wax.

- Posted using my iPod Touch, like a pretentious pseudosnob.

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