Posted by: Burth Helm on January 29, 2007
Are we at a point where buzz and word-of-mouth marketing trumps absolutely everything? Last summer I wrote a quick story about Mini’s new ad campaign, which targets existing owners in order to generate buzz and make everyone else jealous. Now the company is kicking it up a notch. Look out for a set of new billboards that literally greet Mini drivers, and give everyone else the cold shoulder.
The technology works like an EZ Pass: Owners receive a special RFID tag by mail, stick it in their cars, and then drive by the billboard to trigger a response. This strikes me as a great way to build brand loyalty among owners and generate a little word-of-mouth on blogs like this one, or at the least between the Mini driver and his non-owner friend sitting shotgun.
But I’ve got to ask – does this billboard mean anything to the masses of drivers who haven’t yet bought a Mini and don’t get to see a message? And will our children someday ask us about the days when traditional ads weren’t just designed to get people talking, but actually tried to sell you something?
And one more question: anyone else impressed by the legacy of Wayne’s World? That movie came out, like, 15 years ago. Advertisers are still quoting and referencing it like it’s cool.