Amid allegations of fraud and misuse, on August 14th Starbucks put the kibosh on Johnathan’s Card, the latest social-phenomenon to ignite the Internet. Working on the long-held, but woefully infrequent practice of ‘paying it forward,’ Johnathan’s Card allowed folks across the country to utilize Jonathan Stark’s Starbucks card to buy each other a cup of coffee. As drinks were purchased, the account was drained and replenished by its users and the available funds updated in real-time via Johnathan’s Twitter handle: @JohnathansCard. The coffee conglomerate was silently rooting for the endeavor to succeed, but unfortunate circumstances forced their hand in canceling the account. Albeit short-lived, this thought-provoking experiment was a testament to the global impact of social networking, and how far-reaching the Internet’s information-rich tentacles can truly be.
By far, the best example of viral Internet marketing is Old Spice’s ‘Mano A Mano in El Baño’ campaign. The ‘Old Spice Guy’ answering Twitter users’ random questions in the form of a personalized commercial on YouTube cemented Old Spice as ahead of the curve in employing the web for marketing and brand recognition. Personally, I found myself ignoring all other products on the deodorant aisle and heading straight for the Old Spice. When an ad campaign compels you to purchase a product simply because you appreciate the commercials, someone in the PR department is doing it right.
The fact of the matter is that the game has changed. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media websites have turned the advertising game on its head and shifted the way we all conduct business. Gone are the days of supermarket circulars and cold-calling. Obsolete and arbitrary are many of the practices once considered the standard in the world of sales and marketing. Your prime objective should be widespread visibility, and in terms of crafting your brand and name-notoriety, the old way of doing things simply doesn’t suffice.
Focus on your social-media footprint and maximizing your online presence. Make a mental note that you are the artisan of your own future successes and profitability, and take advantage of every possible avenue for enhancing exposure. We are waist-deep in previously uncharted waters in terms of publicity, and the possibilities are virtually endless. Don’t wait for the ship to sail: take a cue from Johnathan Stark and Old Spice and dive right in.
PR/PR Public Relations