Does this ever happen to you? You’re hanging out with some friends and one of them starts raving about their favorite snack food you just have to try?
Unless I’m asking my husband to pick them up at the store, there really isn’t much to say about snack foods even if I love them.
There’s just something about a bunch of uniformed guys bursting into someone’s home with a giant vacuum called the Snack-x-tracktor to suck up the bad snacks.
Two thumbs up to Tostitos for a funny commercial aligned perfectly with their brand. But a funny commercial is not enough these days to turn customers into fans who can’t stop talking about you.
Turning customers into fans these days means going “all out.” For this Tostitos campaign going “all out” means a fictitious business, a hotline number, an SMS service, and a website to extend its reach.
And mobile is the connective tissue.
A Fun Commercial for a Party Brand
If you’re not familiar with Tostitos chips and salsa, they’re a surefire winner to bring to a casual party. They’re easy to prepare (open bag, open salsa jar, place next to each other, voilà) they won’t break the bank, and just about everybody will eat them.
On the flipside, the party in the commercial is miserable, because nobody brought any Tostitos. So O’Hare Party Repair, “Certified Tostitos Chip and Dip Installers,” shows up to save the party with Tostitos.
The commercial is pretty funny on its own, enough to make someone want to share a YouTube link with a friend.
But Tostitos takes it a step further by giving their customers a way to look cool and impress their friends – while they’re on the go.
Social Currency + Mobile = Easy to Share Word-of-Mouth on the Go
Note the telephone number in the ad, 855-94-PARTY. You bet I called it! Select a menu option and receive an SMS or text message that will fix your party problem.
I chose “party foul cards” and received a mobile-friendly link to cards like “Selfie Self Obsession” and “Cologne Overload.” I have the option to share the card with the offender via Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. The responsive design of the main website for O’Hare Party Repair is also mobile-friendly.
There are two parts to this approach that make it successful. First of all, according to this New Yorker interview with Jonah Berger, author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On, a campaign like this creates social currency. Social currency is “something that makes people feel that they’re not only smart but in the know…[when you have] ability to pass it on and riff on it shows that you understand.”
So with Tostitos O’Hare Party Repair setup, I have access to funny, exclusive content I want to share with friends because by extension it makes me look cool and funny.
The second part of the approach makes it easy for someone to display their insider status/share with a friend. All of this content is viewable and shareable on mobile. All I need is my smartphone to impress my friends.
Other Brands That Win at Electronic Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Tostitos isn’t the first company to create this kind of campaign. AMC’s hit TV show Breaking Bad built this website for the show’s popular character, Attorney “Better Call Saul!” Saul Goodman.
Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign, featuring man’s man (and ladies’ man) Isaiah Mustafa, was wildly popular. Now Old Spice is bringing the character back and, like Tostitos, taking it one step further. The new online campaign “hides Old Spice ads behind nine hilarious websites for fake products” as described in this Business Insider article.
Show too much interest in Serious Pulse, a cologne with 24g of protein per spray, or the Illegal Neck Workout Machine, and a buzzer sounds, the site falls away and Mustafa pops up in a video to make fun of you (and point you in the smarter direction of buying Old Spice products).
Funny enough on its own. But then you want to prank your friends, too.
Electronic Word-of-Mouth On a Budget
You don’t need to have the big budgets of Tostitos and Old Spice to amplify your reach. Here are a couple of free services that can get you started:
- Weebly is an easy website builder using the freemium model. Check out the Weebly site showcase to see what’s possible.
- Google Voice offers a free telephone number. Sign up with your Google account and connect it to a real telephone number. You can record your own answer message and receive transcripts of calls. I’m not as familiar with this service, VoiceShot, but you can create a hotline number with menu options. Downside: it’s not free forever, and while the Ripoff Report doesn’t like it, the Better Business Bureau rates it an A-.
Does your brand lend itself to an fun, interactive extension like Tostitos, Saul Goodman, and Old Spice? Who else have you seen do this right?