Email & Viral Marketing

Viral Marketing At Its Best

In a small, rural village near Malaga a huge viral marketing success came about. Jesús Rodríguez is the lead singer of a "Rustic Rock Band" called El Koala and who's mainly being doing gigs in and around Malaga (much of it for the past 20 years). He tried, without success, to get one of the record labels in Madrid to sign him up but they weren't really interested in a guy whose music and lyrics is firmly routed in the country.

Well, it looks like he's going to have the last laugh as his song, 'Opá, yo viacé un corrá' (literally Dad, I'm going to build a farm), is in all the record shops, is likely to be the hit of summer and he is the new rock celebrity, being invited onto all the major TV shows. What's also interesting is that the song is not song even in Castellano but in the dialect of his region.

And all this success can be attributed to a simple video clip that he made over 3 afternoons at his friends' farm. The clip was uploaded to the Internet (you can find it on You Tube and Google Video)  and traffic was generated through emails and people blogging about it.

The current number of downloads for the song is over 3 million and people are even starting to make their own video versions of it. And what's more - this song is likely to run and run for the next few months as we head into summer. I have even come across a website where the lyrics are tranlsated into Shakespearean and Rap English and a version of it with George Bush puppits (and telling his dad he's going to invade Iraq!).

Take Part In an Online Survey and $25 Will Go To Charity

Last week I wrote an article about how the Business Development Institute was conducting an online survey on behalf of the City of Amsterdam. In return for taking part in the survey, the City of Amsterdam would donate $25 to a charity called A Little Hope. Here's what the charity does:

A Little HOPE is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation which grants funds in order to provide grief counseling and bereavement support services to children and teens who have experienced the loss of a parent or loved one, regardless of the circumstances of the death.

Well, after an email follow-up from Steve Etzler of BDI, I would like to invite readers to participate in the survey - don't forget that for filling out the 2-minute (or less) survey, $25 will be donated to charity.

And one more thing, please provide a link to the survey from your own websites.

How to Get People to Complete Online Surveys

Boy! The number of times that I get asked to fill in an online survey every week. Well, today I got an email from the Business Development Institute inviting me to take part in an online survey for the City of Amsterdam but with a difference. This time I was told that for taking part in the Online Survey $25 would be donated by the City of Amsterdam to a charity called A Little Hope which:

provide grief counseling and bereavement support services to children
and teens who have experienced the loss of a parent or loved one

How could I refuse?

This is the script they used to hook me:

Business Development Institute is conducting a brief online survey on behalf of The City of Amsterdam
. The objective of the survey is to determine your interest level in
global expansion opportunities. This can range from expanding your
company's operations to lower cost locations, to growing your revenues
by tapping into overseas markets. As a way to say thank you for your
time, the City of Amsterdam will donate $25 to A Little Hope charity upon completion of the survey.

This is a great idea - it's a win win prospect for all. The City of Amsterdam gets higher participation from a targeted audience, the City of Hope gets more funds, BDI generates revenue for its business and people like me just feel good!

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Some Pearls of Wisdom from Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki's blog has some very sound advice on the Art of Branding. I particularly like this one, which John Winsor also quotes:

Focus on PR, not advertising. Many companies waste
away millions of dollars trying to establish brands with advertising.
When it comes to branding, too much money is worse than too little
because when you have a lot of money, you spend a lot of money on
stupid things like Super Bowl commercials. Brands are built on what
people are saying about you, not what you're saying about yourself.
People say good things about you when (a) you have a great product and
(b) you get people to spread the word about it.

I think he's spot on here and so many companies are missing the opportunity, especially with the advent of the latest technology - blogs, RSS, podcasts, etc - to engage their clients. Co-creation, the partnership of customer and marketer, will certainly gain momentum over the coming year and marketers had better pay attention.

I like the way that Hugh Macleod puts it:

Whatever business you're in, your product's success or failure is going to become more and more dependant on "sneezers"
like me. We are not going away. We are getting more viral by the day,
while other ways of spreading ideas- TV, newspapers etc- are becoming
less effective by the day.

Madrid Tapas Parade – a Good Example of Online PR and Viral Marketing

If you don't already know, I have another weblog which is focused on offering useful advice and infromation for people visiting Madrid - it is called Mad About Madrid. Just before Christmas I received an invitation from a business in Madrid asking for help in promoting their new "Tapas Parade" service:

"My name is Andrés and I am one of the guys who run La Taperia de la Abuela a great restaurant situated in my favorite spot in Old Madrid. We are launching a new product - Madrid Tapas Parade and we want to spend the promotional money in having people talking about us instead of the usual advertisement thing. I think it would be great to throw one of our Tapas Parade parties for the people who run blogs about Madrid/Spain (for free of course and friends welcomed too). I think it would be a great chance for you to know each other (if you don´t yet), for us to meet you and for the Tapas Parade to take its first step into the web world."

Simple! Yet a very neat way to get their message out to a wide audience. Considering that typical costs of the Madrid Tapas Parade range from 19-24 Euros, this is a very cost effective way of advertising their service. Mad About Madrid receives around 450-500 visitors a day with some links getting upwards of 150 clicks per month. When you factor in all other Madrid-related blogs that may well write about the Madrid Tapas Parade experience, it certainly looks like blog promotion could be a very efficient tool, indeed.

Given that the website hasn't been picked up by Google yet, you also have the added value of relevant links (from Madrid-related sites) coming in from sites which have good PR's on Google. This should result in the site in the site being indexed a bit more quickly by the search engines.

I just can't wait now to meet up with the guys at Madrid Tapas Parade; sample their culinary delights and blog about it.

Open Source Marketing is Coming to a Brand Near You

FirefoxflicksOpen Source Marketing has gathered quite a momentum over the past year. Open Source Marketing, in essence, means allowing your customers to interact much more with your products/services. It means freeflow of dialogue with customers and far more openness - often with customers involved in the creation of PR, Marketing and WOm activities. Here are some interesting examples of Open Source Marketing that I have come across:

  • Spread Firefox does it brilliantly through their Firefox Flicks. Interestingly, you will see that some Advertising Agencies are contributing, too.
  • Seth Godin has recently invited people to submit their own ads for his latest book (100% of the royalties will go to charity) which will feature on MSN's homepage for free. The winner will have their ad displayed and will be credited as the designer.

On a similar tack, John Moore over at Brand Autopsy, writes about the devoted Trekkies who have created their own episodes of Star Trek.

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More on Open Source Marketing
Open Source Marketing is the Future - Pass It On (Micropersausion)
Firefox Flicks: Open Source Marketing? (Firefox)
Open Source Marketing (Johnnie Moore)
Open Source Marketing (Clickz)
What Is Open Source Marketing?

Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah from Virgin Mobile


Here's some festive Christmas fun from Virgin Mobile.

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The High Cost of War in Iraq


This is a picture which was doing the rounds in April of last year (somehow I missed it), but remains as sad now (probably sadder!) as it did then. If you can't see, the image is made up 700 photographs (each used twice) of dead US personnel from the Iraq war. Over a year and a half later that figure, according to Michael Moore's website, stands at 2128 - much the same as the Anti-War site (2127).

The original images come from American Leftist.

Source: Photomatt

The Rise and Rise of the Million Dollar Homepage Guy


How often do you think, wow! I wish I'd thought of that one? The Million Dollar Homepage is just one such example and it started like this:

I had this little idea the other day. I was trying to think of interesting ways to make some cash before going to Uni (which is in about a month's time) and somehow this crazy thought entered my head: I'll try and make a million dollars, by selling 1,000,000 pixels, for $1 each.

And so 'The Million Dollar Homepage' is born...

The website was launched back in August when Alex Tew decided that he would try to make a few bucks before he went to University (Nottingham). Here's a brief breakdown of the past few months:

Friday 26th Aug 2005

Site Launches

Monday 29th Aug 2005

"Wow! Today I sold my first pixels: 400 of them. That's $400."

Thursday 8th Sep

"Today things really moved up a gear. I've absolutely, definitely got enough for some swanky new socks: $2500 in the bank today."

Wednesday, 14th Sept

"At last count, I've sold over 10,000 pixels today and yesterday alone. The stats are going through the roof, I've got hundreds of e-mails to answer, and for the first time ever in my life, last night I fell asleep AT MY DESK!!"

Sunday, 18th Sept

"Well thanks to the awesome power of word-of-mouth, I've now sold enough
pixels to cover the entire cost of my forthcoming 3 years at
University! Which, if you want the figures, is approx. £20,000 GBP
($37,000 USD)."

Thursday, 22nd Sept

"I'm currently working through a massive 30,000 pixel backlog (yes - I've broken through the 100k barrier!) and once that's completed I've got over a thousand e-mails to get through. Plus I've got to get to Uni on Sunday!"

Sunday, 2nd Oct

"...only 700 pixels away from 250,000! It doesn't feel like I'm making real money, more like monoply money. But it is real... US$250k in 38 days is unbelievable."

Wednesday, 19th Oct

"Got some exciting news! I will be going to the USA for a week in November for a whole load of press and media stuff. I will be visiting NYC, LA, San Francisco and Chicago,


Finally, for UK folks, you can watch me being interviewed live on BBC Breakfast, which is on BBC One tomorrow"

Monday, 24th Oct

I heard there are now over 350 copycat sites based on my advertising-by-the-pixel idea - and that number is growing every day.

Wednesday, 26th Oct

"Wowoooaagggggh!! Just reached (and passed) a major milestone: half-a-million dollars! I literally cannot believe I am writing this. I've run out of superlatives. I've used them all. But this is immense! The 'pixels sold' number is now bigger than the 'available' number. Woah!"

Friday, 4th November

"Thanks to the person who told me that if you type in "a brilliant idea" (with or without the quotes) into Google it comes up with my site."

Monday ,14th Nov

"Big Day in The Big Apple! Woah! Today was BIG. The day started around 7:30am in the hotel room with a couple of radio interviews over the phone, including one broadcast live to Columbia. Cool. We then hooked up with ABC News Radio for a spot that will go out to 3,500 radio stations across the US."

Monday, 28th Nov

"70% millionaire

Hit the 700,000 pixel mark today... awesome! Feels like the million mark is within reach. I'm still in a state of disbelief.
Actually, it's not disbelief, it's just a sense that what is happening is well beyond normality. I'm sure the day will come soon, when this whole crazy adventure finally sinks in..."

This is quite some journey that Alex Tew has been on in the space of a few short months. He will hit his $1 million target shortly but what's telling is the way the market has reacted to this novel idea. The Million Dollar Homepage has now spawned over 350 copycat sites but none will come anywhere near the success of this one - they will all fail.

The curious thing about this venture is that most of the links seem to be to those sites which you will usually find in your spam filter - for webcams, casinos and the like - though, I did see The Times in there. Anyway, I say good luck to Alex Tew - wish I'd had that idea! I wonder how long it is before he jacks in University.