Years ago a militant group of Palestinians injected 5 Israeli oranges with Mercury.
Then they took those oranges and placed them in different supermarkets around the UK.
Word spread like wildfire.
People stopped buying Israeli oranges.
Nobody wanted to take the chance of giving their family an orange laced with mercury.
The result was out of all proportion to the stimulus.
The economy of Israel was seriously affected.
Oranges were a major export.
It was a viral campaign, created by word of mouth.
Years before the expression ‘viral campaign’ existed.
Similarly, I once heard a joke from an American friend.
“A tramp goes into the park and sits next to an elderly, prim, matronly lady.
He takes a swig of his bottle of booze, and says, “Wanna drink?”
She shudders and moves further away, along the bench.
He picks up a half eaten sandwich off the floor.
He says, “Wanna bite.”
She grimaces, gets up and walks away.
The tramp says, “I suppose a fuck’s out of the question?”
It was funny joke so I told some other people.
They told some other people, and so on.
Pretty soon everyone knew this joke.
And although the joke itself was too rude to be repeated in the mass media, the endline crops up everywhere.
TV, radio, newspapers, films, conversations.
“I suppose a (fill in the blank) is out of the question.”
That’s how a viral campaign works.
Word of mouth.
In advertising, how you always know you’ve got a good slogan is when it gets into the language.
Each time that happens it’s free advertising.
The best ads work like that, generating free OTS.
You actually use the paid-for media to trigger lots of word-of-mouth advertising you aren’t paying for.
That’s what a great advertising line like “DOES EXACTLY WHAT IT SAYS ON THE TIN” can do
It can get into the language.
You can turn the population of the UK into little units that repeat your message, and pass it on.
Advertising was truly viral, decades before the term was coined.
One advertising slogan I remember from when I was a little kid in East London.
It was for a brand of orange squash called Jubbly.
It was sold in tetrapack cartons from the fridge in everyone’s local sweetshop.
The advertising slogan was “Lubbly Jubbly”
Ring any bells?