Typing Faster

July 21, 2009

Do you remember Sargasso Planet?: Viral marketing and NBC’s “Day One”

Filed under: Alternate Reality Games, Marketing, Stuff I Like, the biz — petertypingfaster @ 11:29 am

Back in the days of yore, advertising, like so much else, was relatively straight forward. Studios and Networks would put up billboards, buy radio and tv spots, and have their actors appear on Leno and Letterman.

Then things started to change. Things went viral.

The definition of viral marketing that I keep coming back to goes a little something like this:

Viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message’s exposure and influence.

Really when we’re talking about viral marketing we’re just talking about the digital version of good old “word-of-mouth” advertising. Creating an internet buzz if you will.

Which brings me to NBC’s latest attempt to promote their new show Day One.

So what’s NBC doing to promote Day One? They’ve launched a website. Sargasso Planet. Go and take a look, then come on back.

Back? Alright.

Doesn’t it look like a steaming pile of crap? Zack Adamski is, of course, one of the characters from the show, but for someone who’s web-savvy enough to be starting his own P2P company, he sure doesn’t have much in the way of web design chops.

Even worse than the design feeling dated, the whole “character-pretending-to-be-a-real-person” marketing strategy feels incredibly dated. Isn’t it time that viral marketing moved in a new direction?

Why couldn’t they have done something like Year Zero? And if you don’t know what Year Zero is, you need to click on that link like right freaking now.

Sure it would have been more expensive than slapping together a fake myspace website from 1998, but think of how much more engaged your audience would be? The thing about this style of marketing is that you’re not hitting a wide base, you’re just preaching to the choir. The people that are going to invest the time to find fake sites, and check out fictitious things like “Sargasso Planet,” aren’t your suburban soccer wives, they’re the hardcore nerdfighters. To impress these guys, to suck them in, you need to do more.

It’s time to take viral marketing to the next level. Let’s see what you got.


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