Today: “Sock and awe” game’s a big hit!

 > The Situation:
A few week’s ago US Prez George Bush dodged a leathery bullet—when a young Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at him during a press conference.  Bad news for the journalist (still in jail). Good news for internet marketer Fubra World in England. Within hours of the shoe pitch, Fubra’s programmers posted a brand new game on the internet called “Seven days of sock and awe,” in which visitors get a chance to throw shoes at W in a world wide competition to see who scores the most hits. Brilliant. Brilliant.

 > The Idea:
The idea is an advertising term called “hitchhiking.” In this case hitchhiking on a huge media event witnessed (via television) by hundreds of millions around the world. Fubra launched the game with a viral marketing email campaign (using what we call “word of mouse”)—sending out the url for the special website and inviting recipients to pass it on. On its first day, the game attracted 370,000 players. Next day: 1.1 million. The following day: 4.5 million. Within three days, over 50 million shoes were thrown. Reuters was all over the story, as were other media all over the world. And. A whole new wave of visitors were exposed to Fubra the company—and to the work they do in publishing internet guides on everything you can imagine in England. (Did I say brilliant?)

 > The Risk:

Dubbya’s approval rating (about 27%) may be the lowest of any US president in history. But. That means twenty seven percent still support him. And they could be peeved at this spoof of their guy. My advice in a case like this? Do it anyway. Just be sure it’s fun. (And maybe try to ensure that your ideal customers aren’t among those who would disapprove—just to be safe).

 > The Reward:

I thought a shoe company was behind the game (so logical) but, as always, it’s obvious that anyone can do this type of promotion. And look at the payback!!!

 > The Call to Action:

Careful now. The tendency is to give this a chuckle, and then just wave it off. But this kind of creative, off the wall stunt is getting easier and easier for anyone to do. Go to the website. Right now. (We’ll wait for you). And look at the game (hey, while you’re there why not throw a shoe or two?). Think about how simple it would be to construct this. You’d hire a couple of high school or university students to put it together. You’d send out an email to everyone you know, both business and personal. You’d put the video on YouTube. You’d alert everyone on Facebook. (if you were on Facebook), and away you’d go. Yes, “you” could actually do this. In fact you’d be a shoe-in. See ya tomorra.

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