The power of word-of-mouth promotion

by Gordon on Monday 5th December, 2011

During November, animated film ‘Puss in Boots’ topped the North American box office.  The 3D prequel to the Shrek series of films, with Antonio Banderas repeating his role as the voice of the swashbuckling feline, took around $70 million in its first two weeks of ticket sales.

As box office takings typically decline at least 40% after a debut weekend, the success of Puss in Boots came as a surprise to industry watchers.  ‘This is unexpectedly great news. I really think it’s driven by strong word-of-mouth and critic and fan momentum,’ said Anne Globe of Dreamworks, the producers of the film. (BBC, 7th November 2011)

The power of word-of-mouth is something that Red Bull, the popular energy drinks company, has used extensively since the product was launched in the 1980s.  This approach to ‘pull marketing’ relies on consumers getting excited about Red Bull products and spreading the work to family and friends.  Red Bull’s promotional and marketing activities focus on delivering innovative experiences such as the Red Bull Flugtag, the Red Bull X-Fighters and the Red Bull Cliff Diving in order to increase consumer engagement and create a lasting impression.  This large-scale type of event attracts global media coverage and raises brand awareness of the product.

The Red Bull Wings Teams are a key method of launching products into new markets.  By hiring groups of students to go out and talk to consumers, they help to create interest in the product which consumers will share with other people.

The progressive approach to marketing and promotion can be more difficult to measure return on investment than traditional advertising methods.  Although sales figures are a key measure, Red Bull relies on social media channels, for example, the frequency of blog comments about Red Bull products or the number of twitter followers and Facebook ‘likes’, to identify the effectiveness of its promotions.

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