Anatomy of a Successful Viral Marketing Campaign
We haven’t blogged since October 29, 2009, but there have been good reasons for our silence. Over the past 5 months the systems group, with help from our good friends in public services, worked fiendishly to get our local implementation of the VuFind Next Generation Catalog LouFind out the door, and most recently have been engaged in clandestine operations to launch a viral marketing campaign to generate positive LouFind buzz on campus.
Our campaign involved a 3-pronged approach to spreading the LouFind message.
- Members of the LouFind team infiltrated student social hotspots on campus and planted our message directly in the ears of the students.
- Usdan Game Room – one of our team hustled students at pool, betting them that LouFind was way more rad than Louis
- Cholmondeley’s – one team member performed several acoustic songs extolling the wonders of LouFind and another performed a spoken-word piece reviling Louis for its lameness.
- The post office – we bribed a mailroom clerk to pepper his conversations with phrases like “Louis is lame” and “LouFind rocks.”
- Shuttle to Cambridge – a team member surfed LouFind on her iPhone and exclaimed frequently and loudly about how wonderful the experience was.
- Sherman Dining Hall – disguised as students, LTS staff took over the dining hall. We held a sit in for two and a half days until campus administration agreed to issue a statement that “Louis is bogus” and “LouFind is way cool.” Our demand for more chicken wings was not as successful.
- We placed hidden speakers in the InfoCommons that broadcast “LouFind is da bomb!” and “Louis is bogus” messages at frequencies only detectable by people under 30.
- We placed subliminal messages in Louis screens that instilled in users an overwhelming desire to switch to LouFind.
You may have witnessed the astonishing success of our campaign. Undergrads were fighting over InfoCommons seats so they could use LouFind. Students maxed out their text message plans sending themselves Call Numbers. Copies of our LouFind table tents were stolen from the library and sold on eBay for hundreds of dollars. Campus Health Center reported a dramatic upswing in number of carpal tunnel complaints from students who couldn’t stop clicking through facets. Jonathan Coulton even wrote a song about LouFind.
Yours in bibliographic espionage,
– Mata Hari