Paul Makepeace ;-)

October 7, 2004

"Virally Yours", Cybersalon - aftermath

Posted in: Events

Right after Pillow fighting I sprinted over to the Dana Centre (part of the Science Museum) for a debate about viral marketing, pros and cons, insights into media spending, different approaches of marketing, and so on. I got to speak too :)

Groovy venue

I enjoyed being in the space, it has a quirky colorful quasi-basement feel to it with molded plastic chairs and good quality projectors on opposing walls. Lewis Sykes and Markus Grupp both came across as genuine and caring about what they do, and that was apparent from the way the evening was conducted. Technically, the mic'ed presenters were clear and I think the general format worked well. It was my first time there and I'll definitely be back.

Iffy debate

The content of the debate itself I think really could've used some work; the terms weren't clear (what is viral marketing?) and discussions were often muddied by this underlying unsureness, sometimes to the point of the presenters who really should've known better making errors (e.g. blog comment spam being viral marketing - it's not, it's a pure invasive push/broadcast one-to-many technology). The speakers came across quite stodgily commercial. Not that there's anything wrong with being commercial, I think it would've balanced the claims that you need a $250m budget to conduct a viral marketing campaign by having some of us grassroots events organiser talk about zero budget promotion. (I did go into a monolog at one point on this when I was supposed to be asking a question-from-the-floor ;-)

There was essentially no discussion of trust, corporate social responsibilty (surprising since that is a buzzword..), how campaigns could generate a net benefit to society. There is enormous opportunity here to break how people perceive companies and corporate communications.

Circle Line Party Marketing Strategy

I also had the pleasure of presenting to a group after the debate about how the Circle Line Party "marketed' itself using various "channels" (i.e. a bloody big mailing list with a great idea). Showed folks around the site, told stories, chatted about ethics (we're openly pro respect, clean up, be nice), and went through a web log which turned out quite fun - seeing spikes of interest in April and August, who's looking at what, referrals from search engines for "naked men" amongst others.

Thanks to Pete last night for some great ideas which I fed into the talk

Public party perceptions

We met up with Pippa and her guy (sorry, didn't get the name) of Reclaim the Beach (I'm not actually sure this is them), both fully engaged in their passion. Their operation is of a different order to CLP (much bigger, more complex); and it was interesting to see how the public treats and views them versus us. We have near total cooperation from our revellers cleaning up etc to the extent I almost feel like I'm on E there is so much mutual support at CLP events, whereas Pippa was describing her frustration at being given attitude by folks at RTB when asked to clear up and generally help. Engaging discussion on why this is, partly size, partly audience accreted over time. I can't help feeling their commercial nature too, however well intentioned and executed, will be the source of much of this. There is a whole context of interaction one automatically shifts into when dealing with particular forms of bodies. With commercial operations one goes into almost a pathetic state of righteous entitlement and absolution of responsibilities: "we're paying so you clear up". Which of course with even superficial examination is self-defeating: the costs go to the consumer, i.e. pick up your own shit and your event will be cheaper (duh). It's sad that I'm making this argument from a rational economic point of view rather than a spiritual ethical; societally we're still very early in developing a listening for that. Our organizations we form (CLP, RTB, etc) can help re-mold this gap I think. Definitely worth further exploration.

A bunch of folks decamped to a nearby pub and continued the chat... Obvious people were making new friends both at the event and pub. Overall thoroughly enjoyable!

Posted by Paul Makepeace at October 7, 2004 01:27 | TrackBack
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