October 03, 2005

Reproductive Marketing

Viral marketing is disgusting. Nothing proves just what a cesspool the world of marketing is better then the way they picked up the term and made it their own so lovingly. When Rushkoff first coined the term it was a critique, the viruses where supposed to infect the media carriers, undermine them. Of course the situation quickly flipped, the marketers got themselves inoculated and got busy trying to infect consumers.

In practice viral marketing consists of content so insanely stupid that people pass it around saying "can you believe someone paid to make this crap!" Chickens and dancing hamsters and a bunch of other stuff you'll remember about as well as that nasty cold you caught back in the winter of 98. Yeah, remember that one, it was great wasn't it? To be a viral marketer must be worse then being a hollywood player, not only are you only are only as good as your last hit, but your last hit (and all the others) are rapidly revealing to the world what crap they are... Thank god we have elections every couple years to hire all these failed viral marketers, if they don't keep jobs I think they all turn into spammers pretty quickly.

What marketing really needs is reproductive marketing. Instead of spreading by infection these are marketing campaigns that have sex with each other, spawning new campaigns that demand excessive attention, force the creators to go home early, suck up loads of cash in tuition, and then turn into teenagers are rebel against their creators. That would be useful marketing, no? If we get lucky we'll get some real Oedipus campaigns that actually rise up and kill the people that create them...

Posted by William Blaze at October 3, 2005 06:37 PM | TrackBack

In a way, APIs are a kind of reproductive marketing, inviting others to repurpose and remix information, in turn creating something entirely new.

Posted by: Noah Brier on October 3, 2005 10:18 PM

yes indeed they, although I was hoping to save that for a more serious post... big difference though is of course intelligence, Despite all appearances to the contrary, programmers aren't nearly as smart as marketers... With APIs they can reproductively market to each other, and just possibly kill their daddies (you know those paid software companies that actually pay salaries) in the process. But in darwinian terms they are a bit of an isolated population, no?

Posted by: Abe on October 3, 2005 11:08 PM

At the moment they're absolutely a bit of an isolated population. But I wonder if the future doesn't hold something different. Just looking at RSS as a kind of API (after all it is a bit of fairly raw data being served up), all of a sudden the laymen (like myself) has the ability to play with the information in new ways. I feel like this Steven Johnson article describing web 2.0 as a rainforest (www.discover.com/issues/oct-05/departments/emerging-technology/) begins to speak to that.

Also, wasn't sure if was supposed to have taken offense to the 'disgusting' link, but did want to mention I noticed it (not surprisingly it's how I ended up here). So, are you agreeing with my problem with the term 'viral' or was the article 'disgusting'?

Posted by: Noah Brier on October 4, 2005 12:02 AM

the article was rather good, putting the link on the disgusting was a bit overboard, the whole little post is over the top flippant and that's probably where I lost the ship completely... All apologies, the article was the jumping off ground for the post, it deserves a better linking phrase.

And while I'm in clarification mode, I don't really think marketers are smarter then programmers. I have a love/hate relationship with both groups, and they have their own specific geniuses and tragic flaws. That and I've done both activities in my life...

As for APIs I've written about them in the past, and will in the future again, but don't have the time to really do it right now. Short answer, there is something there, but it might not be as pretty as promised..

Posted by: Abe on October 4, 2005 12:22 AM

No worries, I can respect your disgust with viral marketing, although it may not have come out completely, the article was supposed to be a wake up call to marketers who all try to emulate one stupid chicken. The message I meant to convey was that anything can be 'viral,' and trying to create something based on some set of rules (like it needs to having a dancing fat kid with a lightsaber in a chicken suit), is useless (but unfortunately something marketers are thinking about every day).

With that said, I think there's something to the idea of reproductive marketing. I've been thinking a lot about feedback loops lately, and it fits in nicely.

Also, have I mentioned I really hate hearing about subservient chicken?

Posted by: Noah Brier on October 4, 2005 12:44 AM

I've just been contracted to come up with viral marketing ideas. I've been a bit of a programmer, too, so I guess I fit in nicely with both love/hate groups of yours.

What's so frustrating to me is that viral marketing can't be held by the confines of a target audience, yet it seems that ad agencies try to define their consumers anyway. Oh, and this is the second time I've been hired under the premise of creating something like the chicken--as if this type of marketing could just be bottled. If that was the case, every agency would be selling the same successful formula.
Oh, and coincidentally, I don't sleep at night. I work.

Anyway, on reproductive marketing, it sounds to me like reproductive marketing is that point in which we are using a brand to reinforce our own individuality. That's when the marketers can rely on us to market them.

Posted by: Rich Hauck on October 4, 2005 04:32 AM
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