Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What is 230? Marketing Evolution

GM's attempt at a "viral" marketing campaign - coined "What is 230" - is just the latest corporate attempt to seize upon the internet and it's ability to rapidly disseminate information. Other recent attempts featured Twentieth Century Fox's scheme to market it's now failed motion picture "I Love you Beth Cooper". This ploy involved an under-the-table cash transaction between Fox and the valedictorian of a local Los Angeles high school, in which the GPA champion was enticed into blurting out her "love" for a classmate during the standard commencement speech. In case you don't "get it", the point was to create buzz about the studio's upcoming movie, which featured a scene similar to that re-enacted in real life.

Although these marketing techniques would appear to be attempts to capitalize on the ubiquity of internet communication these days, they are also a necessity. Most of us are sick of commercials on television; I personally avoid them as much as possible, a goal easily accomplished by paying an extra $10 a month for DVR service. Product placements also piss me off, as they insult my intelligence and clog up my favorite programs with camera shots that freeze on a corporate logo.

As for GM's "What is 230" campaign, there is little doubt it will be criticized and ridiculed beyond recognition across the internet. It will be labeled a failure. However, in some sort of perverse way, GM has succeeded in creating buzz about the ridiculous headline that it's new product - the Chevy Volt - will achieve 230mpg. Always a skeptic though, I have to point out a footnote on GM's Volt website, which states:
"The EPA procedure for plug-in vehicles, which is still being finalized, assumes a single charge each day".

The question is, after the EPA revises the Volt's mpg estimate downwards, will GM just roll out a new marketing campaign? Perhaps "What is 197"? Sphere: Related Content

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