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Trendspot: Peripheral Marketing

Marketers love big events. Whether it’s a big game like the Super Bowl, or a holiday specifically fabricated for marketing reasons, like Valentine’s Day, these themes offer a marketing opportunity hard to resist.  Usually, this means that most events are very crowded when it comes to marketing messages.  As a result, it’s tough to stand out.  When you are having a sale on the same day as everyone else, you are forced to compete on the same terms as them.  There is a technique that I have seen being used a few times over the past few weeks that offers an interesting alternative by focusing on being "peripheral" to the big event that every other marketer is focused on.

Imb_hbo_breakfastinbed2_2 My colleagues at Ogilvy just launched a campaign that fits this category for a new Honey Bunches of Oats cereal with chocolate pieces.  It features a fake band called "Dawn’s Early Knights" singing a boy-band pop song called "I Made You Breakfast In Bed."  Here’s the video:

Instead of focusing on Valentine’s Day itself, the campaign is all about the morning after Valentines, on February 15th.  It is extended online by a Facebook group, a Flickr gallery and a campaign website.  This is also a technique that got several brands significant buzz around the Super Bowl without forcing them to pay the hefty price tag to run a spot during the game.  My favourite example is the "Miller High Life Delivery Guy Rant" which already has more than 50,000 views and has been getting great buzz for how the beer brand positioned itself outside the game and yet still made an impact:

Reebok’s effort with it’s "Perfectville" spot, filmed with two potential endings, has also generated great buzz outside of the Superbowl:

So, in 2008 with the arrival of social media and lots of other ways to reach consumers, is peripheral marketing going to be here to stay?  From what we’ve seen so far, it will be a technique to watch and one that smarter marketers continue to use to stand out.   

PS – In case you were wondering, here’s the alternate ending for the Reebok spot that would have run if the Patriots had won the Super Bowl.

5 thoughts on “Trendspot: Peripheral Marketing”

  1. It seems to me that your colleagues at Ogilvy made a remake of Saturday Night Live’s skit called My dick in a box. But it does fit with your description of peripheral marketing, even though it’s actually a mashup between valentines and a clip that was very successful virally. I didn’t like it that much.

  2. I love peripheral marketing it shows that someone with limited resources is being resourceful. And the ability to piggy back on an event or brand can launch your brand to notoriety quicker than the traditional way. Better Way Mail / is my new start up company with limited resource and growing quickly by being resourceful. https://hotcookies. One example of peripheral marketing is reading and discussing multiple blogs each day! Love You Bloggers!

  3. Rohit, I don’t think your trackback displayer is working. I submitted your article to bizSugar, but it didn’t show up here. My first assumption is that you didn’t accept the trackback, but I’ve been looking at a sample of your articles and none of them have trackbacks showing either. Just thought I’d let you know.

    P.S. Good article! 🙂

  4. rohit – all this information and marketing and sharing and websites and adverts and whatever marketing you call it – does it finally increase sales?

    what exactly is the point of all this communication and ideas if there is no reference at all to sales or conversions …

    do you have any metrics that explains the “commercial connection”. i am totally foxed !.


    P.S. I could not understand a word of what the Miller advert was and I am quite sue it is not going to make me reach out for a Miller anytime in the near future.

  5. i agree with reviveramesh, in this day and age, everything should track to the bottomline. so did it increase sales?


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Rohit is the author of 8 books on trends, the future of business, building a more human brand with storytelling and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world.

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