Viral marketing is an interesting concept. Is it even possible to deliberately plan a viral marketing strategy? Frito-Lay pulled one off with their new product, True North. At least I think they did… That’s the brilliance of viral marketing done right – the audience doesn’t even know it’s marketing or that they’re the medium that’s being used.
True North is an all-natural snack made of nuts. Hence the original ad on the TV said that it was an “extraordinary nut snack.” The blogosphere instantly reacted with commentary about the close resemblance of their product description and a certain part of the male anatomy. True North soon changed the television ad to eliminate the word “nut.” By changing the ad, they validated all of the snickers and guffaws inspired by the first ad. That made it look like they made a faux pas and were trying to cover their tracks so there was an even greater twitter amongst the Web 2.0 crowd.
The fact is that Frito-Lay is a huge company and spends tons of cash on marketing. It is highly unlikely that their marketing department failed to notice the impending snack/sack situation. I think the advertisement was aimed at the group most likely to create the viral effect that Frito-Lay wanted.
So, I must say that I think someone in Frito-Lay’s marketing department pulled off a phenomenal piece of marketing. I haven’t tried their nut sacks ..errr.. snacks yet but I probably will in the not too distant future because they do seem like a really good, healthy snack. I probably wouldn’t have given them a second look if I hadn’t needed to rewind the DVR twice the first time I saw their ad.
Did I just contribute to the scope of their viral campaign? I think so, but that’s OK by me because that’s brilliant.