Easy viral

Let me say upfront that I do not mean to pile more scorn on Office Max. I only wish to help. Readers of the magazine...

Let me say upfront that I do not mean to pile more scorn on Office Max. I only wish to help. Readers of the magazine will know that I wrote a column on Office Max's new viral campaign .

One reader wrote in: "My wife loved 'elf yourself' – but I doubt she knows/remembers Office Max's role in it."

That was hopefully the point that came across in the column. But, of course, the proof will be in how successful the campaign becomes. I wholeheartedly encourage Office Max to send me positive results, should they come in.

Anyway, my disclaimer at the top is meaningful, as I will now praise competitor Staples and their viral campaign gone wonderful, the Easy Button. 

I don't have the exact by-the-numbers history of the Easy Button, but, if you believe Wikipedia and my relative memory, the "button" was introduced in a TV ad because the company's new slogan was, "That was easy." It was not launched as viral campaign. It BECAME viral because it resonated. 

Now it's publically manifested and a popular purchase item, per Rob Walker in the Boston Globe.

And the outcome? Among other things, there is a demand from consumers for the prop. About seven months after the commercials started, the Easy Button migrated onto the shelves at Staples, where it was priced at $4.99. Goodman said the chain has sold nearly 1.5 million of them.

The lesson? Pursue campaigns that explicate the brand message. Those are the ones that will resonate. And become viral.

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