Friday, February 27, 2009

Viral Marketing and Viral Unmarketing - the Recent Case of Ryanair

I have been following the Ryanair story that went through the blogs in the last days:

There have been hundreds of blog articles on Ryanair since yesterday and thousands of Tweets that contain the keyword "ryanair". What happened? I don't want to repeat the story here just leave it up to you to do a little bit of research (Ok, here is an entry point). Just a hint: Ryanair staff insulted an Irish blogger on the comment site of his blog and this has caused an uproar in the Bloggersphere and Twitterspehre

I thought that this should have a serious negative impact on the reputation of Ryanair and maybe also on their sales figures. I am not so sure anymore. If you look at their entire communication campaign, it is all rough style. If you want to see what viral marketing can be like, watch this very funny press conference with CEO Michael O'Leary. The spot has been viewed 700,000 times and maybe more:

And maybe it is not so negative for the sales figures at all. At least, Ryanair is in the media, compared to EasyJet (which I would always prefer because of the friendliness of their staff, their customer policies, convenience, etc.)

It reminds me of the old Benneton Ads in the eighties (Check a larger size of these photos here). Benneton was very successful with their campaign although many people said it was disgusting. But as the theory of Speech Acts says: If you want to sell pullovers, it is not important to communicate "Buy my pullover" but to make people buying your pullovers. So what does that teach us? In the modern world, for you to sell, it is imprtant that people talk about you - unless they start to boycott you, as it happened in Shell's Brent Spar case.

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