Trident Finds It Hard to Go Viral

Sorry Jerry, we just don't care about you and your teeth.

Sorry Jerry, we just don't care about you and your teeth.

Some brands, like Dove soap and Levi’s jeans, have created a lot of buzz with online videos so compelling that millions of people shared them with friends or posted them to their favorite Web sites. But so-called viral marketing is a tricky business, as is clear from the campaign for a new Trident gum touted for its ability to strengthen and rebuild teeth.

Trident launched the product in May with a conventional ad campaign. Then, two months ago, seeking to make a splash with Web-savvy young people, it started planting online videos that featured fictional brothers Jerry and Wendell Tucker from rural North Carolina, testing the strength of Jerry’s teeth.  >>Full Story

Thoughts// First, kudos to Traci for spotting this article on the Wall Street Journal last week.  The story is an excellent tale of a viral campaign that never went viral.


Because you don’t create viral campaigns!

Anyway, the story talks about how Trident seeded specific websites and blogs with videos of two North Carolina brothers who have amazingly strong teeth.  Specifically, seeded the content by ‘sent emails to dental hygienists and to bloggers who are fans of Mr. Mull.‘  First impression, does that seem odd to anyone else?  Trying to launch your viral campaign to dental hygienists and Martin Mull bloggers?  We know it is gum, but still, odd.

Then, Trident or more accurately, the ad agency, created a show and accompanying website titled, ‘That’s Not Fake,’ about a fake, video exposing show (I know, ironic! Probably the point, but we missed it) that features the brothers, yada, yada, turns out he was chewing Trident the whole time. Fail.

The highlight here is that while the site is obviously not legitimate, it is presented and pushed as a real site and TV show.  No where on the site does it mention that this is really paid for by Trident gum.  Regardless of what you think about the videos, execution, etc., I think the real issue here is that most people are not falling for this ‘show’ and just don’t care.  Seriously, 8-10 videos about teeth and gum? Who is going to watch all of that?

Better solution, sponsor any and all funny, humorous or scary videos relating to people either having or not having strong teeth on YouTube.  Dad gets hit in mouth with baseball by son, overlay ad reads ‘Good thing he was chewing Trident gum this morning.’ Done, campaign launched, success, I am heading home.

For readers of the Travel 2.0 blog, how does this relate back to travel?  Well, in some really basic terms:

  • Don’t over think or overspend on interactive/social/viral campaigns.
  • Anytime your agency says the word ‘viral,’ you should be concerned.
  • Just because it can be done (an online show with Martin Mull), does not mean it should be done.

Now, let’s see if we can get this post to go viral.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.