Hungary is a relatively small country (pop: 10m) with relatively small internet community. Yet one day (or in a few days) out of the blue sky a Hungarian jewelry store collected 850 000 likes on Facebook. How did it happen?
With the help of a viral application that tells you (and your friends of course on your wall) what your indian name is. Yes you heard me: indian name. The trick is that you have to first like the jewelry store to reach the app. Simple as a nut.
So how could I repeat such a marvelous feat? Not for myself, not for my non existent jewelry store, but for my MMO strategy game Zandagort. Just imagine an app like “What is your cowboy name?” If people like indians they must like cowboys. And it even rhymes with this new movie. A few hundred thousand likes in a few days and I would be more than happy.
And still this idea raises three important questions.
One: is it ethical? Most critics commented it was not. Because of the lack of relevance. Indian names have nothing to do with jewels. Of course you could engrave your indian name in a ring, but there was no such offer. Indian name was only to make it viral. I think advertizing is mostly about tricking people into either being interested in something or into wanting something they didn’t even know they needed. Why is it less ethical to sell jewels with indian names than to sell cellphones with smiling and cool looking young people or to sell anything with boobies? (Or to sell a game with a blog about selling things with unrelevant other things?) And don’t forget that it was clear that you have to like (by clicking the standard Like button) the jewelry store to get your indian name. And you can unlike them in an instant (and even clear the whole story off your wall) if you just want your indian name so badly without liking anything (I tell you for free: it’s probably Dumb Fuck).
Two: is it efficient? The second line of critics asked about conversion rates. 850 000 likes are fine but how many of these people will actually buy anything? Probably not many. But even if only a ridiculously small fraction of those will buy anything compare it to the development costs. I could write such an app in a day and I’m not even an expert in Facebook apps. And don’t forget it is Christmas season, women like jewels (and they are “overrepresented” on Facebook) and not just the 850 000 but their friends will all be exposed to some jewel posts (through liking and sharing). And of course I could develop a more relevant app like “What is your alien name?” But this leads to the third and most important question.
Three: is it predictable? Absolutely not. What would you think of the indian name app without knowing the numbers? I would say it’s fucking LAME. It only gets COOL if you know the results. Would you make a fool of yourself with really stupid apps without any certainty or even promise? I don’t think so.
So what’s the moral of the story? Don’t try to imitate the success of anyone who succeeds against all odds. You won’t succeed.