Does this famous story prove social media gives everyone a level playing field?

by Joanne Wallace

Orabrush promotional photoHave you heard the Orabrush story?

It goes like this:

Little old man invents and patents a "revolutionary" tongue cleaner. He tries to sell it through infomercials. No dice. Next he tries taking it straight to the retail sector. Nuh-uh. Finally, in desperation, he takes the product to a group of college marketing students. They do some research and tell him his product is doomed.

But one kid says "what the heck - let's try some social media." And he makes a YouTube video. (You can watch it here.)

BAM! Next thing you know the video goes viral. The little-old-geezer is fielding calls from Brazil and Tokyo, and can hardly keep up with the demand. Instantly, Orabrush becomes the poster-product for the YouTube generation - proving that any business can flourish through the magic of inexpensive social media marketing.

Right?

Well, yes and no. Yes it's true - anyone can post a video to YouTube, not just advertising agencies and big corporations with deep pockets.

But if you watch the Orabrush video carefully, you'll find it's a masterpiece of classic features-and-benefits-focused marketing.

It uses humour to grab your attention. It introduces a terrible problem we might all encounter. It offers traditional solutions to this problem, and then dismisses them. Finally, it introduces The Product as the ultimate solution to the problem - and then promises the über benefit (that's More Sex, for those of you who didn't watch the video.)

So yes, it's a great social media story. And yes, social media lets marketers push the envelope in ways not possible in traditional media - and at a fraction of the cost.

But just because the playing field's been levelled doesn't mean you don't need to know the rules of the game. Make sure your marketing is smart - no matter which media you choose.

View the whole Orabrush story here.

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