Saturday, June 24, 2006

Smirnoff and WOM

I recently came home from giving a rather large, intimidating presentation for a certain communications class that will remain nameless, and decided to crack open a cold grape flavored Smirnoff Twsited V drink that was left over from a Cape Cod weekend. I opened the drink and noticed a number and letter code on the inside of the cap. I looked at the bottle and saw that Smirnoff was doing a sweepstakes type give away promotion that needed me to go to the website, enter my code, and see if i was a winner; after all, there was a winner every 60 seconds! So, in an attempt to be mindless and waste some time, I hopped on site. Naturally I had to register a bunch of information, (it was actually a bit of a lenghty and convoluded process), and even more naturally I was NOT a winner. However, I did not remain so downtrodden for long. I found myself very impressed with what the WOM practices they were employing on their website!

I know in class we have looked at real world examples and applications of WOM, but to find an example on my own, employed no less by a company that I am very loyal to, impressed me. I know that Smirnoff has some clever traditonal television advertisers working for them, but I found it interesting that they were exploring new avenues and arenas of the advertising and marketing worlds. Besides this campaign being a buzz building campaign with the neat animated graphics, website features, and cool give-aways, the first thing that really peaked my interest was their option to send the site to any of your friends so they could try to play the game as well; a classic WOMM practice.

They leveraged the principles of exclusivity by a socially conscious and clever (but easily navigated around) feature that does not allow you to enter the site unless you are the legal drinking age of 21 as Smirnoff likes to promote "responsible drinking." You are required to put your birth date in, however you can pick a year that makes you 21 (even if you are not) and enter the site. A noble quest there, but not exactly effective I have a feeling. They use exclusivity again as well as an altruistic effect with a link they have on the same website that says "theres something cool under wraps... be the first to find out!" Once clicking the link, the two aforementioned principles show themselves vibrantly; the site says "We’ve got something super cool in store for you, but for now, it’s gotta be under wraps. But we’re almost ready to let you in on it. Sign up now, and you’ll be the first to know what’s up" and then there is a survey asking your experience with and propensity of drinking Smirnoff Ice.

As I said, I was pleased with all these things. But I think the Smirnoff Ice website is a very good example of companies unwillingness to fully accept and implement WOM principles and practices. While there were some WOM principles, there were not many and Smirnoff obviously still holds their traditional advertising in high esteem as they have a section of their website devoted to their television ads. There were no voting features or surveys pertaining to customer satisfaction, no consumer generated features, no blogs, etc, etc.

At least some companies get WOM partially, however. Kudos Smirnoff. It got me clicking around on your website!



DavetheRave said...

It’s interesting that WOM for some businesses is easier then others. Alcoholic beverages seems like a great place to start a creationists WOM program because they can market their products in a party atmosphere where WOM is at its best.

ericrocksmyworld said...

Smirnoff's a company you're "very loyal to," eh Hillary? We should hang.
It does not surprise me that Smirnoff is progressive with their marketing. Their print ads are always very visually engaging. I always admire a new print ad by them, and I even wrote a paper on one of them. I guess they are a great example of a company who is cutting edge in terms of aesthetics and WOM.

Bek said...

I wrote that Eric! : (

ericrocksmyworld said...

Haha. Clearly I have some things to learn still about blogs. Like how to read them.
Anyway then, bek? You? Me? Smirnoff?

Bek said...

time and place. i'm there. ;-0!

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