Viral Schmiral

So Daniel's off on a boat for the next couple of days, and Sharron asked if we could do “Dinner and a Movie”.  Our choice for movie last night was “The Horse in the Grey Flannel Suit”, a Disney film starring Dean Jones and a horse named “Aspercel”.  Not high drama, but still fun - especially if you're a horse owner.

What I found fascinating is the basic premise of the film.  The daughter of a single dad is totally horse-crazy, so her father (who is an advertising executive on the virge of losing his biggest account, Aspercel antacid) convinces the head of the pharmaceutical company that makes Aspercel that they should embark on a “Subliminal” advertising campaign starring the horse Aspercel.  As his daughter rides Aspercel in more and more horse events, the horse will provide built-in advertising of the product.  One of the requirements of the CEO was that all ownership of the horse had to be hidden - it couldn't be associated with the company at all - that's what made the ad campaign subliminal - it wasn't a “product sponsorship“ because there was theoretically no connection between the company and the horse.

Anyway, I was watching this movie and it struck me - I thought that viral marketing was a relatively new phenomenon.  But is there any real difference between the idea of Aspercel the horse selling antacids by appearing in horse shows and the Submissive Chicken?


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