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Category: Ken Schafer

Saw The Viral, Bought The T-shirt

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There is a class of viral campaign that uses personalized badges or buttons on people’s sites to drive traffic (do we have names for different classes of virals yet?). One such campaign is “The Cyborg Name Generator”:http://www.cyborgname.com/ created by the endlessly fascinating “Lore Sj√∂berg”:http://slumbering.lungfish.com/.
The name generator site is incredibly simple. You enter a name, pick a cyborg body, and the site spits back a funny “Cyborg Name” for you.
Of course the first thing a new class of blog-happy youth want to do is share their cyborg name with friends, so Lore provides them with the code to add the image and a link back to the generator so they can add it to their blog/site.
This in itself is a great example of getting something to go viral by *making it about the individual* spreading the message and personally I think these will be the most effective campaigns in the long-term. (See Wedding Crashers’ “Trailer Crashers”:http://www.weddingcrashersmovie.com/crashthistrailer/ for another popular example).
But that’s not my main reason for pointing out Lore’s site.
There are two interesting things we can learn from Cyborg Name Generator…

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Target OwNz The New Yorker

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This is a bit off topic, but the “New York Times has an article”:http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/12/business/media/12adco.html?ex=1281499200&en=882fe6685315a047&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss _(registration probably required)_ saying:
bq.. The Aug. 22 issue of “The New Yorker”:http://www.newyorker.com/, due out Monday, will carry 17 or 18 advertising pages, all brought to you by the “Target”:http://www.target.com discount store chain owned by the Target Corporation. The Target ads will even supplant the mini-ads from mail-order marketers that typically fill small spaces in the back of the magazine.
The Target ads, in the form of illustrations by more than two dozen artists like Milton Glaser, Robert Risko and Ruben Toledo, are to run only the one time in the issue. They are intended to salute New York City and the people who live – and shop – there.
Many mainstream magazines like Time and Life have published what are known as single-sponsor issues, carrying ads only from marketers like Kraft Foods and Progressive insurance. Target has been a sole sponsor before of issues of magazines, among them People.
The goal of a single-sponsor issue is the same as it is when an advertiser buys all the commercial time in an episode of a television series: attract attention by uncluttering the ad environment.

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