People Companies Advertise Archives Contact Us Jason Dowdell

Main > Archives > 2009 > July > Shark Week Viral Marketing Frenzy Decrypted

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Shark Week Viral Marketing Frenzy Decrypted

Faux sea glass jar from Discovery Channel Sharkweek 2009As I was pulling out of the driveway this morning I nearly hit the FedEx delivery guy because I didn't see him as I was backing up. He certainly saw me and waved me on and pointed to my house, because he had a delivery to make. I thought it was odd since I know we haven't purchased anything online lately since we have started our new budget but I headed down the road anyway. About 2 minutes later I get a call from Shannon telling me that I got a next day air delivery from FedEx. I asked her if it was a book, I get a lot of books sent to me, but she said it wasn't and that it was in a large box. So I told her I'd turn around and be there in two minutes.
I arrived at the house and picked up the box and was surprised at how large it was, 12 inches tall by 12 inches wide. I assumed it was a viral marketing pitch by this agency named "Campfire Media" but I had no idea what it was. The from address on the shipping label was:
Campfire Media
62 White Street, 3E
New York, NY 10013

This certainly wasn't an address (physical or website) that I recognized so I was even more intrigued. I was especially intrigued since the package said "fragile, handle with care" which is not the norm for most viral marketing deliveries.
What was in the box?
Interestingly enough there was a note (printed but with a handwriting font) and a sea glass jar (complete with faux rusted lid and glass that had been frosted by months at sea and it contained different items. Unlike some other people, the kind folks at the Discovery Channel responsible for Shark Week, did not send me an obituary like they did JoBlo. But he and I did get all of the other items. Here's an inventory of what the rusted sea glass bottle contained:
  • 1 rusted boat key with a keychain for Discovery Marina SW09 (get it? as in Discovery Channel Shark Week 2009?)
  • One pair of baggies (swim trunks for the non surfers out there) with the left leg tattered and torn and bloodstained (obviously from a shark attack)
  • A faux Great White shark tooth attached to a copper keychain with the url stamped into it (I'm not sure where they had these made but this keychain is top notch, the copper is even oxidized (good job folks)
  • A paper warning sign that reads "BEACH CLOSED SWIM AT YOUR OWN RISK, FOR DETAILED CLOSURE INFO, CALL: (386) 675-0342 (the 386 area code includes the location in Florida where we see the largest number of shark attacks in the world, so the use of a 386 area code on this sign was quite nice. If you call this number you'll get a well produced recording about shark attacks, I highly recommend calling 1 (386) 675-0342 and hearing the message.
  • A note on stationery in a hand written font. I included the note on the stationery below.

Hand Written (not really) Note From SW09
This jar holds a story -, the story of a single tragic accident, the details of which need to be unlocked. Dive in, investigate the evidence, and uncover what lies beneath the surface at, part of an online experience leading into Discovery Channel's Shark Week.
Now that we've gotten through all of the tedium of Shark Week 09's viral marketing campaign, I'll put up a follow up entry in an hour or so that breaks down the campaign and what works and doesn't work and how well we should expect this to perform over the next 7 days.

By Jason Dowdell at 04:01 PM | Comments (1)

(1) Thoughts on Shark Week Viral Marketing Frenzy Decrypted

Campaigns and content like Shark Week and the shark phobia they promote are deplorable. The media and ad industries should no more support this than they should promote racism and other forms of hatred.

Between 100 and 200 million sharks are killed by humans every year, an industry immune to public protest because of media-induced shark-phobia. many are killed quite brutally as their fins are cut and they are tossed overboard to drown.

According to the Florida Museum of natural history, in 2003, in the United States, 1 person died in a shark attack, whereas 11 died from fireworks accidents, 47 were killed by lightening, 273 died of heat exposure, 3,306 drowned, 19,456 were poisoned accidentally, 44,757 were killed in car crashes, and 652,486 succumbed to heart disease.

Comments by Adrien Cohen : Monday, July 20, 2009 at 05:38 AM

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Marketing Shift PostsSubscribe to The MarketingShift Feed