“I want to tell you a story…” The power of a good story has long been recognised. Scherezade managed to keep herself alive for 1001 nights by leaving her stories unfinished overnight, keeping her husband, the young sultan in suspense. This winter, in the 7 days leading up to Christmas, Director Giles Lury shares 7 festive branding fables and the marketing morals they espouse.
THE STARS FREE GIFTS
Trivial Pursuit was the board game of the 1980s. In 1984 it sold 20 million copies. A brilliantly simple idea based on our love of trivia and our love of friendly competition with questions like
What word was intentionally omitted from screenplay of The Godafather? (Mafia)
How many rows of whiskers does a cat have? (Four)
But do you know what was the main original selling tool for Trivial Pursuit?
The answer is word of mouth, that most powerful form of advertising. However the owners didn’t rely on it alone, rather they helped stoke the fire through the clever use of what is sometimes called ‘Buzz’ marketing.
They sent a series of single sample card to key buyers attending Toy Fair 1983, only revealing the game, its makers and the purpose of the intriguing cards on the third mailing.
Later they were to give copies to radio stations who then used the questions as the basis of competition with people who asked the questions correctly being given the game as a prize.
Linda Pezzano, the PR manager on the launch of the game remembers how the idea developed “In New York there was a guy on the radio who loved to ask trivia questions, so I thought he was a natural guy to do a promotion with. And then I thought ‘well there must be guys like that in every market’.”
So Pezzano hired a student to call up the different station and try and identify their ‘trivia maven’, soon over 100 stations were running Trivia Pursuit competitions.
Taking this idea a stage further the makers of the game distributed sample cards in bars or offered to host trivia parties there.
There was one final, inspired twist. Putting their faith in that perennial constant – the egotism of celebrities – the game’s marketers sent free copies to all famous individuals mentioned in the questions. They aimed to create a buzz and a few trivia parties in Hollywoood with their free gifts. “The celebrity mailing turned a lot of opinion leaders to the game, and they loved it” recalls Pezzano.
The moral of the story: the more positive word of mouth you generate, the more brand advocates you will create.