I am probably the most McDonald's-loving vegetarian / tree hugger you will ever meet - considering there is very little on the menu for me and the environmental waste is soul-crushing when you think about it.
Which is why you'd think that I hate the new FRORK invention that has set some spheres of the interweb ablaze with commentary, confusion and delight. It's basically a red plastic fork handle that allows you to insert 3 fries into the end to serve as the fork's prongs, which can then be used to sop up any extra ketchup or Big Mac special sauce left on your plate, erm, wrapper.
Sometimes the rational marketer in me asks: What's the value of doing something like this - does it ACTUALLY SELL MORE BURGERS? Is this just content for content's sake? Or is pumping out ideas that spread virally simply the way brands need to operate today to remain top-of-mind?
Ford did something similar recently with a baby crib that simulates being in a car, since babies are more prone to falling asleep in cars: The crib gently rocks back and forth like a car, emits car engine hums, and has a circling glowing light that emulates a car passing street lights at night. I'm getting zzzzzzz just thinking about it:
Part of me is very sceptical and thinks it's a total waste of dollars and energy and won't sell a single car... but part of me also recognises the PR value being generated by these stunts. A quick search on Youtube for FRORK shows the number of people who've created additional content off the back of the original videos. By even writing this post about them, I'm adding to the chatter.
And I was guilty of doing it last year too when I blogged about Volvo launching the Volvo Life Paint, a clear spray paint that can be sprayed on clothing and bikes that glows and is reflective at night. This to me was the ultimate in viral stunt marketing as it also hammered home Volvo's core positioning of being a SAFE vehicle and caring about protecting consumers.
But did it sell any Volvos?
That's debatable - but it did manage to get the brand top-of-mind for a bicyclist/car buyer like me who never watches ads any more. To that end, perhaps it's done its job.
What do you think? Are these viral stunts worth it? Do you believe they help build sales --- or could that money be used better some other way?