Viral Marketing: South Dakota Is On It

 

Cynical social media users love to make themselves look smart by dunking on “dumb” people. “Look at this idiot politician” and “check out this celebrity moron” are classics of the genre, but one tried-and-true take is “what’s up with those rubes in flyover country?”

Marketers understand this negative human tendency and regularly exploit it in their campaigns. (Note the pre-release “controversy” surrounding every movie.) It’s one thing to get your fans to promote your message for free, but getting the haters to promote it too? That’s viral gold. And South Dakota just gave business schools a case study in how well it can work.

On Monday, the state launched a public awareness campaign to combat a meth crisis that is “growing at an alarming rate,” according to Gov. Kristi Noem. They launched a website, video, and logo stating, “Meth. We’re On It.” Note, they aren’t selling a product, but trying to get people talking about a serious health crisis that few know exists — all in the 47th-largest state with a meager communications budget. And, yes, they understand the double-meaning; that’s the entire point of the campaign.

Within hours, the message was published in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and getting pushed by millions on social media. Public awareness was raised and people are talking about an issue no one had heard of 24 hours earlier. An obvious marketing success.

Obvious to anyone who took a Marketing 101 class, but not to the dupes in the media. “South Dakota’s new anti-meth campaign featuring people of different ages and races saying ‘I’m on meth’ is prompting online guffaws.” Pavlov’s blue-checked dogs heard the bell, and they couldn’t resist drooling.

Kudos to South Dakota’s Department of Social Services for being willing to risk being made the butt of a joke to help promote their life-saving message. And congrats to the Minneapolis ad agency Broadhead Co. which got everyone talking about the most niche of niche messages.

There are 8 comments.

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  1. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Wow. Cool.

    • #1
  2. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo…
    @GumbyMark

    Given my parenthetical moniker I certainly am not in a position to criticize.

    • #2
  3. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret
    @CarolJoy

    Clever, Gov Noem. Kudos for having this campaign picked up by major media.

    Sad thing, most meth is not even meth. It is often nothing more than some similar looking  powder, cut in with a tiny bit of meth. (Same goes for cocaine, heroin, et al.)

    And almost all street drugs now contain fentanyl. Which is able to kill the user  outright.

    • #3
  4. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    We tried fighting the meth epidemic but then realized, if you can’t beat ’em join ’em.

    • #4
  5. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Human beings like meth.

    • #5
  6. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Pretty sure he is telling the truth because that guy is only 19 years old.

    • #6
  7. Zed11 Inactive
    Zed11
    @Zed11

    Believe David Lee Roth said something to the effect, “If you like me, tell a friend. If you don’t, tell an enemy, because I’ll be here tomorrow.”

    • #7
  8. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret (View Comment):

    Clever, Gov Noem. Kudos for having this campaign picked up by major media.

    Sad thing, most meth is not even meth. It is often nothing more than some similar looking powder, cut in with a tiny bit of meth. (Same goes for cocaine, heroin, et al.)

     

    I know I’ve been disappointed with the quality.

    • #8

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