Monday, December 5, 2022

It’s Whamaggedon Season Again…

If you are currently a participant in “Whamageddon,” do NOT click on this link. If you don’t know what Whamageddon is, it is a viral contest that has become popular every holiday season. The basic rules, which can be found here, involve trying to avoid hearing Wham’s “Last Christmas” (the original, not a cover) from December 1st through December 24th each year.

Under the “official” rules, you aren’t supposed to deliberately send your friends to “Whamhalla” (where participants go each year once they have heard the song). However, the Wikipedia page suggests that you could send someone a “Wham-bomb” by setting their smart device to play “Last Christmas” as an alarm on December 1st! Sometimes, people play with other songs, like Mariah Carey’s ubiquitous “All I Want For Christmas is You” or, in New Zealand, "Snoopy's Christmas."

As I’ve contemplated many friends who appear to be playing Whamageddon each year, it made me start to consider the power of viral marketing. Somehow, a group of people on an internet message board (GTPlanet) started the idea and now millions of people worldwide play. It seems like capturing lightening in a bottle with a successful viral marketing campaign can sometimes be just an accident. However, there are also professionals whose careers are built around helping companies build viral marketing campaigns. Successful campaigns can bring a business way more public attention than the money spent on a paid advertising campaign…just make sure it is the type of attention you want and doesn’t lead to a high-profile false advertising claim.

When Pepsi launched its Pepsi Stuff loyalty program back in the mid 90’s, before the advent of social media and viral marketing, it was hugely popular; however, they probably didn’t think it would lead to Leonard v Pepsico, Inc., the lawsuit started by John Leonard to because Pepsi refused to provide him with the AV-8 Harrier jet “promised” in a Pepsi commercial when he tried to redeem 7,000,000 Pepsi Points. This false advertising claim is now the subject of law school curriculum and the recently released and entertaining (at least if you’re a lawyer and have nothing else to binge watch on a plane flight) Netflix documentary series, "Pepsi, Where's My Jet?".

In case you were interested, I haven’t had to post #Whamageddon yet this year. Given my affinity for holiday music, I’m sure it won’t be long…

No comments :

Post a Comment