Jon Stewart is our generation’s Edward R. Murrow

The greatest journalist of our era is a comedian on a basic cable network.

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The inside joke

I think any friendship can be measured by the amount of inside jokes you share.

And while I’m not an ad guy, this commercial best visually expresses what I’m getting at:

The inside stuff creates loyalty, always has. Works for friendships and it works for business.

So how about it?

Share any inside jokes with your fans?

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The science behind remarkable

I wanted to share some interesting research we covered on our GasPedal blog a few weeks ago. It’s a 2003 study conducted by Christian Derbaix and Joelle Vanhamme of Belgium’s Université catholique de Louvain showing the influence of remarkable and surprising events on word of mouth:

The frequency and amount of WOM were clearly larger for negatively and positively surprising experiences than for their non surprising counterparts. Highly significant correlations were found between surprise, subsequent emotions and the frequency of WOM.

When hypothesizing why consumers are more likely to engage in word of mouth following a purchase involving surprise, Derbaix and Vanhamme suggest it could be related to the psychological “weight” associated with the event:

Surprise elicits substantial cognitive work (causal search, causal attribution, schema updating, and so on) and as mentioned by Söderlund (1998), this cognitive burden could lead to more interactions with others to the extent that interactions with others can help the individual in alleviating this burden. Therefore, the likelihood of inducing social sharing (WOM) is high.

So, in other words, if you deliver an unexpectedly remarkable experience to your customers, science tells us they can’t help but tell their friends about you.

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The Snuggie phenomenon

From an article I just saw over at AdAge:

Marketing’s New Red-Hot Seller: Humble Snuggie

That’s right.

The blanket with sleeves is one of the hottest selling items these days. Selling more than 4 million units in the past three months, Snuggies has made just under $40 million in retail sales.

There’s even reports of customers swamping stockers and grabbing all the Snuggies before they even reach the shelves at Bed, Bath & Beyond or Walgreens, the first two retailers to carry the blankets.

Imagine that, people trampling one another to get a blanket that has sleeves on it.

Why?

Well, I think the 200 videos on YouTube that are parodies of the product’s goofy commercial might have something to do with it. This one has nearly 150,000 views.

I had a feeling that Snuggies would succeed, despite their lame storytelling. Should be fun to watch how this trend plays out, but I’m still thinking they missed an opportunity to be huge.

I think the lesson here is that for some products, the story is so obvious that no matter how bad you screw up your marketing, the world will step in and show you how to really tell it.

Odds are though, you’re not that lucky.

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Just add sleeves!

Have you seen it yet?

Someone created “Snuggies.” The blankets with… sleeves.

Complete with an incredibly cheesy infomercial. Check it:

But when I watch this, I can’t help but have mixed feelings. Honestly, a fair part of me admires the simplicity of the idea. It reminds me of the classic Homer Simpson line after his brother shows him his invention that translates baby talk:

“Oh, I dunno’ Herb. Couldn’t you just have taken an existing product and put a clock in it?”

But c’mon folks.

Adding clocks and sleeves isn’t enough. What’s the story here? I think snuggies missed it.

The story (in reality) is probably:

Holy shit, what a brilliantly simple, sorta’ goofy idea we had one day. We like to lounge around, use a laptop, drink some coffee, and we’re sick of fighting our blankets.

You feelin’ us?

So we invented something pretty damn revolutionary: A blanket with sleeves.

But nooooooo.

Snuggies tries to convince us that these things are socially acceptable at sporting events.

The irony of course is, had they been upfront with how ridiculous the concept is, everybody would be asking to print their sports team on the damn things.

C’mon folks. Now, more than ever, adding sleeves isn’t enough.

More Bacon Salts. Less Snuggies.

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So, what do you do?

I like when people ask me what I do.

I start by telling them I’m a writer, and then they immediately ask what it is I write.

I say, “Well, I write for a small word of mouth marketing firm. I write for their blogs and newsletters.”

And if they’re still listening, I explain how we teach word of mouth marketing. I explain how above all, we believe in the good guys — the ones who see making people happy as the best way to make money. The ones who strive for remarkable. The ones who stand for something.

And usually someone will say something to the effect of, “Yeah, but does that really work?”

And then I smile and say, “Ever heard of Zappos?

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Hello

Hello?

Anyone still there?

Sorry ’bout that. I didn’t expect a month-long absence from here.

It’s a goofy thing, but the longer you’re away from something like this, the easier it becomes to push it off further. The harder it can be to come back. It almost becomes initimidating. You start to feel like you need some grand re-entrance, something that makes folks say, “Wow, I knew he’d be back. Glad I stuck around!”

But, at the risk of hearing, “Holy shit, I waited for this?” I’m going to start small. Drip, drip, drip, again — with some good ol’ vintage Seth Godin on chili and the low and slow path to remarkable.

Well timed Blinn, much appreciated.

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