Friday, August 07, 2009

What is 230?

If you've watched TV recently, you may have seen this commercial.

It's one of the simplest commercials, or rather teaser commercials I've seen. It just has a winking power outlet that makes the zero in the number 230, and 8-11 below it. The background of the commercial is green, which emotes an environmentally friendly theme.

This article from Advertising Age has some insights, but mostly just guesses. However, the Internet community is fairly certain that this commercial is being run by GM, which narrows the guesses down quite substantially.

One idea that the entire US electrical grid is going to be converted from 120 volts to 230 is probably the least likely of them all. This kind of change would require an act of congress (I'm quite sure) and the government wouldn't spend money on teaser commercials for a switch like that. Did you see any teaser commercials for the switch to Digital TV broadcast? So a big change like this would be in the news while still in the bill stages in congress.

As far as marketing strategy I think it's a good technique to use on GMs behalf. It's creating mystery, and people are spending time trying to find out what it is. One aspect that is different in this case is that the commercial does not even include a website to go to. With a search on Google of "230 8 11" the top sponsored link is the Official Website, which has only slightly more information than the commercial. The website includes a flickr photostream and a twitter link that will allow you to twitter "I spotted 230. #whatis230". This strategy of not including a website address makes people a little more interested in what it is and forces these people to go out and search for it, rather than just type in an address in their browser.

When people take more initiative and time researching your marketing, then it's going to stay with them that much longer.

The biggest thing you have to watch out for is that people don't get too frustrated and just forget about it completely.

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