Viral marketing and Twitter gone wrong — help Adecco recognize Adecco and win $100

Viral marketing happens when a story or idea takes off and spreads. The story spreads, like a virus, from one person to another through Twitter, the blog world, email, and YouTube – to name a few.

In the online community being the object of the viral campaign can bring instant fame, for free, but can you buy viral? If you or your company are talked about, linked to, tweeted, and blogged about, then other people are telling your story.

Being viral is like being cool, but can you buy cool? Can a company spend money and resources to convince the world they are cool? Can you plot, build, and release a viral marketing campaign?

Is it really viral when money is the reward offer to Tweet or forward their message?

It seems some companies want to leap over appealing, interesting content and buy their way into the viral marketing game by enticing others to build buzz. This is the attempt of one company:

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Help Adecco Group NA recognize American workers this Labor Day – you could win $100!

Adecco Group NA needs your help to recognize all American workers this Labor Day. By helping us, you’ll do your part to thank hard-working Americans for their contributions and you’ll also have a chance to win a $100 American Express gift card! Here’s how:

  1. Follow @AdeccoGroup on Twitter. Don’t tweet? Join the revolution at
  2. On your Twitter page, simply tweet “Just entered to win $100 by helping Adecco Group honor American workers. Follow @AdeccoGroup and retweet“*
  3. Contest ends September 8, 2009 at 11:59pm EST. Good luck and thanks!

Five winners will be selected at random.

Remember, every time you retweet the link to our Labor Day video before September 8, 2009 you’ll have another chance to win the $100. Thanks for following us on Twitter, good luck and enjoy your Labor Day weekend!

*Maximum tweets per day is 5.

©2009 AdeccoGroup NA

If you do not wish to receive any further emails from Adecco, please click here.

175 Broadhollow Road
Melville, NY 11747

The entire campaign was ginned up to go viral.  Here are the elements Adecco paid to include in their salute to the American worker:

  • the offer for us to help the company recognize American workers
  • the offer to win $100
  • the call for help, a second time, to recognize American workers
  • a third call to help them, but this time calling us out to do our part to thank hard-working Americans
  • the offer of $100 as a company thank you for helping the company help American workers
  • the request to follow their company on Twitter [who does this benefit?]
  • the request that once we join Twitter, we retweet their exact message, that includes their link to a YouTube video
  • a link to their YouTube video created to honor the American worker, but is really a commercial for their services as a temporary job placement agency – they will tell you statistics as they salute their role and their people
  • their use of and YouTube and @AdeccoGroup to track responses

In our Marketing 2.0 world you have to provide relevant content. If your goal is to create content you hope will create buzz, this is retrofitting a marketing 1.0 strategy and strains credibility.

Understand your audience and write or present appealing, interesting content. If your message value is content, provides solutions, and people find valuable, then goal achieved.

Download David Meerman Scott’s brilliant Viral Marketing ebook that includes many case studies and actionable tips.

After all, viral marketing should not make others sick.

Appendix: two days after I posted this, an illuminating article The Truth About Labor Day ran in the Boston Sunday Globe, Ideas Section.

See follow-up Viral marketing and Twitter gone right

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Comments 2

    1. Either some Adecco big wig out-thought their marketing competence with this campaign or an ad agency sold a “viral” marketing campaign either choice the people are way out of their league on creating anything relevant.

      Either way Adecco owns this campaign after a whole host of people signed off on the concept and the budget.

      Sorry to hear you were not celebrated along with the other Labor Day celebrations Adecco coordinated.

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