When woods whistle…pancakes sizzle

There is a discomfort in crowning W-O-M as a marketing tool (if it’s word of mouth, it needs no formulaic initiative right!!). But it is a necessary truth for any marketer. It is genuine. It can be contagious. And it can create good vibes for the brand more often than not. But W-O-M is meant to be subtle. Not choreographed. Then how does one ensure the right message gets whispered from ear to ear.

Look at the times when it has been attributed a bad name. The nefarious MMS clips & dirty pictures. The scandalous truths about celebrities & brands, takes new dimensions when it gets passed around. Then there are the good W-O-M examples: Like joke mails and the very irritating ‘blessings on the condition that you forward, else you will lose your two front teeth’ mails. It works alright. Who doesn’t want a pot of gold after 10 forwards & 15 minutes (that’s the condition really).

Today viral marketing is a nicely put together tool in the W-O-M series. And bloggers can celebrate brands or be their nemesis too. It’s the case of what I like to call, ‘when woods whistle, pancakes sizzle’. Sizzle & turn their delectable crispy brown or then get burnt with a bitter after taste.

Word of Mouth is about conversations. That you & I can have. At a coffee table. On the mobile while performing your morning ablutions (yikes!!). While dancing at a noisy discotheque. While doing small talk with a stranger at a bus stop. While trying to figure out whether we think alike. WOW. So many connection moments. All FREE OF CHARGE. Most of the time. With some initial investment.


Anything from a surprising new packaging design or concept (Tata Nano), an experience of the brand when least expected (T-Mobile Airport Welcome song), happy moments created by the brand (what if Santa Singh was a T-shirt brand!!), a shock & awe maybe…there are tons of them if you start to think a bit. After all, who wouldn’t enjoy some fun & excitement in their lives?

Here is a whacked out example from Dodge Cars that created ample W-O-M…see it to believe it.


Maybe the best way to get this started, is by giving a thought to what you would like to chat about with your friend. A whistle is surely a great way to attract his attention.

Eager to hear your stories on W-O-M that you can’t forget.

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  1. Hi Sandhya. Today viral is quite what word of mouth used to be. Of course that is restricting it to the internet happy people. I dont know if it can be done entirely without investment. Sometimes it is crucial that it isnt a flimsy way of creating wom. Avatar created tremendous buzz. But the funds were more than adequate too. Movie marketing can be a great example to look at for the buzziness.

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