Monday, 25 April 2011


A commonly-used marketing and advertising technique involves forming a link between a common phrase - or a catchy song - and your product. I call this product triggering, or sometimes just triggering. Famous examples of the technique include:

  • “Have a break... Have a Kit Kat.”
  • “Happiness... is a cigar called Hamlet.”
  • “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.”
The link is formed via observational learning, and then pattern-completion mechanisms complete the catchphrase when presented with the trigger.

Some catchphrases manage without including the product name - e.g.:

  • “Eat Fresh.”
  • “Because I'm worth it.”
  • “Think Different.”
  • “Once you pop, you can't stop.”

Many catchphrases receive special legal protection from trademark law - to allow those who register and pay a government office a legally-enforced monopoly over the catchphrase. For example, the phrase "Where do you want to go today?" is "owned" by Microsoft.

For the most part, triggering is not really a form of viral marketing. It does not normally rely on repetition of the advertising slogan by consumers, but rather works through conventional display advertising.

The slogans are carefully crafted memes, though - and surely have some potential for spreading between consumers.

Triggering is closely related to the concept of memetic hitchhiking. A self-help video that deals with the topic:

No comments:

Post a Comment