Boring word of mouth lessons

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Word of mouth marketing only works when it’s the opposite of boring. But sometimes, you can take advantage of boring to create something remarkable.

Here’s how three different companies do it with:

1. Boring transactions
2. Extreme boring
3. Everyday boring

1. Boring transactions

Confirmation emails are boring — and that’s OK. No one expects them to be fun. But when companies like Photojojo send them, they make sure they’re just as remarkable as the company itself. For example, this shipping notification email is written in the first person from the product’s point of view: “Dear Josh, Jelly Cell Lense Kit, here. I just found out I’m headed to you, and I couldn’t be happier.” The more boring the normal transaction is, the more unexpected and remarkable it is when you show some of your company’s personality.

2. Extreme boring

You already know that advertising is the cost of being boring. But what if an ad is so boring that it’s remarkable? Virgin Airlines created a six-hour pre-roll before a YouTube video that’s so boring it’s worth talking about. You can opt out of the pre-roll after five seconds, or you can click through the six hours of footage to watch mannequins on the most mundane flight ever. Lots of publications are talking about it, and people are sharing it with their friends. That’s right. People are telling their friends they have to see a six-hour commercial.

3. Everyday boring

Some pedestrians get so bored at crosswalks that they will literally break the law or put themselves in danger to not have to stand and wait. So to make “Do Not Walk” signs more interesting, Smart Car installed a dancing traffic light. Instead of standing still, the red LED stick figure danced (and they used some really fun motion capture technology to do it). The results: 80 percent more people stopped at the crosswalks — and a lot of them had a great story to tell about Smart Car.

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