Running notes from the Ateliers des Médias (The Media Workshop), a half-day gathering of media and advertising people that takes place annually in the scope of the Geneva Book Fair. See this post for the opening session.
Philippe Ravy is a banker with BCV, one of Switzerland's biggest regional banks, headquartered in Lausanne. They recently created a presence in the synthetic world Second Life, first Swiss bank to do so (see previous posts on SL). Their motivation: the fast growth of SL, the demographics, the relative high penetration in Switzerland (fourth country in SL proportionally to population). Goal: "learn, learn, learn for the future" (and "also, being first, getting some free buzz and media coverage"). Future: "v-business" (as in "virtual business"). The BCV in fact bought two islands on SL (SLURL) and is setting up now a series of partnerships with other companies from the region that use some of the space on the islands for their SL presence. Budget for the first year: 28'000 Swiss francs. "SL hints at the future of the Web, by showing the potential of immersive 3D world with a social context".
Follows a short discussion on viral marketing and guerrilla marketing. Gilles Aeby, from the agency Numéro10, and Edgar Fasel, of the Swiss Association of Public Affairs. Aeby says that guerrilla methods "are a complement to traditional communication". He mentions the action they developed last year to launch the new free newspaper Le Matin Bleu, designing a fake popular initiative in favor of extending parking zones in Geneva and Lausanne (the cities where the daily is distributed), giving out flyers, gathering signatures, having people demonstrate in the streets, posing fake parking zones in the streets overnight (which in some cases created problems with the police). He mentions the Mentos-in-the-Diet-Coke-bottle viral videos (put some Mentos in a Diet Coke bottle and the chemical reaction creates a geyser): "the chemical reaction was discovered by some guy who filmed it and posted it online and the thing spread like wildfire, with no involvement by Mentos or Coca-Cola, but for Mentos at the end it has represented a fabulous free ad". Fasel, whose PR methods are more classic, points out that guerrilla/virus can get out of hand, and that a "healthy sense of responsibility" is necessary: "I have the impression that guerrilla/viral is a nice game with society as a toy".
Since it has been mentioned, here one of the Mentos-Diet Coke videos, via YouTube: