Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Seven Wonders of Marketing

If you haven't seen it already, I encourage you to read up on the New Seven Wonders of the World, courtesy Swiss businessman Bernard Weber.

On the scale of Marketing Brilliance, this is up there with the Million Dollar Home Page. Although I haven't been able to find any data on the number of text messages sent, the business claims that over 100 million votes were cast. While this is somewhat lower than the SMS recordings of an average episode of American Idol, the SMS royalty revenue generated certainly recouped the cost of the website and marketing. And then some.

This post isn't about the quality of the new list. That being said, I don't think it demonstrates much more than the sheer number of cell phones in Brazil. Christ the Redeemer, while nice, is a dubious 'Wonder of the World' at 38 meters and a completion date of 1931. For comparison, the Colossus of Rhodes was 33 meters tall and completed in or around 280 BC. However, the Rhodesians must have less forgiving text messaging plans.

Regardless, this illustrates the fundamental power of competition. Regardless of how shoddy or corporate the poll was, it worked brilliantly. Not only did patriotic Brazilians, Mexicans, and Jordanians (among others) visit the site repeatedly to vote, national leaders endorsed the site and encouraged their citizens to participate.

Is mega-scale virtual competition the next worldwide sport? This poll hardly gives us the answer, but it does provide an interesting proof of concept for those wishing to capture the minds of nations and the advertising dollars of international brands. If the ancient Hellenic tourists, creators of the first List of Seven, were to see the statue of Christ the Redeemer, they would no doubt be awestruck. However, the very existence (let alone success) of this poll would be utterly inconceivable to anyone before, perhaps, 1990. Which brings up perhaps the biggest absence in the new list:

The Internet.

- Brad

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