inception

I received a message from my friend that caught my attention when I signed onto Facebook this morning. She had an interesting experience with a company called Kiip after downloading a mobile app onto her smartphone. According to Wikipedia, Kipp is a “mobile rewards network that enables brands and companies to prompt consumers for commercial offers on virtual achievements.”

Here is what she said:

Hey Tony, I just had sort of an interesting experience with Kiip. I downloaded the 8tracks app and liked a song. Then, Kiip gave me a notification saying that I can redeem Amazon.com MP3 credit. If I’d like to redeem, just click enter (my email address was already filled into the box). I normally wouldn’t go for this, but I learned about Kiip recently and sort of have a crush on the founder, so I decided to click redeem.

I got my Amazon.com MP3 reward sent to my email with an advertisement for BENGAY (cold pain reliever). There’s a link that says, “Have 30 seconds to answer a couple of questions?” I clicked on that and it took me to a page that says there’s a sweepstakes for 1 out of 10 $250 rewards if I answer a few questions. 

So it asked for my gender and age. Then it asked me which brand did I receive advertising from? [x]BENGAY [x]Company X [x]Company Y… etc.

I chose BENGAY. Then it asked which brand uses the message ‘cold pain relief’ in their ads? I chose BENGAY. Which of the following products would you have a favorable impression of…

Basically, they forced me to think about their ad, think about what kind of product BENGAY is, and say that I have a favorable impression of them and everything, for like 10 questions!

..And then I was like, “I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE!”

I think this is pretty new and clever way of marketing. But since I’m aware of what’s going on, I’m not sure how I feel about being Jedi-mind-tricked/brainwashed.

bengayShe forwarded me the email with the BENGAY advertisement, so I took a look at the survey myself.

There were only four product-related questions, but sure enough, each of those questions led me into thinking about BENGAY (what kind of product it is, what the product does, etc.). The survey molds the participant into favoring BENGAY and unknowingly, but willingly, into choosing BENGAY as the product of choice for cold pain relief. It plants the idea into your mind (talk about inception). After completing the survey, I wondered how many unsuspecting victims, err, I mean, participants subconsciously think of this particular product now when they need cold pain relief.

Here are the questions on the survey, so you can take a look at it yourself:

Q: Would you like to participate in this survey?
A: [_]Yes [_]No

Q: What is your age?
A: [_]Under 18 [_]18 to 34 [_]35 to 49 [_]50 to 59 [_]60 to 69 [_]70+

Q: Which of the following brands of topical pain reliever was advertised on the mobile web pages that you just viewed? (Select one)
A: [_]BENGAY® [_]Icy Hot® [_]Salonpas® [_]ThermaCare® [_]None of these

Q: Which of the following brands, if any, uses the following message in its advertising? (Select one) “Cold Pain Relief”
A: [_]Icy Hot® [_]ThermaCare® [_]BENGAY® [_]Salonpas® [_]None of these

Q: Which of the following brands of topical pain reliever, if any, do you have a favorable opinion of? (Check all that apply)
A: [_]Icy Hot® [_]BENGAY® [_]Salonpas® [_]ThermaCare® [_]None of these

Q: Next time you are looking to purchase topical pain reliever, which of the following brands, if any, would you consider for your next purchase? (Check all that apply)
A: [_]Salonpas® [_]ThermaCare® [_]BENGAY® [_]Icy Hot® [_]None of these

Q: Are you male or female?
A: [_]Female [_]Male

You took the time to give us your opinions and now we’d like to give you a chance to win a $250 gift card. To be entered in this sweepstakes, please enter your 10-digit mobile phone number below. Your mobile phone number will only be used to notify you if you have won the sweepstakes.

It should have said, “Congratulations, you have now been Jedi mind-tricked.”

There are a lot of subliminal marketing techniques, but I’ve never seen one in the form of a survey, where the medium actively makes the viewer think about the messaging of a particular product or brand.

What do you think about this kind of marketing to get your branding across? Will your customers be furious if they realized what the campaign is trying to accomplish? Have you ever employed a campaign like this? What other inception marketing techniques have you tried? Did it work for you?

Tell me what you think, how you feel about it, what your experiences are, etc., below!