Three Degrees of Separation: Everyone Knows Everyone
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No marketer expects that any campaign he devises will have a perfectly linear impact in the marketplace. That is, that one print ad, radio spot, or special event will influence one potential consumer in isolation from every other potential consumer—or in isolation from the culture at large. Indeed, no marketer would want to take such an inefficient approach. For decades, it’s been a mark of success when an advertising campaign becomes a part of the culture. Think, “Where’s the beef?” or “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” These are certainly broad, mass market examples. And they may seem dated, but we use them here purposefully to make the point that ad campaigns could go viral even in the days before we had the technologies that put the phrase “going viral” into our vocabularies. That’s because “going viral” has always had a unique, person-to-person, word-of-mouth component.
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