I was posting the below paragraph in a comments section on Brand Autopsy, and I figured it was meaty enough to be a post here. Shame on Brand Autopsy for skewering viral marketing company BzzAgent for it's recent troubles with one Black and Decker/Folgers coffee campaign gone awry. Place the blame where it belongs. With the product manufacturer. I am growing weary of traditional marketers lashing out at the word-of-mouth armies simply because their products didn't hold up in real world testing, and that old school ad agencies are having their lunch money taken by small viral upstarts.
The thing I love most about word of mouth marketing, and in particular companies like BzzAgent, is that it brings some accountability to the manufacturer of the product. Anyone can take some glossy photos of a crappy coffee maker and launch a 10 million dollar ad campaign that shows up on every street corner. But a company like BzzAgent (although they clearly take the fall in some cases) does a great service to consumers by getting real products out to real people for real honest feedback. Don't blame the viral marketing company because the BzzAgents staged their own mini Boston Coffee Party. Blame Black and Decker for producing an inferior product and Folgers for blindly getting behind it. In the interest of full disclosure, I recently became a BzzAgent and look forward to participating in some campaigns and providing honest feedback on the products I get a chance to test and use. Beware traditional marketers. Beware product manufacturers. This will be the future of advertising and marketing, and I look forward to the day when companies like BzzAgent begin to influence a change in the level of quality we see in our every day consumer products.