Deer and Tails and Trees and Propagation

What’s the perfect metaphor for combining word-of-mouth with major ad campaigns?

Yesterday, Carat’s Sarah Fay told advertisers they should be “planting a tree” rather than painting a house. At a Yahoo event this morning, the similes and metaphors continued.

Mediavest’s Jim Kite, president, connections research and analytics, told advertisers they’re no longer in the “message delivery business,” but rather the “message propagation business.” He was followed by Ogilvy Vice Chairman Steve Hayden, who popped a drawing of a “big-eyed deer” onto the screen (presumaby, it was staring into an advertisers headlights). The deer was joined in short order by what looked like a goggly-eyed snake, but Hayden called the creature the “big-eyed tail.”

Clearly, consensus is needed on the right industry term for the phenomenon of consumers passing along brand messages. Word-of-mouth? Viral? They just don’t seem to be cutting it anymore.

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