Tip of the hat to Jeff Bezos.

A new “behind the scenes” book coming out. Some pretty decent share price figures.

And, arguably, the Retail sector PR coup of the year.

Coverage on CBS networks “60 Minutes” last night unveiled “an exclusive that will blow you away”. Mini drones from Amazon capable of delivering a 5lb container within a 30 minute radius of their 96 global distribution centers.


Less than 2 weeks ago, Amazon unveiled a partnership with the US Postal Service to ensure Sunday deliveries. Now, they’re gonna have fleets of drones? Is there nothing this innovative Retailer can’t achieve?

But wait a second.

Wasn’t this past weekend – with its ritual “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” – the most important and lucrative weekend in the Retail sector? Hasn’t your TV, radio, email, social media all been awash with “Black Friday” deals the past 3 weeks.

Haven’t you gotten so tired of it all that it faded into white noise? For all the countless millions spent in marketing by the various Retailers, did any of it stick?

But mix a well-crafted expose from a credible news source, a little futuristic fantasy, add a film showing the fantasy in action…and suddenly we aren’t talking deals, BOGO’s and dollars off.

We’re talking the Bright Shiny Future. And, perhaps, just a glimpse of the future of marketing too.

By some estimates, the “60 Minute” coverage equated to over $3 million in free Cyber Monday advertising. If LinkedIn and Twitter are any indication of word-of-mouth amplification, then that number has to be way higher.

So, as sad as I feel about CBS’s credibility taking a hit, there is a larger lesson here folks.

Jeff Bezos and Amazon just reminded all of us that great marketing is an asymmetrical assault.

Sun Tzu, the oft-quoted military strategist, said the following “the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting” And that’s exactly what Jeff Bezos and Amazon achieved last night.

And he’s not the only one.

Ron Burgundy – aka Will Ferrell – is rewriting how movies are marketed too. Gone are the splashy QSR food and toy tie-ins, the PR junkets talking to every outlet related to movies and a litany of expected marketing tactics. Insert a healthy dose of social media and some very very unexpected tie-ins and you get a sense of how asymmetrical marketing can – and should – be. (Watch video at the end of the article)

I’ve written previously about other firms and their asymmetrical assaults. Patagonia extolling us not to buy their clothes. Toms and Warby Parker’s virtuous buying business model that donates a free pair of shoes or glasses to charity whenever you buy something from them.

Asymmetrical marketing is all around us. And asymmetrical marketing gets results. From eyeballs to engagement, from CBS coverage to real live newscasts, asymmetrical marketers are redefining how brands breakthrough.

So next time you’re looking at a media plan, perhaps you shouldn’t be asking if you have enough budget to sustain TV and radio but rather, is there any way I can make this plan more asymmetrical.

Jeff Bezos and Sun Tzu will applaud you.

Are there any examples of asymmetrical marketing that you adore? Any classics that inspire you? I’d love to hear them.

Web Site://www.hiltonbarbour.com

About the Author: An insatiable curiosity is my defining characteristic. Which is probably why I got into advertising over 14 years ago. I know it ain’t a real job in comparison to say, a fireman or a nuclear physicist but hey. Anyway, along the way I’ve developed an opinion on a coupla things. This blog allows me to air a few of those opinions and thoughts. I thank you for your visit and welcome your feedback.

Reproduced with permission from his blog


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