X Factor


Even though fall is practically here, here’s yet another summer topic.

Maybe you took part in the Ten-San sunscreen competition? What, you don’t know what I’m talking about? Ten-San published caricatures done by eight famous caricature artists with the topic of Ten-San sunscreen and invited people to vote for the best one. The author of the most liked caricature would receive a nice cash prize. And out of all the participants casting their votes for the winning caricature, one would be randomly selected and receive the main cash prize, while nine others would receive consolation prizes.

No doubt about it, the campaign was created in line with all the standards of modern marketing. The celebrities taking part (celebrity endorsement), and the fact that famous caricature artists had been willing to participate in the action lent the campaign its initial credibility.

A powerful viral element had been built into the campaign from the get-go, leading to activation of consumers of the media platform on which the campaign had been launched. In this way, message recipients themselves became the media channel responsible for spreading this information outside the boundaries of the standard reach of the medium on which the message had been published.

The motivational elements of this campaign had also been strategically well-placed. Even though the promised cash prize had been thrust center-stage, it was in fact, completely in the background. The primary motive for taking part in the campaign was the opportunity for several active participants to obtain a verification of their competency, since they were one of those who had assumed correctly which of the published caricatures would be voted the best. This potential media exposure gave the participant hope of achieving higher visibility and wider recognizability, which comes close to the feeling of “being famous” on the level of subjective experience, and which is one of today’s strongest motivators for such consumer behavior. The cash prize is an added compatible element aimed at involving as many people as possible in the process itself.

You really still don’t know which campaign I’m talking about? If you missed it, it may be because this campaign by Kruševac-based factory Merima was launched in July and August 1961.

The fact that “likes” were mailed by post then, and are sent by clicks now, hardly alters the fact that this campaign had all the elements that a good marketing campaign has to have today. And today it’s that much more important than it was 57 years ago.

There’s an example that there’s still a lot to learn from us (old folks). Still, don’t heed us too much, and keep doing your own thing, cause, after all, we’re learning so much more from you – every day, in every way.

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