Friday, May 13, 2011

Do It Yourself Viral Marketing at the Drop of a Hat.

Want to get a little attention? Wear a hat. Oh, not just any hat. Make a statement; in fact, make a bold enough statement so that you’re shown repeatedly on TV, in photographs, to the extent that you’re a viral phenomenon. Were we paying any attention to Princess Beatrice prior to the royal wedding here in the states? Nope. Overnight, she certainly has become intriguing.

All because of a hat. Yes, a little ceremony she attended helped too.

While the event has boosted Princess Beatrice into the spotlight giving her 15 minutes of fame, it’s not only her turn; the “common” man can join in the fun too. And while Princess Beatrice's rise to popularity has endured long past 15 minutes, there are others riding her coat tails or maybe fumbling for the pins that hold her chapeau in place.

I happened to have The Today Show on yesterday morning, half listening while checking emails. Matt Lauer caught my ear when he mentioned a Facebook page called Princess Beatrice's Ridiculous Royal Wedding Hat that had over 136,000 followers.

Abandoning those important emails for just a moment, I immediately jumped over to Facebook and ran a search. That particular page, oddly enough, didn’t come up in my initial search using “Princess Beatrice hat” as my key words, however, a large number of pages did come up on the subject.

Scanning the first thirty produced grins and giggles. A more popular one boasted over 5,000 followers, while others appeared to be in their infancy, with the bulk of them ranging between 17 and 227 fans. Page name highlights include (brace yourself people):

•    Princess Beatrice pretzel hat appreciation society
•    Princess Beatrice's angry hat
•    Princess Beatrice of York One Of A Kind Rocked Her Hat
•    Princess Beatrice's Ovarian Cookie Cutter Style Hat
•    Princess Beatrice's hat looks like a uterus
•    The awkward moment when you see Princess Beatrice's hat for the first time

A healthy mix of positive and negative.

There were several that resounded with a similar theme:

•    Princess Beatrice's hat looks like a reindeer
•    Princess Beatrice looks like an antelope in that hat
•    In loving memory of the deer that gave its life for Princess Beatrice's hat
And my person favorite: "Hey Princess Beatrice, Lady Gaga called. She wants her hat back !"                                                                                                                
Other folks with photo altering software, have also claimed their brief bursts of fame by creatively adding ornaments to the hat or placing the hat on babies and celebrities.

Fergie jumped in the limelight too by appearing on TV. Now, this is despite the fact that she was nowhere near the hat when it became famous, but for the reason that she spawned a child and could offer commentary about the recent turn of events.

And perhaps all this attention spawned the recent decision to auction off the hat. Proceeds go to two great causes, UNICEF UK and Children in Crisis. This is enough to boost Princess Beatrice into another yet another realm, full force into the public eye as do-gooder for worthy causes. The world is now your oyster. Marketing by the hat.

But Princess Beatrice isn’t the enduring trend here. So what is? Stay tuned for part two.

The hat is currently on Ebay. Click here to place your bid!