John Cleese And The Socially Fueled Tom Tom Break Free Campaign

Hey Guerilleros, this post only came to existence because of the way Tom Tom’s online team approached me, which is exactly how we outlined in THE VIRAL EFFECT. They knew how to capture my attention and gained some precious space here in exchange. Check out how they did it.

See “How To Turn Guerilla Marketing Viral – The Viral Effect

Forget The Pitch, Look To Flatter

Quite obvious, when I get emails that say “hey, would you please write about our awesome campaign?”, I often ignore it. It’s not like we dont have enough social media marketing content to talk about, right?

But the Tom Tom people actually said “Hey, we read you blog, and really loved post ‘x’. We feel like your readers would appreciate this”. Ego-stroking works with me. Works with a lot of people online too 😉

Alright, Their Campaign

Like a good viral campaign, the focus is not immediately clear – as you watch the video, you relate to John Cleese’s whining, you laugh with him, but you dont get to see any product placement.

Great job, Tom Tom!

You only recognize it’s a Tom Tom commercial once you see the link to their Facebook page – and even then, the call to action is not “buy from us”, but “watch more John Cleese videos”. They get it – people laughing on Youtube want to continue to laugh. They maintain that relationship totally money-free to engage users in a social environment. The sale may not come immediately, but establishing a connection with your users expands the reach of your social graph, which increases your customer base and motivates them to buy from Tom Tom instead of using their free Google Maps navigation. Oops…

Wait, Social Graph What?

You’re lucky I didnt say “Klout” 😉

Social Graph is fancy for “all your Facebook fans, twitter followers, youtube subscribers, and foursquare friends put together”. Think about it – I may not buy a GPS from Tom Tom, but as I post the video on my FB profile or tweet about it, I’m increasing the odds a person in my social graph will.

And that’s the whole point – get people talking, sharing, and socializing – so they feel more comfortable opening their wallets, not just once, but as long-term customer.

We’ll talk about socially-driven brand loyalty some other day 😉

Enjoy The Video

Ah, I almost forgot – the Tom Tom people were so nice that I’m even going to post the credits to this genious (!) campaign.


The videos and campaign are created by Pool Worldwide. ( Dutch media agency MEC ( is responsible for media tactics and planning. Content and Motion ( created the global social media and pr strategy.

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