I applaud Interpublic Group and its Emerging Media Lab for dabbling in social networking. A firm, firm believer that branded social nets will be an important marketing tool, I think this particular effort in conjunction with SocialVibe, will not work. Not in its current incarnation.
Using micropayments to consumers to endorse brands, even in cause-related marketing feels forced. SocialVibe as a branded third party intermediary is where the idea falls down for me. Social nets bringing people together on marketers’ sites does make sense: Pampers talking baby ass, Milk Bone talking dog teeth. Volkswagen talking energy conservation and greening even makes sense. But the whole payment thing based on a personal endorsement — even to a cause — feels like a marketing dud. Another example of a technology looking for a marketing idea?
If IPG learns from this effort and creates a means by which marketers can turn up meaningful social nets, with ease, brand relevance and differentiation, it will have a winner. Though I would bet on Publicis rather than IPG in this space, I’m hopeful IPG pulls it off.