Friday, March 04, 2005

Shameless Sausage Shill

On Wednesday, if you were driving down Market St at around 5 PM, you might have seen someone standing on the median and waving a packet of sausages at approaching traffic. That, I’m sorry to say, was me. On the median there was also a photographer, who was snapping me to illustrate the article I just wrote on word-of-mouth marketing, specifically on BzzAgent, the Boston-based marketing firm that uses ordinary people to promote its clients’ products in everyday conversation. BzzAgent uses these volunteer hucksters (they don’t get paid) to talk up everything from soap to sausages. They do so any way they can: in bus-stop banter, hair salon chitchat, and even pillow talk with their spouses. (Usually they don’t reveal that they are BzzAgents.) Although BzzAgent only compensates its volunteers with free stuff (such as a books or jeans), people are stampeding to sign up. As I write, there are 77, 342 BzzAgents among us (according to the Web site), and BzzAgent has plans for international expansion.

Eager to discover the appeal of Bzzing, I volunteered as a BzzAgent for a few days, promoting a product called Al Fresco Chicken Sausage. (That is why I was waving the sausages for the photographer.) Although the manufacturer described this as an “award-winning” sausage, it was not very good. (Although I am vegetarian, I sampled them in the interests of research.) Actually, the sausage made me feel slightly sick (and it wasn’t because I’m vegetarian—I’ve eaten sausages before when extremely drunk). But undeterred by nausea, for a week I neglected my blog and spent every spare minute gabbling on about Al Fresco Chicken Sausages—in grocery stores, at parties, in bars, and even at a sausage brunch I hosted. (If anyone is interested in a fuller description of my activities, I will post the article on my site when it’s published.) Did I charm anyone into purchasing Al Fresco? No. Did my ravings about sausages alarm my friends? Undoubtedly.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

did you ever stop to think that having "Chicken" in you system may have made you feel ill- You are a vegeterian after all!

8:53 AM  

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