Bug-Eating Guy

When I read this blog post’s title, do I feel like forwarding it to someone else?

No.  It’s disgusting.

Am I a guy?

Blog Diva is certainly not a guy.

According to a 2007 report on viral marketing campaigns from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, "disgust-based and fear-based campaigns…[are] more likely to be forwarded by male recipients than female recipients."

If I were a high-tech company with guys as my target market, "disgust-based" might be very good to know.

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Here’s the bug-eating guy’s story from The Los Angeles Times, 7/30/08 (My attention was drawn to this article by, yes, a guy reading the print edition of The Roanoke Times but I couldn’t find a link online):

"Lost in the rocky, remote Australian Outback, a former pest exterminator faced dehydration and death. Desperate for food, he turned to what he knew best — bugs, he said Wednesday.  Theo Rosmulder, 52, managed to survive for four days by feasting on termites and other insects before local Aborigines happened upon him Tuesday and brought him back to civilization."

Here’s the abstract from Why Pass on Viral messages? Because They Connect Emotionally, by Angela Dobele, Adam Lindgreen, Michael Beverland, Joëlle Vanhamme, and Robert van Wijk:

"In this article, we identify that successful viral marketing campaigns trigger an emotional response in recipients. Working under this premise, we examine the effects of viral messages containing the six primary emotions (surprise, joy, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust) on recipients’ emotional responses to viral marketing campaigns and subsequent forwarding behavior. According to our findings, in order to be effective, viral messages need to contain the element of surprise. By itself, however, surprise is not enough to guarantee message success; therefore, it must be combined with other emotions. The effectiveness of the viral message is also moderated by gender, with disgust-based and fear-based campaigns being more likely to be forwarded by male recipients than female recipients. To ensure forwarding behavior, the message must capture the imagination of the recipient, as well as be clearly targeted. Moreover, achieving fit between a campaign and the featured emotions is important, as this ensures an increased chance of forwarding. In addition to relaying these and other findings, we share and discuss the managerial implications of using different emotions in viral marketing campaigns. Finally, culture is recognized as an influencer."

I studied the full article in search of what entices women to forward marketing messages.  I appreciated this from the authors about their study vs. the research literature as a whole:

"…the literature still does not empirically identify the impact, if any, of gender on referral behavior. Our findings contributed on this important topic by identifying empirically the impact of gender on referral behavior." (303)

Blog Diva’s choice from the "six primary emotions (surprise, joy, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust)"? 

Joy, of course.

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