How an intentional typo error made this brand go viral

Visible is a Denver, Colorado-based telecommunications company that recently launched a new mobile plan campaign for $40/- per month. They put up about 150 hoardings across Denver to promote this new plan. The communication in almost all of them was a standard, “Unlimited messages, minutes, and data on Visible’s $40/mo phone service”.

Now here’s the twist – A handful of those billboards had a typo. Instead of ‘messages’, it said, ‘massages’! Now, this was intentional, of course. Visible, a Verizon brand, is using the typos to compare its easy, no hassle service (no physical stores) and its affordable pricing to relaxing, stress-free experiences, like a massage.

But, the internet is a cruel place where grammar trolls are waiting to pounce, especially on brands with big agencies. As soon as the billboards went up, people started noticing and began participating in the Internet’s favorite pastime, which is to point out other people’s mistakes. So as expected, the social media messages started trickling in almost immediately, including a local news anchor who noticed it and tweeted.

Various opinions were offered – #fail, fire your copywriter, who is your agency? and so on. Right off the start, Visible was taking on everyone who pointed out the ‘typo’ with witty responses.

Visible kept the theme going by acknowledging the comments and pumping out social quips like, ”oh cram (instead of crap) we messed up,” and “Hey we are a phone service that we think you are going to really knead (instead of need).”

All the buzz finally led to a mega ‘Massage Party’ where the brand actually gave out free, unlimited massages to the thousands of people who responded to their ad typo. And yes, even their doggies were invited!

Massage chairs and masseuses were on hand—for doggie massages too—with the option to have a CBD Oil massage. Giveaways included towels, eye masks and essential oil bracelets. Kombucha was the beverage of choice.

Visible CMO Minjae Ormes says “This is a way for us to have an actual kiosk and brand ambassadors and to introduce our product and the brand in a fun and engaging way,” she says. “What we’ve seen in these tests, whether leading up to this event or our South by Southwest activation, is that people really do respond well to experiential elements that are part of something they already care about. We’re trying to make a contextually relevant and mobilized message but really inviting them into the core of our brand.”

References & credits: 1000 things to do in denver, chief marketer.

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