Long before social media and viral videos, people relied on old-fashioned print or TV advertising and word of mouth to help sell their products. Most of the time word of mouth was dependent on product use, a by-product of being a recurring user and not something the company needed to direct you to do. But some savvy companies have decided to use the idea of word of mouth right in their ad campaigns. To people who grew up in the seventies and eighties, no one did a finer job than Faberge Organics who created the well quoted and often spoofed “and they told two friends” ad campaign.
“and they told two friends”
In the ad, a young woman explains how wonderful this new shampoo is and then proceeds to talk about how they liked it so much that they told a friend. That friend in turn told another friend and, well, you can see how that could keep going. They drive the point home by dividing the screen up and multiplying the actor, showing how quickly the message about how amazing this shampoo can spread. Like a virus!
This commercial was VERY popular and was frequently cited in my home growing up for years after the initial ad campaign had terminated and as I mentioned, it has even been spoofed in movies like “Wayne’s World” and various TV shows.
Why was it such a success? Maybe it had to do with the simplicity of the concept combined with a simple but effective visual? Or maybe it was the talent they chose for the commercials. Here you see Heather Locklear in an early eighties ad.
Whatever the case this amazing ad is still often cited and is worth knowing about, so watch the spoof and the Locklear commercial, then check out some of the other ads that used this gimmick. Including the one below that breaks the fourth, fifth and sixth wall as it tries to warn us not to accept imitators.
Now the next time a person makes this reference, you can smile with full understanding of its provenance. Heck, maybe you might want to make the reference yourself to a couple of friends. And then they can tell two friends, and so on and so on.