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Many clients are users of the GMOOT. It stands for “Get Me One Of Those”. Scott Donaton of Advertising Age coined the term that is, unfortunately enough, not a rare phenomenon in practice. While the notion of a “GMOOT” syndrome is not new, we are seeing more and more of it in digital as the marketplace grapples with accelerated growth and transformational change.
Look no further than the explosion of contests where marketers attempt to exploit Consumer Generated Content with lame calls-to-action like “make us a commercial” or “submit your kooky video extolling our product” (this whole CGC thing is itself another post ). GMOOT can be overheard in boardrooms when the agency is asked to “go create a viral marketing campaign”, “start a blog” or, “build a community”.
Scott contends:

“It’s a phenomenon that helps explain why there are so many lousy viral videos and half-assed new-media initiatives out there. They’re not the end result of a real strategy, but are done for the sake of doing something because . . . well, because everyone else is.”

Steve Rubel of Micro-Persuasion pointed out that the gold rush in Second Life may have been nothing more than GMOOT in action. And Todd Defren of PR Squared (and others) weighed in too. My prediction is that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg as it generates out of the misguided fear of missing an opportunity to look cool or “leading edge”.
If there were ever a time when clients need to look deeper into all of the options presented by new media and the evolving digital world, it is now. However, to combat the GMOOT you need to get involved by getting involved. By that I mean involvement on a personal level before the brand level. Be come a lurker and/or an active participant. You can’t differentiate by simply doing what others are doing from the outside looking in.
Clients need to work harder than ever to avoid the knee-jerk response that leads to a “get me one of those” discussion. Another way to state the case here is to know what you want and what you are asking for. Assess and investigate the landscape by looking at each individual area as an opportunity to research how individuals are using it. Interact within unique eco-systems and gain a deeper understanding of potential fit. You my end up determining it is not for you, but at least you will know and be able to articulate the case.
And, the agency owns a big part of the responsibility here too. They need to take the keys out of client’s hands when they’ve had too much GMOOT spiked Kool-Aid and want to get in the driver’s seat. Agencies with well dressed “yes men” can only lead to trouble. Clients require strategic insight and the right amount of push back when appropriate. And, to know the difference in terms of listening to what they need to hear, not just what they want to hear.
Don’t get me wrong. There are huge opportunities and real business applications in these areas. The real issue is how to go about it properly and avoid being caught up in the storm, using tactic after tactic with no strategy.