meaning. Hotmail’s approach kept the power of the brand and therefore its meaning, equity, andpotential for building preference in its message and provided a way, through a hotlink, in whichconsumers could immediately subscribe and get more information on Hotmail and its brand.With Ray-Ban, if one reads the comments posted on sites like YouTube concerning their viralvideos, very few even know what they are really watching. Most think only they are good videoswith the discussion centering around how the videos were made not about Ray-Ban, its “NeverHide” campaign, or even sunglasses. So what is Ray-Ban trying to do?BRAND Must Retain ControlWhat marketers must remember is that for any brand to be successful, the BRAND mustcontrol the flow, content, and meaning of the message it conveys if it wants to increase marketshare and all-important preference. The power of any good brand lies in its ability to connect
with the target audience on a highly-charged emotional level. This connection and meaning,however, can only be molded and derived from the brand itself, NOT from individual consumers.Rather than a single cohesive and comprehensive brand meaning, the brand would have as manymeanings as there are current and potential customers, a marketing model that is inefficient andprohibitively expensive. Ray-Ban is not alone in jumping on the viral marketing bandwagon.While the promise still exists to exploit this kind of marketing in a way that is truly brand-centricand can unleash the true power of brand, marketers have yet to uncover the formula. For mostbrands, viral marketing is a virus brands can still do without.