Prepare to Be Boarded

Time keeps mum on new Web site” is the headline atop Brian Steinberg’s Wall Street Journal piece today publicizing “Office Pirates,” the stalwart magazine publisher’s new lad-driven website under development. It arrived with a tantalizing logo and inducement (at left and above), but with “no comments” all around from its masters. Why the mum?

“…details are scarce because in the online world, building buzz through traditional marketing is not only ineffective, it could scuttle the word-of-mouth appeal.”

Hey! What do you call a feature in The Wall Street Journal? Buzz marketing? This catalytic media placement is as “traditional” as it gets. It prompted one of my favorite e-newsletters to key in on the story, further fueling the site’s prospects for building word-of-mouth.

My point? There’s a tremendous fascination with viral and WOM. I just wonder whether the secret recipe holds much spice without mainstream media coming on board to feed the frenzy. And which comes first: online or offline, the chicken or the egg? Would subservient chicken have garnered as much awareness and as many accolades without the MSM’s attention? I’m not so sure.