Mich_stadium_10_10_1Update: with a gentle prod from commenter Brian Brown, I changed “viral marketing” to WOMM (word of mouth marketing). That’s what I meant to say.

Oh and started to post this a few days ago. It’s been a busy week. I went to the Michigan/Wisconsin football game last weekend in Ann Arbor, MI.

Wow. (Full disclosure: I don’t go to Big 10 games that often so I was, well, wowed…)

You can see that Wisconsin is holding off Big Blue at 10 – 10 here (final score Mich 27 – Wis 13). What a scene! It was deafening. It was cool. Like being at a rock concert where everyone knows every word to the songs.

A record 111,000-plus fans did “the wave” in perfect flow around the stadium, first fast, then slow. The stadium is immense; they call it the Big House in case you’re not a Michigan fan. The crowd groaned, in unison, if one section didn’t get it right.

My husband and I were among the very few wearing red hats (we both went to grad school at UW-Madison). Our son is a law student at Michigan and, along with everyone else, wore the requisite yellow T-shirt. (They call it maize.)

Here’s what struck me: this was viral marketing WOMM (word of mouth marketing) on steroids. OK bear with me. My analogy may be stretching it a bit. The university sent out the word earlier in the week via email: Wear the NEW yellow shirt (there’s a new one for every season). And everyone did!

Show up at the stadium at 12 noon sharp for kick-off. And everyone did.

Scream your head off for three hours straight. Everyone did.

Do The Wave. Do the “you suck” cheer. Sing the Michigan fight song (it’s gotta be the best football fight song). And everyone did.

Now how do you get 111,000-plus people together and create that same kind of energy, enthusiasm, and cooperation (there was no pushing or shoving) for your own cause? How do you harness the kind of passion Michigan Wolverine fans exhibit? To persuade and inform whether it’s a political campaign or a new product?

There’s gotta be a way.

And if my analogy to WOMM doesn’t work for you, what the heck. It was a great game.