He’s a bit controverisal and a little eccentric, but there’s no question the famed Soup Nazi is one of the greatest genius marketers of our generation. Up there with the likes of Walt Disney, Steven Jobs and Elon Musk. The Soup Nazi understands branding to a tee and values the importance of live experiences and experiential marketing.
It’s no accident (in every scene) that there is a line out the door from the soup stand because his customers simply can’t get enough! Even more amazing, most of his customers are new and have yet to have tried his product – every brand’s dream. To achieve this, the Soup Nazi implements several key strategies all brands or marketers should explore when creating a marketing plan.
Word of Mouth Marketing
In today’s world of constant advertising bombardment, brands are relying on new and innovative ways to not only speak with audiences but advocate their services in trustworthy manners. This is why word of mouth marketing is so important. People are more likely to listen and trust brand advocacy when it’s their friends and family speaking – not the brand directly (traditional advertising).
Everybody who tried the soup made by the Soup Nazi raves about it. In 1995, when the episode aired, there were no cell phones, or social media to speak of and online advertising was practically non-existent. Based on financial ad sale numbers at the time for a 30 second spot in the New York metropolitan area, it’s safe to assume the Soup Nazi was not running commericals for his stand alone shop. With no form of traditional marketing, the only way to really achieve the level of success and soup hysteria was through word of mouth.
The Experience is Everything
According to Jonah Berger’s best selling book Contagious – Why Things Catch On, the Soup Nazi phenomena hits on several principles that makes things go viral – in essence, it gives people access to an experience worth talking about!
What that means is the Soup Nazi gave his customers the high impact of social currency found at his restaurant. Understanding how to develop social currency allows brands to drive higher customer loyalty and build social proof.
By physically going to the soup stand, you’re officially a soup insider, tasting the best soup in the world, just ask Jerry or Elaine. In a city filled with many other soup options, hearing how great this particular one is by a trusted family member or friend, drives strong feelings. It has emotional resonance which gains momentum in virality.
What About Real Time?
Traditional marketing methods fall short on its ability to be observed in real time. Successful advertising disrupts. It causes people to stop what they’re doing and hear what a brand has to say. The Soup nazi achieves this beautifully. Seeing people wait in line 3 blocks down the street adds to the social conversation, as it disrupts New Yorkers in an irregular manner.
The Story Drives the Experience
Most importantly, the Soup Nazi was an experience. Sure he has great mulligatawny or Elaine’s favorite (Lobster Bisque), but this is really more than just great soup, he has a great story. One that not only included people enjoying his product, but excited to tell their friends about – even if they were banned for life (sorry George).
In this particular time of possible quarantine, the event industry may be on hold for a few weeks, but it is certainly not going anywhere. Just look to the Soup Nazi to see why experiential events are so valuable. People will always crave connections and experiences… live events are and will always be the best way to achieve that.