As our recessionary hangover drags on, you're probably thinking of evermore-creative ways to engage customers. But Drew McLellan of the Marketing Minute blog offers this caveat: "As you are crafting a new campaign or gimmick that you hope will go viral—always ask yourself, is the juice worth the squeeze for my audience?"

To make his point, McLellan analyzes a playful, interactive campaign from his local pizzeria Ciro's that riffs on the Flat Stanley project (where players mail flat "guests" to each other and share pictures of their adventures). The top of the pizzeria's delivery box includes a large cartoon image of its Ciro character tossing a pizza, and comes with these instructions:

  • Cut out the picture of Ciro.
  • Keep him handy on your next adventure.
  • Take a photo of him in an interesting place.
  • Email your photo of Ciro to the pizzeria.

Photos accepted by Ciro's earn a spot on the restaurant's wall of fame—and a free pizza for the photographer's effort.

"For a poor college student," notes McLellan, "this is probably just the thing to do on a Friday night. Especially after a couple beers. God only knows where Ciro has appeared."

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