Can Buzz/Word of Mouth be artificially created?

I've got a question, can Buzz/Word of Mouth be artificially created (or forced)? I noticed the other day, during my daily internet surfing, there is whole business around world of mouth marketing (WOMM) and they recently had a convention, because of course, there is actually a Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA).

Once I saw this, I had to start doing additional research - and my goodness - there's a whole world out there trying to create BUZZ. To my surprise (not), big companies have been trying to create buzz, and in some cases in very unethical ways. But this conference was trying to figure out things like "ethics" (kinda an oxymoron for marketing), WOMM Campaign ROI and sessions on "how to", integrating into full media plan, etc.

There are even several companies that specialize in WOMM and BUZZ - one being BzzAgent - they're interesting because they have over 150K "buzz agents" out in the world, taking free samples of a product (called a gift) and trying to create a "buzz" around it. Interesting concept and probably a lot more cost effective than running ads in the mass media. Also, seeding the market with product is nothing new - in fact, all the "gift baskets" and SWAG actors get for being a presenter is nothing more than getting a high end product in the hands of "influencers".

But can buzz really be manufactured or artificially created? I don't think real buzz can - that is actually created by unknown market influences - it can be manufactured and it can't be tracked - and there is surely no way to determine the return on investment. Companies have tried to create it - I recently found a blog, started reading, thought it was really strange, then figured out it was actually sponsored by General Motors (artificial buzz) - at the point, I quit reading.

BTW, site is called " who is benjamin stove" - don't bother going there, except to be amazed at how companies just don't get it.So, I answer my own question - buzz can not be manufactured or artificial and really be buzz.


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