Pure WOM marketing or just child’s play?

At exactly 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 28, 2008, hundreds gathered in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, pillows in-hand and ready to battle.

One local news station reported the number of “pillow toting Facebook enthusiasts” to be over one thousand, making this brawl “one of the largest pillow fights ever.”

From West Michigan’s WZZM 13:

“It just started with me inviting about 100 people to the event on Facebook. It was originally just for a few friends and then it just exploded,” said Rob Bliss who organized the event.

Participants squared off in teams based on the color of their shirts. And then the drama started to build.

The clocked ticked down as the theme song from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly western blared from speakers.

“Then at 2 o’clock I blew my horn and I almost died basically,” said Bliss.

That was when the sea of colors swarmed the middle of the circle, and people started smacking anyone in their path with pillows.

“It was just epic. There were so many people and everyone was attacking every one and half the time you were hitting your own team by accident because they were getting in the way,” said Rick Waldmiller a member of the Black team. “I tried to bring the biggest firmest pillow I could find and work with all my Reds and it worked because I hit a Blue so hard his face paint came off,” said Mary Brandt pointing to the blue stain on her pillow.

Take a look at some video of the massive pillow fight.

With enough buzz, this week’s event in Grand Rapids just goes to show how effective word of mouth can be, especially when social media gets involved.

What do you think … was this public pillow fight word of mouth marketing at its best, or just a few hundred midwest kids having fun?

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