What’s the buzz about?

One San Francisco restaurant has taken buzz marketing to a whole new level.

Buzz marketing is a viral marketing technique that attempts to make each encounter with a consumer unique and a spontaneous exchange of information instead of a calculated marketing pitch. It is synonymous with word-of-mouth marketing and has seen growth in popularity in recent years.

There are many examples of brands using buzz marketing, but I haven’t seen an example quite like Botto Bistro, an Italian restaurant in San Francisco. Contrary to what you read on Yelp, this one star restaurant actually has many loyal customers. After being blackmailed by Yelp, owner David Cerretini began offering customers 25 percent off for a 1-star Yelp review. In a matter of days, the restaurant has generated a flurry of press and hundreds of 1-star reviews on Yelp. While Yelp and Cerretini continue to battle out their differences, Cerretini is refusing to back down, claiming he’s attracting higher-paying customers who are quite loyal.


Although this is an interesting example we typically don’t see in buzz marketing, there are a few takeaways to learn.

  1. It is reasonably priced. Buzz marketing doesn’t have to be expensive and some of the time, it reduces the need for traditional media and can be free of charge to generate.
  2. It is unique. Buzz marketing is impulsive and an attempt to meet consumers in spontaneous means, especially twentysomethings who remain uncertain of traditional advertising.
  3. The Internet is a resourceful platform for buzz marketing and just about anyone with a computer and marketing skills can create buzz in some fashion.