Linux Marketing Campaign Seeks $350k in 40 Days

Posted by dcparris on Apr 11, 2007 5:47 AM EDT
LXer - Linux News; By D.C. Parris (Charlotte, USA)
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LXer Feature: 11-Apr-2007

Linux marketing project hopes to raise money in 40 days to sponsor an Indy 500 race car.

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Lobby4Linux announced an ambitious project to raise $350,000 or more to sponsor "Team Linux" with a big logo on the side of an Indy 500 race car. The Tux 500 project combines the efforts of volunteers at Lobby4Linux, Bob Moore, a visible GNU/Linux administrator, and Acceleration Marketing to sponsor the race car. If the group raises the money in 40 days to become a primary sponsor, the Linux name stands to reach millions of households. The Team Linux effort is not about marketing Red Hat or Novell to IT professionals; it is about making GNU/Linux a household name.

Contributors will be eligible for prizes, such as a trip for 2 to the race, pit passes, ipods and computers, depending on the contribution. Additionally, the project will be selling bumper stickers, t-shirts and coffee mugs to aid the fundraising effort. The project has a fall-back plan that involves lower-levels of sponsorship, but still significant recognition. For instance, a logo could grace the hood of a car, or smaller logos might be placed elsewhere on the car. If the project raises more than necessary, they will use the excess funds to make a bigger splash. Additionally, the project is being audited by members of the GNU/Linux media.

Historically, GNU/Linux has been marketed through word-of-mouth to end users, many of whom have never encountered GNU or Linux prior to a friend's introduction. The approach wins a handful of new users at a time when successful. The GNU/Linux community, however, needs to reach the masses. With no mass-marketing effort, the average computer user still doesn't know what GNU/Linux is, let alone to ask for it. Thus, major retailers use the excuse of no demand to reject requests for computers with GNU/Linux pre-installed. Since vendors are not willing to give people a choice, it is imperative that the GNU/Linux community reach beyond word-of-mouth advertising.

So far, the community reaction at has been enthusiastic, with LXer readers offering suggestions for bumper stickers, t-shirts and other individual-level contribution ideas. If the idea catches on with corporate sponsors and individuals alike, at least 5.5 million television viewers - not counting print media audiences - could be seeing Team Linux on the Indy 500 track. That kind of audience could prove a boon to computer retailers, including Dell and HP, selling GNU/Linux pre-installed. Corporate players typically look out for themselves, and the larger community of around 30-40 million GNU/Linux users will need to pitch in. All that's needed is less than a $1.50 from 350,000 community members.

The importance of a good marketing campaign cannot be understated. Firefox realized its greatest marketshare gains in the wake of its first major advertising campaign - also undertaken largely by the Mozilla community. Although the Tux 500 team is hopeful that major corporate players in the GNU/Linux community will pitch in, it could, theoretically, succeed on the one-dollar (actually, $1.34 for Paypal donations) contributions of 350,000 community members. However the community plans to support the project, they'll need to get started soon. They have 40 days to meet the goal.

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Subject Topic Starter Replies Views Last Post
Make it Champ Car sponship and I'll donate $100 TOP2percent 28 3,322 Apr 20, 2007 6:27 AM
But Why? stevem 40 2,374 Apr 18, 2007 7:55 AM
So WRONG! Thanks, but no thanks. magicfab 38 2,587 Apr 15, 2007 7:30 AM
You may be a redneck if... cubrewer 2 1,939 Apr 13, 2007 7:12 AM
Supplimental Advertising theboomboomcars 7 1,903 Apr 12, 2007 2:51 PM
... Or 3500 OLPCs instead ? stephanfeb 3 1,790 Apr 12, 2007 7:56 AM
Thank you Don helios 32 4,566 Apr 12, 2007 6:46 AM

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