Over 500,000 people visited Farnam Street last month to expand their knowledge and improve their thinking. Work smarter, not harder with our free weekly newsletter that's full of time-tested knowledge you can add to your mental toolbox.

Tupperware parties are back…

Big Brands are eager to reconnect with consumers after losing ground to private labels over the last few years. Increasingly, they are turning to in-person social networks to sell their wares.

While companies such as Kraft, P&G, and Kimberly-Clark (KMB) continue to pour money into TV and Web advertising, they're mindful that consumers are programmed to “resist the sales push,” says Ronald C. Goodstein, a marketing professor at Georgetown University. “The advantage of word-of-mouth is if I'm giving you a personal recommendation because we're friends, you don't counterargue that.” The downside, he says, is that partygoers may find brand-sponsored fetes a turn-off and wonder if their friends have sold out for the sake of some coupons and freebies.

Although the efficacy of this kind of bottom-up, buzz marketing is difficult to measure, companies will spend an estimated $2.2 billion on word-of-mouth marketing this year in the U.S., according to researcher PQ Media. That's 43 percent more than in 2008.

Continue Reading in Business Week