A viral video is a publicist’s dream and a marketer’s hope for fame, but the key question is … How do you do it?
Examples of Viral Content
What makes something go viral in the first place?
We examine this question through some of my favorite examples of viral content campaigns:
One of my favorite examples of a company campaign going viral and creating a story worth talking about is WePay and their stunt of leaving a 600-pound block of ice in front of a PayPal conference.
WePay’s execution here was brilliant: For years, people had been complaining about how PayPal would “freeze” their accounts, locking them out from withdrawing the money they earned.
If you sell goods online, your PayPal account could be a big part of your livelihood, so to be locked out and ignored was obviously enraging for many people.
It’s no surprise then that WePay’s jab at PayPal’s willingness to freeze your money was so well received! Press around the story was whirling, starting with coverage on TechCrunch:
“Some of the biggest points of difference that WePay offered were dependability, security, and customer service that PayPal has often been accused of lacking.
Taking a jab at their competitor with this stunt wasn’t just for random, pointless press; it got people talking about a problem WePay truly hoped to address.”
How the heck can you promote a line of blenders? That’s the question Blendtec found itself asking when it wanted to market its new products. It’s tough for a blender to have “social currency,” so what could they do?
Funny. Memorable. Manly. These were the keys for success from the “Will It Blend” marketing campaign.
“Will It Blend” is a marketing campaign consisting of a series of infomercials demonstrating the Blendtec line of blenders. In the show, Tom Dickson,,,
…the Blendtec founder, attempts to blend various, unusual items to show off the toughness and power of his blender.
The genius of this series was not only in how it made blenders a discussion topic (seriously, kudos) but in how the videos showcased just how rugged Blendtec blenders really were.
The showmanship may have been great, but these videos were also moving products. If a blender can spit up and chew out an airsoft pistol, it can most certainly handle any fruits and vegetables that you’ll throw at it.
The Dove Evolution viral ad is effective because it sends a positive message about the true definition of beauty. And this video really did spread like a virus. Not only did it get nearly 2 million hits within a month’s time, but it also received attention from top TV shows.
With revenue continuing its long, steady decline, Kmart teamed with ad agency FCB to reenergize its much-maligned brand and promote its product delivery program by appealing to the fun personality in all of us.
The“Ship My Pants” online video embraces sophomoric wordplay to inform customers that items that are out of stock in Kmart stores may now be shipped directly to their homes for free.
Key Elements of Viral Content
Viral content requires the alignment of the stars, but there are some key elements to look for as part of your campaign:
Play on Emotion
Find content that will touch your audience’s hearts, souls or nerve endings.
In a world that tends to be all business, make folks laugh out loud, cry or blink in surprise (preferably all three) and you will make them remember you.
If your industry is serious, don’t be afraid to make a joke (as long as it’s in good taste).
Find ways to make people laugh.
Use Simple Concepts
Your message should be simple but compelling and without an ounce of excess flab. Just get your brand out there … in a good way.
High-quality content is key. Most people can tell the difference between meat and fluff, and that makes the crucial difference in what they will take the time to read or view and pass on to others.
There’s no need to pretty up your product or fake your viewers out. Ikea’s Herding Cats was real, wasn’t it? Relevance also helps. If you can relate a product to a current event, an issue in your industry or a popular trend, ensure it’s also relevant to your audience.
Offer Help or Be Entertaining
Offer something in return for your viewers’ or readers’ time and attention. How-to tips and instructions, discounts or freebies, and solid news updates are ways you can provide perceived value, which can then be tied to your particular business.
An off-kilter, daring, funny example is the Dollar Shave Club, a parody on the fad of clubs out there. It was hilarious and at the same time chock full of marketing. You’ll need to watch it at least twice to catch it all.
Your goal is not just to manufacture widgets but to make those widgets meaningful and relevant. To do this, you need to tailor your message to your audience.
Use language, images and, of course, a medium that your intended customers will relate to.
The launch video for Apple’s iOS5, for instance, showed casually dressed Apple executives demonstrating the device’s new features with catchy, flashy shots of the product. Although, at almost 6 minutes, this video is on the long side, it has still been viewed by more than 3 million potential customers.
Use the Caring Card
Project that you share the same view of the world as your audience. Connect to common concerns. For example, the International Social Survey Program found, in surveying 33 countries, that the “state of the economy” tops the list of issues considered most pressing.
So the themes of saving money or creating jobs are likely to resonate with your public.
Keep the mood positive, even inspirational, and the chances of being liked or forwarded will increase.
There Are No Guarantees
Now with all that being said, you can select all of the above and put them together into an “epic” vlog and then what? You post it and wait for the earth to move, yet somehow … it doesn’t. There is no way of predicting with any certainty what will go viral and what will merely make your mother happy.
Content, timing and sheer luck play a role in going viral. But that’s the beauty of being viral; some of the best come from a crazy list of ideas which are quickly thought up. They are fast projects, so even if they don’t get the response you hoped for, you have not invested a major portion of your budget.
So think contagious and give it a go…
Article curated from MOBE