So, Viral. What do you think of when you hear that word; “Viral?” Sickness or something that spreads like wildfire and makes your life miserable. Hopefully? Maybe? Or maybe I’m just a terrible person. Don’t answer that…moving on…
The keyword there is, “spread.” From a bodily standpoint it sucks, but from a marketing perspective it is absolutely glorious. If you can successfully spread your brand, your message, or an idea across the masses and infected the populous as much as possible, mission freaking accomplished.
But what is the best way to spread an infectious video, ad, or tweet? I’ll give you my top 5 characteristics of a viral campaign. I sound like a crappy clickbait Buzzfeed article already. I promise this will have better content.
1.) It has to be Hilarious
Listen if what you’re promoting isn’t funny, don’t bother in my opinion. It has to resonate with your funny bone, it has to make you laugh. They say laughter is the best medicine, but with Viral Marketing its the best way to make it spread. If something is Laugh out Loud funny, or “Lol” for those of you who don’t know how to spell words, people are more likely to share it with friends and family. If something is SO ridiculous that everyone in your six degrees of Kevin Bacon need to see it, you’ll make sure that they know about it.
Lets take a recent example. During the 2018 Super Bowl Tide created a campaign that went viral. . It starred Chief Hopper from Hawkins, Indiana. Or for those uninitiated, David Harbour from Stranger Things on Netflix. Or maybe you know him from that terrible Hellboy reboot, I digress. He Hijacked the Super Bowl in 2018. Watch these now, and then continue reading, please.
Funny right? Tide essentially hacked every single commercial. They were able to subvert everyone’s concepts of what the beginning of each commercial means to us. A running behemoth horse you think: Budweiser. In a car on the road talking to yourself? One of those weird ass Lincoln commercials with Matthew McConaughey. That makes you laugh, and you can’t wait to see what commercial they’re going to spoof next. This is great way to make your audience laugh, poking fun at all the other commercials and not taking itself too seriously. Not only that, but it bores this concept into your head: Is every ad a Tide Ad? I guarantee the next time you go to buy detergent you’ll buy Tide. Going to the store is a very boring affair, but if you giggle a little when you see Tide, you’re probably going to pick that up.
It has to be simple, short and to the point. If something is complicated and it makes you run around in circles why bother? Why waste your time? Tide Ad is simple. They’re 15 seconds clips, with a short and easy to remember tagline: “It’s a Tide Ad.” Boom done. Me personally if an add is over 30 seconds and its not simple to the point and funny, I don’t care. I know many people like the 1 min + emotional commercials about shirts or sneakers, not me. Its boring. Shoes are shoes I need them on my feet, they don’t make me cry or make me remember fond memories of my dead relatives. I have a small simple human brain that needs endorphins to laugh.
3.) Content that produces content
Content is king right? How many marketing books, and narcissistic blogs about marketing have we read at this point that drives this point home? Well, it’s true. Now this is an older example, but still relevant. 2010 Old Spice campaign with Isaiah Mustafa. You know that guy on the horse, and diamonds coming out of his hands? Yeah, of course you do.
This video alone has over 56 million views. That being said I might have watched this on loop at least 25 times, as I’m writing this. So -25 from that number. But what they did next was an amazing way to engage with its users and also create more content for people to eat up.
Mustafa responded to people’s tweets and Facebook posts almost immediately. Those response videos have been viewed more than 40 million times just by themselves.
An example; On Facebook some guy named Jonathan Korn had written to him saying: “Could you say my name in a funny way?”
How great is that? For more of his response videos check out this link:
He did this 116 times. That’s 116 more pieces of content in real time. Amazing.
Yep another Social Media marketing buzzword. But important nonetheless. For those who don’t know what Reach is, it is: A metric that details the number of users who come across content through social media platforms. If you don’t have that now-a-days you got nuthin.
So referring to the Old Spice campaign above here are some numbers:
Total views: 56 Million
Day One views: 5.9 Million views (More popular that Obama’s victory speech)
Day Two: Old Spice accounted for 8 of 11 of the most popular videos on YouTube
Day Three: 20 Million views
Day Seven: 40 Million views
Twitter following: Increased 2700%
Facebook interaction: Increased 800%
Website Traffic: Increased 300%
Impressions generated: 1.4 Billion
Needless to say. It was a YouTube video which was spread across Facebook and Twitter, and reached MILLIONS of people.
You should always set objectives. If you make something hoping to go viral you will fail. What do you want to do? Increase awareness? Customer interaction? Promote something?
Back to Old Spice. What do you think they set out to do? I think they wanted to change their target market. Growing up, Old Spice was known to me as the Grandpa product. No one under the age of 60 would ever use Old Spice. I think they knew this and decided to switch gears to get that coveted 18-34 market. How did they do this? Easy. What do 18-34 years old in America enjoy? Humor and Sex. So they got a sexy guy spouting random crap that is hilarious. Look at the above numbers and tell me that it didn’t work. I dare you.
You see all those embedded videos above? They are video widgets. Those are the backbone to any viral campaign. They allow information to be shared fast and easy. That Old Spice commercial? The reason it spread so fast? Look below
You get instant access to all the social media powerhouses instantly. With 1-2 clicks people can spread your internet disease across the social media multiverse. It’s important that these are included, or you know your social media platform of choice or blog is set up for these, or else your virus will be eradicated faster than small pox.
For example look to your right. You want to see my tweets, or Instagram posts of video games and my kitten? Those are widgets! Want to follow me? There is a follow widget right above it. You should click it….