Viral Marketing Initiatives

The first time I heard the term “it went viral”, was about the time YouTube and its popularity many years ago.  YouTube has been at the top of its game for making never heard of products, become popular around the globe.  Then there is Twitter.  Twitter even emails you tweets that are trending.   There are many reasons as to why some things go viral over others.

Here are my top 5 characteristics as to why some campaigns spread like wildfire.

1. The product or service is offering something free or at a very big discount.


One of the best viral marketing campaigns that offered something to the public that made their campaign go viral was Virgin Blue.  In 2009 Virgin Blue did the unthinkable in celebration of its 9th anniversary.  Virgin Blue simply sent a tweet saying it would offer $9.00 tickets in honor of this special day.  1000 domestic tickets were sold in a matter of 3 minutes.  Sure the company may have lost a lot of money by doing this, but the return on this investment helped them achieve more Twitter followers than it could have anticipated, and now they have increased their brand loyalty, and have given consumers a reason to pick them over other airlines.  The payoff in the end is what matters, and they were successful at doing so through Twitter.


2.  Do something that makes people intrigued.


There is nothing I like more than looking at a product or service and saying, “WOW, how did they do that?”  One of the most popular viral campaigns to stop and make people go HMMMMM was the will it blend campaign.  Tom Dickinson, the founder of Blendtec, was so proud of his total blender, that he let Facebook followers decide what he would blend in the total blender, and then filmed himself blending these items and putting the videos all over the Internet.  The goal of the company was to create brand awareness and that is just what they did.  Blendtec won an advertising award for this campaign, and increased their brand awareness by the corkiness surrounding all of these crazy videos blending almost anything they could get their hands on, including a brand new iPad.

It sounds to good to be true but here it is

3. Make people laugh


People love to laugh.  In today’s world with all the hustle and bustle people love to sit back and have a good laugh.  Absolute Vodka approached Zach Galifianakis, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, and wanted them to make a no holds barred video, and the only stipulation was that they mention the word Absolute.  Leave it to three comedians to get the world laughing by their crazy antics and funny one liners.  The videos went like wildfire on the Internet and have seen over 3 million views on YouTube.

Enjoy this hilarious viral video

4. Involve the Audience


I have always loved a good horror film, and there is nothing that upsets me more when I see constant trailers for a movie, that will not be showing anywhere in my general vicinity.  When buzz spread about Paranormal Activity a few years ago I was pumped and couldn’t wait.  It was like The Blair Witch project all over again.  The movie was made for only 15,000 and the executives took to social media to get fans to demand it to their local theatres.  The Internet spread with this like wildfire and it became the #1 tweet trending on Twitter.  They focused on social media, word of mouth, and the scare you out of your seats video of how fans that screened it reacted to it with them being filmed in the theatre itself.  Well this video got my head spinning at even the thought of it not being anywhere for me to see it.  That movie was such a success with over 100 million dollars in revenue.  Wow the poor of social media and the Internet.  Look how many views the original trailer had on YouTube.

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 8.44.43 AM

Here is the link to the original trailer that got everyone talking about this film

5. Keep it Simple

To get a campaign to go viral it is important to keep it simple and to the point.  Don’t oversell the product, but use subliminal messages to keep the product or service in the minds of others.  Make it desirable without over doing it.  The old saying less is more is important to being successful. Keep it original and don’t get stuck on other campaigns from the past.  Originality is key, and be quick and to the point.  Always include share and like buttons to get the buzz rolling.

Getting a campaign to go viral can’t be predetermined, but with the Internet, the world is your oyster.


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