A viral campaign refers to a marketing technique that uses pre-existing social networking services. It aims to produce an increase in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives, through the use of self-replicating viral processes, similar to that of a computer virus.
The creative use of this process is something altogether much more effective than a computer virus. Here are 5 examples of some successful creative viral campaigns.
The man your man could smell like.
One of my favourite adverts of all time. The advertisement featured actor Isaiah Mustafa, standing topless addressing female viewers, questioning the use of ladies scented body wash by the men in their lives. Suggesting that he is the man their men could smell like. Whilst I realise it doesn’t sound like much, I highly recommend you give it a watch.
With some perfect comedic timing and a well-delivered performance, this ad uses comedy to sell. And it works! With nearly 48 million views on YouTube and 170,000 likes. I shared this with everyone I knew before I’d finished laughing… after watching it for the 27th time. And they didn’t stop there. At my last count, the Old Spice YouTube channel now boasts over 250 equally hilarious ads, all with views going into the millions.
Kobe vs Messi: Legends on board
After old spice I started to think, what else have I promoted and shared without even realising? And then I remembered Turkish Airlines. I had to question this myself, although I personally loved this ad as a massive fan of both Kobe and Messi; I had no idea how successful it had become. Reaching an astonishing 107 million views on YouTube.
The ad features masters of their professions, Kobe and Messi, aboard an aircraft (Turkish airlines of course) vying for the attention of a child. Through the use of some skilfully funny one-upmanship, only for the child to be won over by an air hostess with ice cream. Another fine example in the creative use of viral campaigning, using the popularity of Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi mixed in with some humour. Perfect and definitely worth a watch… and maybe a trip around the world with Turkish airlines of course.
Real Beauty Sketches
Possibly one of the most moving campaigns I have ever seen. Throughout a series of videos, FBI forensic trained artist, Gil Zamora, sketches a collection of women, without ever actually seeing them; drawing solely from the women describing themselves. He then draws the same woman, again using only a description, but this time the description is provided by people asked to spend time with the women. The results are very emotional. Proving that how we see ourselves is a warped reality. Ignoring the very things that make us unique and beautiful, whilst emphasising every flaw and minor imperfection.
Dove wishes us to realise that the world doesn’t judge us as harshly as we judge ourselves, and with 62 million views, I’d say they were doing a good job.
Taste the rainbow
On March 2nd 2008, Skittles, the much loved sweet brand owned by Mars, daringly transformed their website into a consumer populated online portal. The home page became a live Twitter feed, as YouTube and Flickr took over the sites video and image media pages. The ‘friends’ section of the site became a Facebook fan page. This was initially so successful and popular, it was rolled out it brought down twitter that day!
There is no denying the creative nature behind this campaign, however the success was shorted lived. A mere two days after its launch, Skittles was forced to rethink its strategy. Though they are hardly to blame. Their only fault was underestimating what anonymity had done to the general public. The site was soon flooded with a series of appalling and crass comments. Although it did have everyone talking about Skittles.
Stratos – Mission to the edge of space
On 14th October 2012 Austrian skydiver, Felix Baumgartner, flew approximately 24 miles into the stratosphere in a helium balloon, breaking 3 records in the process. Felix is now not only the first person to break the sound barrier without any form of engine power, he also holds the record for the highest altitude jump, and the record for the highest manned balloon flight. Again I had to question this, but not due to popularity.
With over 8 million people live streaming the event on the day and the mission highlights video now with over 36 million views, the popularity could not be questioned. The question here is whether this could be classed as a viral campaign? As you have probably figured since I have included it, yes, yes it can be classed as a viral campaign. It may not have started out as such, not entirely anyway, but there is no doubt due to its success and popularity that Red Bull will forever be remembered for this.
There is no doubting the success of any of the campaigns above. All with elements that are striking and something you won’t forget quickly; the daring feat of jumping from the edge of space and the equally daring feat of a brand creating an entirely consumer populated site. I hope you agree that the above are some of the finer examples of creative campaigning.
By Content Assistant – Simon Weise