In some cases, the Internet viral marketing campaigns below just did not take off but in other cases they backfired causing negative instead of positive publicity. Here is a good example of what happens when a seemingly good idea does not scale to the exponential power of online word of mouse. Sony is on the list of some of the biggest companies in the world that tried to create online buzz through what many saw as outright trickery. This viral marketing example brings up the question of whether some brands are just unmarketable online. I grew up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and had not heard of the ATHF cartoon show before this interesting case study came to my attention. I cannot resist saying a few more words about the Toyota campaign which, apart from the gross misjudgment on the part of the marketing executives involved, is actually a pretty good example of Internet viral marketing.
Do you have insights, strategies or a story about viral marketing to share with other readers?
In order to be noticed, you have two options – to be like others and just advertise your product (and be like everyone else), or do something unexpected and unusual. Viral marketing is, first of all, an interesting story, that people share with their friends, family, and colleagues. Do not do as the creators of the TV Episodes – do not end your video at the most interesting moment. When your content can shock and makes people’s jaw dropping, then people will share it with friends and family to cause the same reaction.
The viral marketing examples below may not all be 100% viral sensations for every brand every time, but they are the surest bet towards getting more shares. Trending hashtags, trending topics, and breaking news stories are always exceptional viral marketing opportunities. Your fans and followers are giving you viral marketing examples to follow all day long when they comment. If you’re getting lots of positive comments on one particular type of article, this is your cue to create more content around that idea. Even if you’re brand new, with no fans or followers, there are still the content streams of other accounts to look through. There are great viral marketing examples out there of brands tapping into pop culture and seeing incredible share numbers. This harkens back to the earliest sharing opportunities when we had the ‘Forward’ button in our email. It seems like people have only one truly international pastime, and it’s debating the more trivial things in life. The standard news media is all about reporting the big, scary things going on in the world. Often times, the biggest hurdle you’ll have to get over for viral marketing is your lack of social proof. If you know you have great content that will be shared if it just has a little extra push, it may be the right time for you to buy a Twitter retweet service for your tweeted content, or even purchase a Pinterest Likes and repins package.
Social media marketing is about adding value to the newsfeed and timelines on your followers.
Creating a contest that adds a share aspect to it as part of entry can go viral in a heartbeat. It’s so simple it’s painful: One of the surest ways to get more shares, and increase your chances of going viral, is to ask for it.
I have discussed the ingredients of online viral marketing campaigns as being networks, passability and remarkability and have highlighted why some famous viral marketing campaigns were so successful. When the Starbucks Coffee Company decided to release an online coupon to promote their line of iced beverages in the summer of 2006, they did not count on the message going viral. Whether or not their motives were sincere or not, we may never know but in the months before Christmas of 2006 they hired a guerrilla marketing firm to create a fake blog to promote its Playstation Portable (PSP) game console. As well, we have to consider the difference between viral marketing and the more commonplace online branding, both of which Walmart has tried and failed at in recent years.


In promoting a movie release back in 2007 the makers of the show hired a Guerrilla Marketing firm to put up mysterious electronic mini billboards featuring a character from the movie around several major U.S. If you can swallow the horrible idea that making people think that they were being stalked is good promotion, you might admire the fact that Toyota's campaign contained a number of integrated as well as interactive components. Firstly, the way the Toyota marketers figured they would trick people is by having friends sign them up to the joke unknowingly. An ingenious campaign by VariTalk to let fans send personalized phone messages to friends in lead actor Samuel L. This oddly titled clip is based on an Internet meme - an idea that gains huge cultural significance as described in detail in Seth Godin's foundational e-book on Internet viral marketing - called a€?All your base are belong to usa€? (or a€?AYBABTUa€?).
Perhaps you have been able to achieve viral marketing success or want to recall another major viral marketing success or flop!
You can’t find more effective method when you need to spread your message among your target audience. Okay, you have already gained the attention of your audience to your successful viral message.
Your main task is not only to create cool content, but also to make all necessary conditions for easy and convenient distribution. Creating content that is highly shareable is the first step in any viral marketing campaign.
While you can use these trending ideas on any platform, they tend to work best on the RIGHT NOW obsessed Twitter.
If there’s a trending hashtag on Twitter about #crazydogstories, and you sell dog food, jump on that. They may not be saying it directly, but they’re telling you the type of content that they want you to create. When many people are asking a particular question over and over, create some content that speaks to those needs.
Find your competitors, read what their fans are saying, and create content that will take them away from those competitors. There are also terrible examples which fizzle out and end up with the brand being nothing but thought less of by its current followers.
The summer blockbuster movie isn’t going to be worth much of a mention if your business is air duct repair. You’ll need to do a bit of tracking on your clicks, which is simply enough with a tool like bit.ly, to see what’s being shared and clicked on.
We know that email marketing is still effective, take what you’re learning there and apply it to your social media marketing to take those results forward.
This could be just the tool to get your post shared instinctively by your followers who want to be part of your successful viral content. You can also try tagging as part of the entry as that’s a different kind of viral marketing where people are drawn to the content, rather than the content being sent to them indirectly via a share from a friend. In this article I want to look at the flipside which is big online viral campaigns that fizzled.
In other cases, companies tried to be too clever or even downright deceptive and sought viral marketing stardom by a€?flogginga€? - fake blogging a€“ and other online a€?no nosa€?.
The coupon was intended for use by Starbucks employees in a select number of states but ended up being posted all over the web and e-mailed to countless others. It is hard to estimate just how many people got a hold of the coupon but soon stores all over the world were receiving it and many had to stop honoring it which led to negative publicity. The a€?floga€? was entitled a€?All I Want for Xmas is a PSPa€? and purported to chronicle the efforts of a couple of teenagers trying to convince their parents to buy them a PSP for Christmas that year. Perhaps if they had let viewers know that it was a marketing gimmick things would have worked out, or at least not turned out so bad.
The company has suffered a number of prominent online viral marketing and social networking mishaps that would seem to indicate that, well, the brand is just not web-ready. This a great example of built in passability which is one of the ingredients of viral marketing. The phrase comes from a badly translated line from a Japanese video game became an Internet sensation because of its absurd hilarity. The word a€?memesa€? was coined by famed evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his groundbreaking 1976 book a€?The Selfish Genea€?. Read on to start building your plan for the best viral marketing examples for tweets, blogs, Facebook updates, YouTube videos, and all other digital content!
If there’s a trending story on Facebook about a new space discovery, and you sell orthopedic shoes, you’d better hope that discovery was Martians have foot alignment issues.


If, however, the big summer blockbuster happened to have the hero crawling through air ducts, you may have something there. People like them as a quick way to spend a few minutes, and they can start a discussion like few other things. People are much more prone to share a piece of content if they see that someone else has already shared it. In some cases, companies were simply ignorant of the undesirable and unforeseen consequences of their seemingly innocuous marketing activities.
Instead, the site posted fake comments by fictitious visitors and the marketing gurus also manufactured fake viral tie-ins to other websites and event a rap video by a fake a€?Cousin Petea€?. Walmart has tried to build an online shopping presence for years but that has not worked either. A public Facebook page Walmart put up in 2007 came to an early end when users began posting criticism and even vandalized the page. It is a great concept when done right but the Chevrolet campaign created such mixed results that to this day it is hard to say whether or not it was a a€?successa€?. While it seems like a good idea, they triggered a bomb scare in the City of Boston which took the devices to be similar to improvised LEDs. While this is not really a case of Internet viral marketing (which needs to be tied into an online presence), it does bear mentioning as a case where efforts to create a bang can be misconstrued or grossly overdone. Online viral tie-ins like fake e-mails and MySpace pages were then supplemented by fake bills in the mail and other real life artifacts. Like genes, memes are evolutionary a€?building blocksa€? but of of thoughts, ideas or concepts that are transmitted from person to person and down generations. To do this, people must be so inspired by your advertising message that they want to tell and show it to others. A large part of using pop culture as part of your viral marketing is how you’ll tie it together with your brand. The way you’re going to really do viral marketing is by getting someone to go ‘Yes, I want to share that with my friends!’ People are more apt to want to make their friends feel good than bad.
You make it important by sharing things with them that they want, and free stuff is what everyone wants! If your message includes a call to action to share they’ll be much more likely to react with a share. It also tried so hard to be a€?trendya€? by misusing teen coolspeak that the ploy became obvious.
Walmart deserves credit for the interactive features of the page such as quizzes and tie-ins to products and services, but the company did not anticipate the backlash of the online community. It may just have been a bad decision by giving a mouthpiece to the anti-SUV crowd just as the many opponents of Walmart's policies and practices have a forum online. Chevy bought an entire episode of the hit TV show a€?The Apprenticea€? in which Donald Trump's would-be apprentices sold car dealers on buying Tahoes. Internet memes expand on this by using the exponential power of the worldwide web in connecting unlimited numbers of people instantaneously.
This efficient and cheap way of advertising can be much more effective than multi-million dollar advertising campaigns. You can create the whole trilogy, like Lord of the Rings, or use Jason Statham, as in Fast and the Furious =) And only then you can introduce your brand. The same happened in 2006 with a blog called a€?Walmarting Across Americaa€? about a couple traveling across the country in an RV and spending nights in Walmart parking lots. As an online tie-in, the company created a website that gave viewers video clips and the editing tools to create their own versions of ads. Viral marketing in a sense is an effort to manufacture memes so that they become the medium through which a marketing messages are transmitted.
There were over 600,000 visitors to the site over 3 weeks with 30,000 ads created by users.
While the vast majority of ads were well-meaning, a significant number of anti-SUV ads that subsequently went viral on sites like YouTube created a large amount of bad publicity for Chevy.



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