Viral marketing is a marketing method which takes advantage of existing social networks and media in order to increase brand awareness. Its objective is achieved by encouraging people to spread the word (your marketing message to be precise) in a way that resembles a fast spread virus population or computer virus.
The internet is a powerful tool which allows more people to be in touch faster, cheaper and all at once. One simple message can be communicated in an instance and portrayed to millions of people all over the world in less than a minute. To top it all off, news and gossip has never travelled faster since social networks came into existence.
This random video which had its own site (www.megawoosh.com) appeared on the internet one day and spread like wild fire, reaching over 4 million views in a short time. Microsoft Deutschland later revealed that it was their creation in a “making of” video – the Megawoosh site now forwards to the project’s German Microsoft site.
Viral marketing takes complete advantage of a specific side of human nature: the need to gossip and find out about exciting information. It can be carried out on the internet or by word-of-mouth, and is especially effective when it appeals to the receiving party’s personality and interests – luckily, there tends to be a whole audience of people fitting a specific profile.
Viral campaigns can come in different shapes and sizes, such as video clips, brand specific applications and software, images, advergames (video games which advertise a product, service or opinion), Flash games, external webpages and so on.
Many viral campaigns, especially videos, are launched anonymously. Viral videos are often made to look like they were ordinarily user-filmed and give no indications that there is a brand behind the whole thing. The responsible party then usually reveals their brand and the association to the video after reaching the desired attention level.
The road to creating a successful viral marketing campaign is identifying people with high Social Networking Potential (SNP), especially those who are at risk of being snatched up by competitors, and produce messages that appeal to this segment.
This great example of successful video viral marketing shows a group of guys performing stunts to get into a pair of jeans. The video was sponsored by Levi’s Jeans.