This Video Proves That Humanity Exists

Non-profits often use ‘shock tactics’ in their marketing campaigns. Think of starving children, depressed animals or for example, a former cancer patient dying after choking at a barbecue because no one around him knew first aid.

For this video below that’s supposed to raise funds to purchase jackets for freezing children in Syria, you would think they’d incorporate the same kinds of tactics, but not the SOS Children’s villages fund based out of Norway.

The Low-Down

What the video does so well is that it captures your attention from the first five seconds, the most crucial time to engage a YouTube audience. 11-year-old Johannes sits cold and shivering at an Oslo bus stop after someone stole his jacket. The viewer is asked “What would you do if you see a freezing child?”

As the first minute progresses you wonder what will happen. A few people interact and have a conversation with him as his teeth chatter from the bitter cold. You sit feeling helpless, and wait… will these people give their jacket to Johannes?

Helping Freezing Child With Coat Viral Video 1

In this hidden camera set-up we’re not seeing another bus-stop prankvertising initiative, instead we see nothing short of heartwarming acts of kindness, from not just one person, but several. These citizens are men and women both young and old (and not to mention good looking too. If this is really a true reflection of Norwegian society, please someone sponsor my visa or introduce me to a Norwegian female, preferably single and between the ages of 22-25, thank you).

Of course, when they share their pieces of clothing with him (cue uplifting music), his cute little face brightens up and consequently, so does the person viewing.

Helping Freezing Child With Coat Viral Video 2

The last question, “Are you a person who would act when you see someone who needs help?

Now that’s a question that hits the soul and ta-daa! In that moment the necessary calls of action appear.

Why did it go Viral?

When we watch videos like these, don’t you just want to smile? Don’t you get that warm fuzzy feeling pouring through the depths of your chest? Those feelings you have are exactly why this particular campaign went viral, because naturally, you want to share your feelings of happiness with others.

On the contrary, who wants to share something that makes people sad? Shock tactics don’t work in social. The last thing you want to do is make someones day worse, and who will get likes or retweets for doing that?

Furthermore, because SOS used your typical looking Norwegian kid, there was more impact. A feeling of greater closeness to the protagonist. More feelings of empathy than sympathy, because Johannes looked like that sweet little youngster from your neighborhood block. If the protagonist had featured a war-torn Syrian child in Syria, there just wouldn’t be the same effect because the understanding is not there.

The Results

At the time of writing, the SOS Barnebyer group have raised 2.3 million kroner ($380,000 USD) in a little under six days.

They’ve received over 12 million views on the video, just a few million short of the total number of views that the nine year-old UNICEF YouTube channel has received in it’s entire lifetime.

Non-profits should take the route of SOS more. We can change the world with the power of social media, we just need to understand what connects.

Meanwhile, after trying to get in contact with SOS’s PR manager, their automatic response email replied that their email volumes were unusually high. I wonder why?

Not bad for an hours work and a camera, huh.

Helping Freezing Child With Coat Viral Video 3

5 Great Viral Marketing Campaigns & Why They Worked

In recent years viral marketing campaigns have been the lifeblood of what us marketers do best, with the greatest strategies catapulting its stars into the national and even international limelight.  But what does it really take for your campaign to go viral?

We take a look at five successful viral marketing campaigns and demonstrate what businesses, big and small, can learn from them.

1) “Goat 4 Sale” – Doritos

The first golden rule when creating a viral marketing campaign with a punch is to tell a great story. This simple yet effective principle was put into practice by the latest winner of Crash the Superbowl, an annual competition hosted by snack giant Doritos where one fan-made commercial is given a primetime advertising spot usually reserved for up to $1 million.

The winner’s ‘Goat 4 Sale’ video tells a slightly sinister tale and successfully promotes the brand’s fun side whilst discreetly marketing the product in hand. Crafting a video with a compelling narrative is an excellent way to get your brand the reach it deserves without shoving your products in the faces of your target audience.

2) “40% off Bubbles” – Threshers


Whilst this campaign doesn’t take on the usual multi-media viral format, it thrust the well-known wine chain into the public eye for all the right reasons. By forwarding a 40% off wine and champagne e-voucher to a select number of their customers ‘accidentally’, the brand experienced a sales meltdown.

Whilst this viral campaign was no mistake (the brand initially claimed that the voucher was released accidentally and was for supplier use only), the cocktail of scalability, secrecy and a hefty customer discount, made this campaign an overnight success meaning the voucher and brand spread like wildfire via email and social media.

3) “Mad Men Yourself” – AMC / Mad Men

The Mad Men Yourself campaign, launched on behalf of period drama series Mad Men, marked their then upcoming third season and after half a million hits in the first seven days alone, its seems AMC’s viral marketing efforts  didn’t go to waste. The show experienced record ratings in season 3 and best of all, the campaign is still a hit today!

The interactive nature of this feature allows users to create a retro version of themselves and the campaign’s instant success and longevity prove that getting the audience involved is always a great idea.

4) “1m Hits for UK Release” – Demand IT / Paranormal Activity

The cult film Paranormal Activity and their advertising partners Demand IT used the social media scene to create a buzz about the new release. The social campaign needed one million hits to launch a showing to a limited audience across a select number of areas. The lesson – creating a demand for your product and inspiring a certain urgency for your audience to know or view more is the secret to their success. Even today after too many sequels of the low-budget horror, we still admire the curiosity and appeal created by this viral strategy.

5) “Dumb Ways to Die” – Metro Trains Melbourne

Public service announcements aren’t known for their prominence on the marketing scene but this viral from Australian Metro Trains seems to have changed the face of public service for the foreseeable future. Why does it work? The video provides the perfect mixture of cuteness, catchiness and violence, which if used correctly can turn your campaign into a viral sensation.

There are a number of tactics you can use to make your viral campaign a success with viewers, from the use of emotional marketing and action sequences to creating an element of surprise or disgust, all rely on just a few factors to engage, inspire and entice an audience to want more!

This post was written by Brittany Thorley from Think Big Comms, a PR agency that specialises in ethnic communications to get brands of all sizes and backgrounds noticed.


6 Hilarious Ads That Prove Weirdness Sells

There are plenty of ways to market products and services to consumers. There’s time-tested methods that boost brand recognition, customer loyalty and persuade that something is worth buying. Then there’s the weird viral ads that come from an angle no sane marketer would think appropriate, yet somehow they’re the ones that end up with all the success.

1. PooPourri

How would you market a product designed to be sprayed before using the restroom? You couldn’t just come out and say why it’s appealing, could you? Well, according to the makers of PooPourri, of course you could! Their commercials addressed a taboo topic with humor and bluntness to demonstrate the product’s appeal to their target audience.

The fact that PooPouri’s “Girls Don’t Poop” ad approached the topic with such audacity and wit is what made it a viral success.

2. Dumb Ways to Die

The topic of death is slightly less taboo than the topic PooPourri addresses, but it’s still fairly uncomfortable. You normally wouldn’t use it as the focal point for an advertisement, yet that’s exactly what Metro Trains did for a public service announcement. The ad itself shows the many “dumb ways to die” that involve trains. It gained momentum for the weird but brilliant way it informed people to try their best not to die around trains.

3. Orbit’s Gum “Tournament” Ad

Replacing swear words with other less offensive phrases is usually viewed as an acceptable way to circumvent swearing, but Orbit Gum’s “Tournament” ad takes it to an entirely new level.

Clever phrases are used to emphasize just how clean Orbit Gum can make your mouth feel. The message is clear, even if it’s delivered in an odd way.

That tackiness, allusions, and innate oddness are what made this ad so popular.

4. 1st For Women Print Ads


1st For Women is an insurance firm which markets its services specifically to women. They illustrate this with two-page advertisements that illustrate how much smarter women can be when compared to men. Of these ads, the one to gain the most momentum among social media is one where three guys are proving how poking an electric fence probably hurts. The tag line of “That’s why we insure women.” is what makes this ad so effective—it is reminiscent of now-infamous ads from the early 20th century, when women were regularly portrayed in a similar way. The 1st for Women ad is sexist and callous, yes, but it is doing something right if it’s had so much success on social media.

5. The Dollar Shave Club

Long shots that follow a charismatic spokesman selling razors sent directly to your door, featuring a small child shaving a man’s head and a man dressed in a bear costume, couldn’t possibly get any weirder. The thing about this ad is that it worked. It utilized “random” humor, incorporating elements that made the viewer really feel as if the man in the ad was talking to them.

6. Kmart’s “Ship My Pants” Ad

This entire ad campaign is based on the fact that the word “ship” sounds terribly similar to another word—a word that cannot be said on television. The whole ad watches like the result of a marketing exchange between the Kmart and a giggling 13-year-old, but its popularity proves that it works.

Kmart uses this similarity for comic effect and shock factor, playing off the idea that everyone knows what they’re alluding to but in the context of the ad the allusions are completely innocent.

Odd Might Mean Viral

While these six examples show that weirdness can mean success, that doesn’t always mean that oddness will work with your intended audience. There’s always the chance that it could backfire on you and actually cause you to lose customers. So, if you feel like getting a little edgy with your advertising and attempting a viral ad, keep in mind that any controversy over a confusing, disgusting, or otherwise offensive ad could be blamed on you.

[ Informational credit to Marketing Exchange ]

Chinese Jewelry Brand Qeelin Recreates The Qilin

More than once, I’ve mentioned just how great the marketing stunt that ‘Blairwitch Project’ pulled to promote their movie. With practically no budget, they put together a website dedicated to the Blairwitch, a [made up] story about a witch that supposed to have been taking people but no one knows what the witch does with them.

Oddly enough, a luxury brand in China tried to pull the same marketing stunt.


China is a pretty difficult market to crack for any brand. You have to contend with the culture, confusing laws, languages and an actively evolving consumer mentality. It is but understandable for any brand, especially for a luxury one, to come up with some marketing stunt that will rise above the clutter.

Qilin, a high-end jewelry brand, wanted to make a splash. Fred & Farid Shanghai, Qilin’s advertising agency, took inspiration from the inspiration of Qilin’s name, Qeelin. Qeelin is an old Chinese mythological animal made of lion, ox and dragon. For years, the qilin has been represented as sculptures in front of temples or pictures in traditional paintings but nobody has ever seen a living qilin.

Fred & Farid Shanghai decided to take this myth and make Chinese people believe that Qilin really existed.

How They Did It

Fred & Farid Shanghai manipulated old photos and photoshopped Qilin in it. They then commissioned some of the popular bloggers on Weibo and Wechat, the two most powerful social networks of China.The bloggers then posted the photos on their sites. Almost immediately, people caught on and a great debate on whether or not the myth was, in fact, real. They also created a video were the Qilin was supposed to have been caught by the camera.

#Babyqilin# immediately became a hot topic as others joined in the debate and yes, some of those who joined in the discussion firmly believed that Qilin existed. Some blogger even researched the original photos and videos to prove that it was all a hoax.


The campaign resulted to more than 30,000 reposts, 15,000 comments on Weibo and 35 million views, in just 5 days.

After four days, Qeelin and Fred & Farid Shanghai came clean and revealed that it was all a stunt to promoted the relaunch of Qeelin. The important thing was that 2.1 million people attended the post reveal on Weibo. Hoowever, there is a huge difference between attention and proper branding.

The discussion should go into the kind of image that it attached to the brand of Qeelin. As a consumer, how would you feel about a brand who knowingly created a hoax just to get attention. There will always be two sides. There are those who will think it was pretty cool for a brand to trick millions of people and then there are those who would think it is a cheap shot at getting attention.

For Blairwitch Project, the stunt matched the product. It was a movie. It is fiction but Qeelin is a brand that sells expensive jewels. I personally wouldn’t advice my client to create a hoax but then again, I am not from China.


Advertising Agency: FRED & FARID SHANGHAI
Title of Ad: #BABYQILIN#
Advertiser/Client: QEELIN (KERING GROUP)Chief Creative Officer: Fred & Farid
Creative Director: Feng Huang
Copywriters: Aser Cao, Frankie Shen
Art Directors: Pierrick Jégou, Wei Tang, Linh Vu, Pauline Pérol
Brand Supervisor: Guillaume BROCHARD
Advertiser’s Supervisor: Guillaume Leroux
Retouchers: Am Wang, Henry Lam
Producer: Wang Chen
Media Strategists: Yi Zhang, Sen Liu

Emotions Are the Key to Viral Marketing

Picture a primitive family gathered in a dark cave dwelling, listening intently to the patriarch in the clan as he tells a cautionary tale in the glow of a roaring fire. Now, envision a few of a king’s best launderers weaving a yarn amid soapy washboards. Finally, imagine an aging grandfather sitting on a porch stoop with two bouncing grandchildren, one on each knee, eagerly anticipating the conclusion of his story.

For countless decades, oral storytelling has been an integral part of our literary history and culture. Filled with fear, entertainment and nostalgia, these tales that have been passed down from generation to generation never lost their momentum and were eventually recorded in some fashion or other. Despite obvious differences such as ethnic background, time period or audience, each tale or yarn had a similar purpose that kept this pastime alive … it evoked an emotional response.

Relevance in the 21st Century

With digital marketing campaigns struggling to become noticed amongst all the noise, there is no doubt that the key to viral marketing is similar to that of oral storytelling; it must trigger an interest or show true emotion to become widespread and memorable.

Think about the last video that you shared with a friend or saw was shared many times in your Facebook newsfeed, blog or Twitter account. Then, consider the questions below.

  1. What was the video about?
  2. What made the video so interesting?
  3. Why did you/your friends share the video?
  4. How did the video make you feel?

In focusing on the final question, your response might have been similar to “Well, it was funny. It taught me a lesson. It really pushed the envelope on some hot topics. That made me want to cry. I couldn’t help but smile and feel good.” From this, a viral video is born. We share these videos because they spark a particular emotion that is inbred in our human nature. Like a good story, we can’t help but spread the news.

How Do We Use Emotion to Drive Marketing Campaigns?

1. Be Captivating

Ultimately, having a creative and engaging title will drive your campaign. This is the first aspect that viewers notice when experiencing and sharing a viral video. You need something captivating enough that your audience cannot help but make that initial click to view your content. Without engagement, your content will cease to exist to viewers.

Always remember to make sure your title encompasses the message of your campaign. This will generate the curiosity of your viewers while giving them the opportunity to make meaning from your efforts. For example, Clarity Way sponsored a video titled Bath Salt Zombies. While a simplistic title, it created enough mystery and vagueness that it intrigued viewers to see what it was all about.  The video highlights the side effects of your body on drugs. The name is intriguing and the video was timely. It was created on right the heels of the extensive media coverage of the “bath salt epidemic”.

2. Show You Care and Others Will Share

Around the holidays, it’s often easy for marketers to create the magic of the Christmas season among consumers. However, since this campaign technique is used so frequently, a campaign must go above and beyond to make that magic or excitement happen in order to stand out.

Naturally, it’s important to evoke emotion right away, but avoid hitting your audience hard with branding to avoid sounding spammy. Your goal is to connect with your audience and find a way to make them feel something. Tell a story that allows your viewers to place themselves in the shoes of the characters onscreen. Therefore, when marketing to your audience, you are being genuine, honest and showing that you truly care about your customers.

When in doubt, tell a story that sends your viewers on an emotional ride. For instance, WestJet Airlines weaves a magical, philanthropic campaign that creates a genuine experience for its viewers. They create a video that chronicles the impossible becoming possible, a miracle of sorts. Keep your audience in suspense and let them experience joy, happiness, sadness, hope and countless emotions to become a memorable campaign.

3. Generate Unique Content That is Poignant

When including emotions as a viral video marketing technique, you should think about what emotions will really evoke a strong, positive response to put your product in the best light.

While a genuine curiosity or interest will help you generate initial clicks for your video, consider what most people want to view by doing research. After gathering your data, try to put a spin on your campaign that matches others’ common interests but is unique to your brand.

Campaigns tend to focus on loving and appreciating yourself and the idea of being yourself, and what it means to be unique in your own skin. For example, Dove released an emotionally captivating campaign on how we and others view ourselves.

By channeling raw emotion and focusing a product on how it satisfies the needs of its user, you can generate a viral video that will showcase your campaign and that is backed by trust and loyalty to its customers.

What Does it All Mean?

Bottom line: Be inspiring and be viral by sending your audience on an emotional rollercoaster. Hit your viewers with what they connect with most … human nature and our ability to feel.