ViralÂ marketing. The term just sounds sinister,Â Â doesnâ€™t it? Like its name implies, itâ€™s a way of spreading your message like a virus from person to person. How do you do it? By creating content that begs to be shared with others. Sometimes, itâ€™s aÂ funnyÂ video. Other times, itâ€™s a unique application that performs a really cool function.
So, which companies have used viral marketing to spread their brand to the masses? Here are 11 viral examples we can learn from.
1. Hotmail- Hotmail is one of the most classic examples of successful viral marketing. They offered free e-mail to the masses, and simply attached a signature at the bottom of each e-mail message that promoted their free service. Every single e-mail sent by a Hotmail user contained this message, thus spreading it like a virus. Recipients would see the ad, and as a result, they too signed up for Hotmail.
2. Subservient Chicken- Burger Kingâ€™s 2004 viralÂ marketingÂ campaign for their chicken sandwiches shows just how fun going viral can be. The Subservient Chicken was a man dressed in a chicken outfit who would perform whatever action you commanded him to. Just one day after the siteâ€™s launch, one million people had already given their commands to the subservient chicken.
3. Watchmen- One of the most recent examples on this list, Watchmenâ€™s viral campaign has consisted of fake newscasts and mock PSAs. Judging from the buzz online, these videos are doing their job. Fans are pumped up, and anxiously awaiting the movieâ€™s release.
4. Jack in the Box- The latest Jack in the Box campaign is another new example of viral marketing. During the Super Bowl, Jack in the Box ran a commercial (in some regions) that featured Jack getting hit by a bus. The commercial urged people to visit www.hangingtherejack.com . Unfortunately, the site wasnâ€™t ready for the surge in traffic, and it crashed during its biggest chance to go hot.
5. Dark Knight- The Dark Knight viral campaign was one of the most widespread of its kind. It included everything from websites for Gotham Cab company to a real life campaign for Harvey Dent. The point is thisâ€”the campaign engaged people on a different level. And you canâ€™t argue with the results. The Dark Knight made ridiculous amounts of money at the box office and on DVD. Of course, there were other factors involved (Heath Ledgerâ€™s death, and just how great the film looked,) but the viral campaign succeeded in creating unprecedented amounts of hype.
6. Transport for London- This is one of my favorite examples on the list, because I can say from personal experience that I helped spread their virus. In this video, youâ€™re asked to count how many times the white team passes the basketball. Of course, thereâ€™s an unexpected surprise that accomplishes two thingsâ€”it makes the video highly share-worthy and it promotes their message without shoving it down your throat.
7. Smirnoff- Smirnoffâ€™s viral â€œTea Partayâ€ video was an instant hit. It features preppy, Ivy League white boys doing a rap about throwing a tea party. The video just begs to be shared with others, making it a viral success.
8. Dove- The Dove Evolution viral ad is effective because it sends a unique, positive message about the true definition of beauty. And this video really did spread like a virus. Not only did it get nearly 2 million hits within a monthâ€™s time, but it also received attention from top TV shows Ellen, The View, and Entertainment Tonight.
9. Peerflix- At the time of launching their viral campaign, Peerflix was a new company offering P2P DVD trading. Playing off the Hollywood theme, they created an online paparazzi game that made participants capture scandalous photos of celebrities. Within just 90 days, 2 million people had played the game, and 5% went on to view the Peerflix website. Thatâ€™s a significant boost in brand exposure.
10. Bob Dylan- To help promote hisÂ greatestÂ hits boxset, a viral campaign was created that allowed users to send messages in the form of the classic Subterranean Homesick Blues video. I love this idea because itâ€™s simple, effective, and engaging.
11. Simpsons- WhenÂ theÂ Simpsons Movie came out, it boasted one of the biggest opening weekends of the year. While itâ€™s easy to say this was because of the showâ€™s illustrious history, the producers believe thereâ€™s more to it than that. In fact, they said the viral marketing campaign was the reason for the filmâ€™s great success. This campaign consisted of everything from changing 7-11s to Kwik-E Marts to allowing online users to â€œSimpsonizeâ€ themselves.
Which viral marketing campaigns are your favorites? Share them in the replies!