Image from: Virus / Shutterstock
We are a society obsessed with digital. Therefore, to be impactful a brand must know how to be agile in a digital space. Having a battalion of online entities is all the rage, and for good reason; more online platforms means more outlets for content, more exposure, and—yes—a higher chance of striking the elusive nerve of virality that so many marketers dream of.
Here are four cases of great viral marketing. What can we learn from each?
1. Horses and Bayonets and Binders: Irreverence is King
Perhaps the most pertinent example of a great viral strategy is President Obama’s latest, successful campaign for reelection. The maelstrom of media surrounding the dueling campaigns produced more than its fair share of memes and shareable content, most notably the two inadvertent debate taglines ‘Binders full of women’ and ‘Horses and Bayonets,’ which spurred their own immortality as viral jokes.
Combine this with Obama’s superior engagement online and you’ve got a tide of corrosive content—all of which is user-generated—aimed at the opposition. In case like this, where the sheer irreverence of the content lends itself to hoards of de-contextualization creative applications (like Halloween costumes!), consumers do the marketing for you. Just like a real virus, it will spread itself.
2. Fiat’s Photobomb: Risk Can Be Good
Perhaps not the freshest example, but by far my favorite, is that time Fiat photobombed the Volkswagen HQ by parking a Fiat on their front steps just as the Google Street View truck rolled by. You can check out the full story here. It’s not exactly a conventional method of marketing, and it’s probably not something to be emulated, but Fiat did gain at least a year’s worth of free advertising out of the stunt.
3. Innovid: Cats Always Sell
Don’t ask me why, but there is a connection between the internet and cats. There just is. There are cat videos, cat pictures, websites just for funny cat content, and even a Pinterest for cute animals in general. While the rest of us sit, baffled and amused by this phenomenon, Innovid has harnessed the natural virality of cat content and created some great ads for its interactive video service. Check out one such add, ordered in sequence of frames below, and then check out the attention to the site after the last several days.
Cats are one thing, but what about actually commissioning a real-life internet star to do your next ad? That’s exactly what Samsung did when it employed Laina Walker, the creator of the now-infamous ‘Overly Attached Girlfriend’ persona, to personify an ‘Overly Attached Computer’ to push their Samsung SSD (Solid-State Drive). Think of it as HAL’s younger, more pushy sister.
The ad combines the uncomfortable, poignant hilarity of Laina’s creepiness with a humorous sales pitch, and already has over 400k views on YouTube in only a one day.
Ryan La Sala joins Compete as the Digital Marketing Co-op for Compete.com, sovereign of all things social media. Ryan is a current attendant of Northeastern University, dual-majoring in Cultural Anthropology and International Affairs (with minors in Biology and Psychology), with career interests in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and Consumer Anthropology. Aside from acquiring aspirations with big words, Ryan’s other interests include reading cheesy fiction, writing in any capacity, singing and cooking. Find Ryan on twitter @Ryality or connect with him on LinkedIn.