The general term 'Viral marketing' doesn't exactly sound very safe or appetising, does it? Viral marketing is when a marketing message is spread via word of mouth and/or keyboard - it's a marketing agency's dream. Not only is word of mouth referral cheap, but it's also proven to more effective than direct forms of marketing as people typically listen to referrals or go with a brand they recognise, than with those they don't. And, as they say, there is no such thing as bad publicity...
Nowadays, viral marketing is most commonly a shared video theme. The advent of social media coupled with the wide use and distribution of Smart Phones worldwide means everybody nowadays has a video camera in their back pocket and a means to publish material to the masses. Social media can then 'fan' the message to literally millions of recipients within just a few hours. It's not always a good thing, the London riots of 2011 were largely rumoured to have spread across the City and then across the country by viral use of Social Media.
In advertising though, humour is often the target approach. But sometimes, clever marketing campaigns can use humour, to make you aware of another emotion. We are, of course, referring to the famous 2014 social media campaign better known as 'The Ice Bucket Challenge'. For those who may have been living in a cave for the last 2 years, a campaign was started initially for the ALS charity whereby people would film themselves pouring a bucket of water over their heads, and then making a charity donation for the privilege of doing so. The campaign was so effective that millions were raised for charities, and if you weren't nominated on Social Media by a 'friend', you probably started to wonder if you actually had any friends at all. Even George W Bush famously completed this challenge.
Source: Mankind 2K, Wikimedia Commons.
Of course, it isn't just charities that use viral marketing as a means to advertise. The marketers over at John Lewis are experts at not only releasing a hugely popular viral advert on television every year (that normally leads many of us to shed a tear) but the public has actually started to expect that same quality, better in fact, every year on year. Adverts are often launched first on social media now. Imagine, people, sharing an advert before it is officially an advert. The 2015 Christmas advert for John Lewis saw the lonely old man on the moon viewing earth via a telescope, and a young girl on earth doing the same in return... before of course, the clever girl on earthworks out a way to deliver a Christmas present to the man on the moon.
But, where there's a good idea, or in this case a great advert, there is often a parody, sometimes more humorous because of the audacity, than the original advert. We refer of course to the Aldi spoof, which presented their own 'cheaper' alternative to the telescope that the man on the moon was using from John Lewis.
Music too can be great for creating viral interest. Find a great 80's Phil Collins Rock track, add a Gorilla playing the drums... and you could advertise... chocolate of course! This sounds too simple to be true but the results for Cadbury were amazing.
The final emotion, of course, is sadness. We leave this one for you to view yourself. It was a famous advert for a German supermarket chain, EDEKA...