Sometimes actually seeing viral marketing examples helps explain this marketing technique. Viral marketing is a marketing method by which content is passed by word of mouth from one person to the other. The content may support the company's brand, or simply generate the coveted buzz or excitement among customers. Viral marketing is spread much in the same way viruses and germs are, passed along from user to user. The Internet makes this method of engaging customers very easy, but it also makes competition fierce. Successful viral marketing examples will give you insights into what works and what doesn't work in the new world of viral marketing.
Three Real-World Viral Marketing Campaigns
Seeing is believing, and seeing can also mean understanding. Visiting the websites and clips of popular viral marketing examples can help you understand and incorporate the basics into your next campaign.
1. Will It Blend?
Most people know about one of the great viral marketing campaigns of all time, the WillItBlend campaign. Those behind the campaign are demonstrating how the Blendtec blends anything, and they mean anything. From avocados to an iPod, they've tortured the poor blender with everything but the kitchen sink (and the kitchen sink is probably next week's video).
Here's why the WillItBlend campaign works so well:
- It's funny, evoking laughter from almost everyone who sees the videos.
- It's truthful to the brand and supports the company's brand promise: this blender blends anything. Yet it never strays into television commercial territory.
- It shocks by the sheer absurdity of it. No one in their right mind would place expensive electronic devices in a blender. However, by demonstrating the strength of the blender on plastic, viewers intuitively understand that it's strong enough to chop ice cubes for their daiquiris.
2. Quizzes and Zombies
Viral campaigns aren't limited to video, although video makes for some of the most powerful examples. Quizzes can be part of a viral marketing campaign too.
In Survive a Zombie Apocalypse, the viral quiz helps readers determine whether or not they could survive a catastrophe - specifically a zombie apocalypse. Now not many will go through this, but in the off chance that zombies roam the earth, readers can get a score. This particular quiz is very popular among teens and spread like wildfire.
Here's why the Zombie Apocalypse quiz works as viral marketing:
- It's scary, making people think, "What if a catastrophe did happen? Would I be prepared?"
- It's unexpected. Many people write about the 2012 Mayan prophesies or the catastrophe of global warming, but not many truly believe zombies are real.
3. List Mania
Readers love lists. They're easy to scan through on the web and easy to share. Creating a list that becomes a viral marketing campaign may be as easy as brainstorming a "top ten" category related to your product. One great example of a website that uses lists as a viral campaign is Life Hacker. The pages have received well over a thousand Diggs, which means that over a thousand people have voluntarily shared it - and the advertising content - with their Internet world.Lists may not follow all the tips for great viral marketing campaigns exactly, but they are perhaps the easiest for most marketers to incorporate into the marketing plan, and can be just as effective as video or other media. The trick to transforming lists into viral campaigns is to ensure they contain evergreen content and appeal to a broad a swathe of the population. Since a huge number of Americans are sleep-deprived, promising sweet dreams is a sure way to grab attention.
Resources for Viral Marketing Examples
More viral marketing examples may be found on the following resources:
- The Techipedia site's examples of viral content underscore many of the tips to create great viral marketing campaigns. There are many examples and additional types of viral content listed on the site.
- Tech Crunch provides examples including Facebook's own viral marketing efforts.
What Works in Viral Marketing
Viral marketing is virtually free advertising for any company. After the initial cost in time and effort invested in the campaign itself, the actual sharing of the message is free for the company who originated the message. But getting customers to engage in the content and share it among friends, family and coworkers can be tough.