A viral marketing campaign can make or break a brand. It can increase a company's cred, but it has to be something special to have an impact.
4. Establish the brand parameters with the client and explain the risks and opportunities of viral marketing. For conservative brands a badly executed or poor taste viral can do more harm than good even if you do get the numbers. A better strategy than treading the bad taste line can be promoting safer viral content through advertising on targeted media sites to ensure the viral does not have to rely on notoriety to get user numbers.
5. What brand collateral do you have to work with? Many recent virals are part of integrated multimedia campaigns. Is there an ad campaign launching that can be adapted to viral marketing? An example is Reebok's Terry Tate Office Linebacker.
6. Hold a brainstorm and don’t be afraid to think laterally. Like all marketing, all good virals start with a great idea.
7. Test the concept before you launch it. Have you overstepped the mark, or is it too conservative? Would you pass it on?
8. Release it to the world. Use existing databases, push it on viral sites and consider using some advertising, if the budget allows, to provide the initial impetus.
With thanks to Chris Colby, Netcoms Consultant, Hill & Knowlton (UK) Ltd
Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/ Y&R / Rushes Post Production
Virgin Mobile Wristband & Better Service
The other is www.tokyo64. com – an Onitsuka Tiger brand site that features secret footage of Japanese Olympiad, Yukio Endo, having his heroic breath captured.
The Hero Breath cans are a handheld advertisement while the online work reflects the story of the short film. All executions hold masses of water cooler talkability yet tap into the Japanese heritage of the brand, while demonstrating the product benefits in a memorable way."
Bravo The World’s Deadliest Gangs
If you're on the promotion trail, you need a really good promotion, something that makes it worthwhile.
Jez Jowett, head of new media at Cake
Ensure that it creatively stands out before you release it.
Make sure that there is an incentive for people to pass it on. Then, seed it with early adoptors, PR it with key news, entertainment, lifestyle, and viral sites, and promote it with key partner sites as feature content for their users.
Dave Smith, director at New Media Maze
Go with the idea that is edgiest. A lot of virals start out as amazing ideas and get watered down as client legal teams pour over them.
Spend some money making it work well, plan ahead to ensure you've got time to make it perfect, and then spend some money actually launching it. Don’t treat viral as a cheap option.
Mark Chalmers, creative director and partner at strawberryfrog
Be simple, be topical, and be original. Have a media plan that achieves your goal.
Never rely on a campaign taking off. There are no guarantees. If you let your client down this time why should they believe you next time?
Amy Lennox, head of online, Manning Gottlieb OMD
Be realistic: ask yourself honestly, would you pass that message on?
Be opportunist: You need to be nimble, reacting to stories or rumours quickly – you need to capture the zeitgeist. You need to be funny and sensationalist.
Andrew Brown, creative director, Swamp Media
The really successful virals tap into the zeitgeist. It's the idea that counts.
Have a really good idea and concentrate on how it's seeded – you’re unlikely to spread something around the globe by sending it to all your mates and asking them to pass it on, regardless of what you may have heard about six degrees of separation.
Tim Gibbon, account director, Elemental PR
If the campaign will be of interest to a group of people then it holds the potential to be transmitted virally. If the concept is new, original, fun and well thought out it can create its own viral momentum.
If MPEGS are a must, it will seed and spread better if there's a microsite supporting it for people to download or view it – some email systems block attachments.
Emma McLachlan, account director, Digital Outlook
Use sex and humour! It is the quirky things that work and different takes on the blindingly obvious.
People must relate to the humour you are trying to get across.