Every brand wants their ’15 Minutes of Fame’ moment, with only 15 percent of ‘viral campaigns’ actually going viral. Viral marketing can feel like taking a shot in the dark and hoping for the best. Seth Godin speaks of why viral marketing campaigns fail nowadays. Marketers want their product to go viral. The product itself may not be interesting enough to create sharing momentum on the internet.
The virality of content on social is determined by its ability to be shareable and interesting. People will only share content that is beneficial to them in some way. Beverland, M, Dobele, A and Farrelly’s findings depict that people share content that aligns with their desire for self-authentication. When people share content that is part of a bigger social context, they seem knowledgeable. One approach to viral marketing that can increase in brand awareness and customer loyalty is becoming part of an ongoing conversation on social media.
Content goes ‘viral’ when shared from person to person. This cycle goes on and on creating more and more views and a buzz around the topic. Now more than ever, we are able to be part of an a community based conversation with the use of social media platforms. Brands put more and more efforts towards creating content that is shareable. What if brands created campaigns around ongoing pop culture trends and conversations?
Lets look at some brands who took advantage of current events and conversations:
The #LikeAGirl by Always campaign generated more than 85 million views on Youtube in over 150+ countries. This is an example of a company becoming part of an ongoing conversation about breaking gender stereotypes. The brand had shifted their positioning from being performance focused to building a new understanding of confidence. “We thought the best way to start a movement and spark a conversation was to create a video that would encourage people to share and participate,” says Judy John, Chief Executive Officer/Chief Creative Officer of Leo Burnett Canada. Along with the video, Always created the #LikeAGirl hashtag on twitter. The campaign generated 290 million social impressions, the campaign increased Always’ twitter followers by 195.3 percent.
Melbourne had an issue of unsafe behaviour around trains. The ‘Dumb Ways To Die’ campaign was designed to be shareable, featuring a morbidly cute and funny cartoon music video. Along with the video came a game that can downloaded on smartphones, a children’s book and invitations to pledge online “not to do dumb things around trains.” Metro Trains with McCann Melbourne created a piece content in order to spark an important conversation around trains safety. “we decided we’d try to create entertainment rather than advertising,” says Exec Creative Director John Mescall. The original video now has 164 million views on Youtube, the virality of the this video is awarded for its universalness. The characters feature do not have a specific race or gender, along with animals that are from around the world such as grizzly bears, piranhas and rattlesnakes. It also has the ability to be shared in different formats such as pictures, GIFs and to be edited in bite-sized videos.
These campaigns offer very shareable content. They comment on issues that need to be brought to light. When sharing these videos consumers feel like they are part of a bigger picture and feel like they’re passing along an important message. Looking at both the videos from the perspective of Jonah Berger’s principles of contagiousness, it is notable that both campaigns can create self-authentication, if people share them they seem like they care. They evoke emotion, #LikeAGirl creates many emotions from sadness to happiness with feelings of empowerment. Dumb Ways To Die creates a goofy jolly kind of emotion. Both the campaign outline a very creative story. These factors are the building blocks that caused these campaigns to go viral. At the end of the day, people want to share content as if they are part of something others may not be aware of which allows them to feel gratified emotionally.
What do you guys think? Are there more examples of brands joining important conversations?
Beverland, M, Dobele, A and Farrelly, D 2015, ‘The viral marketing metaphor explored through Vegemite’, Marketing Intelligence and Planning, Vol. 33, no. 5, pp. 656-674