Once a year, back in the day when I was in elementary school, we would have some type of special school wide assembly. It was always the big event of the year. Some times they were really cool and sometimes they were just a reason to not be in class. One year, a traveling youth jump rope team came to the school and did a show for us. The jumped in formations and did tricks. They used things like mini trampolines to add a degree of difficulty and of course they did the big double rope jumps with several kids in the middle. Now, the show was not the best event that the school had ever seen; however it had its effect. The next day jump ropes were all over the play ground at recesses and that had never happened before. Kids were getting their parents to buy them one of their own and the school ropes had a waiting list, or at least it seemed that way. I don’t know if the outcome was the desired result of the assembly, but it got the blood flowing in kids all through the area. This was my first experience with a viral event. Many marketers today strive to have a video or campaign go viral and for those that make it find big success.
“Will It Blend” is one of my favorite viral campaigns. It could because the company is based in my home state or it could just be that they use blenders to pulverize stuff like iPads and bricks. Whatever it is, their videos are just fun to watch. I love the story behind the campaign. The company had a warehouse full of blenders that were not selling, no money and was facing closing their doors. In a last ditch effort they said what the heck lets get crazy and make a video using a blender making soup out of stuff like golf balls and bricks and posted them online. The next thing you know they were selling blenders. I think what really has kept them going with the viral videos is they take suggestions from viewers for ideas on what else to throw into their blenders and that keeps people interested to see what’s next.
Procter and Gamble had a good viral campaign with their “P&G – Thank You Mama – Best Job 2012 2M”. It is a simple video of mom supporting their young kids from getting up in the morning and getting ready for the day all the way to cheering in the stands at their kids sporting events. P&G does not try to sell any products at all in the video. They just focus on the emotions that we all have for our mothers. I bet the video had a big impact on their sales though. Our emotional connections to things affect the way we spend money and what companies we support.
Kony 2012 was a huge viral success with over 100 million views online. It brought a lot of attention to problems in Africa that many people had no idea about. But that’s not what makes this a great example. I loved the storytelling. The first 30 seconds draws you in even though you have no idea what the story is about yet. Those first seconds got me like 100’s of millions others to stick around and watch the almost 30 minute film. I loved the way they set the stage and created emotion and kept the interest of the viewers. This is a great example of fantastic storytelling.
All three of these campaigns are different, yet all three were effective at getting their audience to not only watch and be entertained but to also take action. They range from a fun, yet quick and dirty approach done by Blendtec to big budget like P&G’s to passionate story telling from Kony 2012, but the one thing they all have in common is that they told a story that touched people in one way or another. To me that is what viral marketing is about, it is telling a story worth listening to.