Why These 3 Viral Marketing Campaigns Were So Successful

Viral marketing is one of the newest successful trends to grip the marketing world, and it involves grabbing the attentions of the digital audience and using this to a marketing advantage. The main aim is to produce something, most commonly video but other forms of online communication such as blog posts, news stories and even interactive media, that people will find so interesting or engaging that they want to share it with all their online friends, who then do the same, spreading the content like wildfire and creating a buzz across social media and other internet channels. Not as easy as it sounds to produce, here are some of the most successful recent viral marketing campaigns, and what exactly they did right to become so successful.

The Red Bull Stratos Campaign

Red Bull went to new heights and atmospheres to grab the world’s attention in their Stratos marketing campaign, in which they sent Australian skydiving expert Felix Baumgartner into space who then did a 23 mile free fall back to Earth breaking the sound barrier exactly 85 after the first successful attempt by Chuck Yeager. Not surprisingly it caught the attentions and interests of everyone and didn’t take long to viral, gaining 32,400,608 views to date. There was naturally a lot of speculation as always around viral advertisements as to whether the stunt was real or faked, but it can be confirmed it was in fact real, with Red Bull setting the bar extremely high for future marketing stunts.

What Did They Do Right: Red Bull, though to an extreme the majority of us could not pull off, went that bit further to catch the attention of their audience. The lesson that can be learnt from this is that knowing what will really thrill your audience and showing them you are willing to go to certain lengths is going to catch their attention, it’s what viral marketing is all about.

The Adidas Originals Star Wars Campaign

In January 2010 Unruly Media helped Adidas Originals launch their new Star Wars Collection along with a 60 second video clip complete with celebrity appearances from Snoop Dogg, David Beckham and of course Darth Vader himself. In a time when retro and ‘geek’ were the latest fashion trends, this campaign set out to influence the influencers, with content drip fed to the right communities in a well prepared environment. This led to the video becoming number one of the Youtube viral video chart, with 1.2 million views in the UK. It was also a huge hit across social networks, with 15,000 shares on Facebook, 2,000 Tweets and 900 blog posts across various influential blogs. It even landed a front cover mention in NME magazine, the main magazine of the influential target market.

What Did They Do Right: Star Wars and celebrities was bound to be a hit with young people, but the key to creating as much of a buzz as the campaign went on to was all in the clever placements. When it comes to trends, people will look to media as influencers for what is ‘cool’, so having the content placed and word spread in the right communities and media is what told the target market ‘this IS cool’.

The Carlsberg ‘Toast To Bravery’ Campaign

Carlsberg set up a cinema suite in Brussels with a whole cast of scary looking biker men, and left just two seats free in the middle row. They then set up hidden cameras and as unsuspecting couples walked in to find just the two seats left, some walked out muttering ‘You gotta be kidding me’ or ‘Have you seen those men?!’ under their breath. But others were brave enough to say ‘excuse me’ and shuffle through, settling into their seats for what they thought was just a normal movie, only to hear thunderous applause and be handed a Carlsberg each to toast to their bravery. This video gained 11 million views on Youtube, 1.5 million shares on Facebook, 364,000 Tweets about it, not to mention the 900 blogs, 150 news sites, TV shows, newspapers and magazines all head over heels with this hilarious surprise video.

What Did They Do Right: It is a well known fact that not all candid style videos go viral, in fact the majority will flop. The reason Carlsberg got it so on the nose is because they are subtly playing with the typical on screen scenario that we see in films. We are all screaming at the unsuspecting couples on the screen ‘What are they thinking? This can only end badly if you sit there!’ just like when you are watching a horror film and you scream ‘Don’t open that door!’ And we end up on the edge of our seats in suspense of what is going to happen next, and then surprise, happy ending for all.

Viral marketing is becoming an ever more frequent trend amongst marketers as Youtube views increasingly rise and more people are seeking more interactive and fulfilling media on the internet. This means marketers need to keep producing campaigns that go further than what has already been done, and fulfil out need for more. Although the majority of viral marketing, including the examples above, mostly focus on the use of video as a centre point to the campaigns, it is not unknown for people to go that bit further on the interaction front and create games, apps or even large scale ‘challenges’ for people worldwide to get involved in. The viral trend is still very much in the development stages and where it will go next only the marketers know.