Viral Marketing - What Makes A Video Sensation?

By Matt Weston


Viral marketing has become a buzzword in recent times. Since the evolution of social media with services such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, sharing content has never been so easy.

What is viral marketing though? Simply put, it is the creation and sharing of engaging content via social media which becomes visible to a large number of people in a short period of time.

Usually, it is a video uploaded to YouTube, which is then shared amongst friends via social media sites such as Twitter & Facebook.

Predominantly, the reason people want to share these videos is because they are funny. However, sometimes it is the opposite effect people are after – their videos can be hard-hitting and created to provoke a reaction.

Some videos are planned to sell products, whereas others are uploaded by individuals just for fun.

So let’s take a look at some of the best viral marketing videos out there…

Dumb Ways to Die

Being safe around trains has been an issue ever since trains started running. This campaign had huge success in drawing attention to this issue, mainly because it was broadcasting a serious message in a funny way – it’s worth noting that there isn’t even a mention of a train until the final part of the video.

It is estimated that within two weeks it had generated at least $50 million worth of global media value, in addition to more than 700 media stories.

Dollar Shave Club

This advert for a budget shaving company has been a huge success online, with its heavy emphasis on humour making it a perfect video for people to share on social networks.

Will it Blend?

Blendtec hit upon a highly successful viral marketing campaign thanks to their series of YouTube videos where the company’s founder, Tom Dickson, illustrated the effectiveness of their products by, well, blending things.

Objects thrown to the mercy of the blenders included an iPad and the world’s largest gummy bear. The videos have proved a huge success, as the company focused on showcasing their product in an amusing and unique way.

Green Police

This Audi advert, which publicises their A3 TDI with “clean diesel” being awarded ‘Green Car of the Year’, was a light-hearted take on what many see as a serious issue – our need to increase our ‘green’ efficiency.

University of Lincoln

This spoof video from a media production student at the University of Lincoln initially garnered controversy. Many from the university were unhappy that the student, Tom Ridgewell, had sent up a traditional admission video by creating his own featuring zombies, guns and bloodshed.

However, minds were soon changed when the University realised what incredible exposure it was for them, as the video promptly went viral and racked up millions of views.

So, what can we learn from these videos? Maybe the message is that we don’t have to push our products and services in such a direct, obvious way. Why not have fun with your video? You might get far more exposure from it that way…

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