Many buzz-terms that have emerged in the internet age aren’t really in the common conscious. But viral marketing and advertising are. Everyone knows something about them, not just a PR agency in Manchester specialising in social media, like us.
Last year Pepsi announced its abstanence from America’s biggest promotional orgy. Instead of producing an advert for the NFL Superbowl, the choice of a new generation opted for a $20 million viral campaign. That’s a serious spend.
Hotmail can claim one of the first major campaigns based on the viral model. A simple message on the bottom of each email sent by every user of Microsoft’s dominant webmail service read: “Click here to get a FREE email account”. Naturally, nobody could resist.
But then there have been major flops, where the message hasn’t spread like wildfire. Or, worse still, the flames can end up burning the brand’s reputation, which is what happened when the Chevrolet Tahoe was launched.
General Motors gave the public a chance to build an advert to promote the SUV. But instead of fawning fans, the company was hit with scores of shorts labeling the uneconomical, environmentally unfriendly model as an ignorant man’s dream machine. Needless to say the campaign was cancelled shortly after it began.
We prefer to focus on positives, though. As such it seemed like a good idea to celebrate some of the efforts we have remembered long after the smoke has cleared, starting with the aforementioned football fest…
Nike – Write The Future; 2010
The most successful promo ever to hit the small screen presented in all its innovative glory. See if you think it’s worth the hype.
BMW – The Hire; 2001-2002
Still cited as groundbreaking, eight short films were produced, Clive Owen’s status as an actor was elevated and many cars were sold.
Quicksilver – Dynamite Surfing; 2007
What’s better than watching surfers hurling sticks of explosives into a river in order to make waves? Not a lot, as this entry goes to show.
Fatboy Slim – The Joker (Fake Fan Competition); 2004
A fan won the chance to make a video. Norman Cook looks bored, the video is professional, and the web was alive with talk for weeks.
Burger King – The Subservient Chicken; 2007
When promoting ‘chicken, just the way you like it’ dress up as one, find a seedy room with a web cam, and then invite viewers to instruct.
The Blair Witch Project – Dead Filmmakers; 1997
Before the notorious handheld horror was released these trailers were trying to track down the missing cast, resulting in box office success.