Catching the virus

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My-takeGreat viral marketing campaigns and what makes them great!

Unless you’ve disconnected yourself from the World Wide Web in every possible way, you couldn’t have missed the ‘Abused Godesses’ campaign. Beautiful Goddesses depicted as victims of domestic abuse, supported by an NGO working towards the welfare of women. The campaign was largely hailed as path-breaking. In 11 days of being uploaded on Buzzfeed, it generated 8.3 lakh views, more than 400 comments and thousands of Facebook shares. This award-winning campaign was created three years ago.

It is now being called a viral success. Why? In light of the alarming number of crimes against women recently, this campaign was shared incessantly across social media. Whether you agreed with the use of Goddesses or not, its subject was hard-hitting and made you think.

And that’s the first rule of viral marketing. Experts say like any good communication, a viral campaign must evoke a response. Seems a bit obvious, but many brands create videos hoping they’ll go viral, but they just don’t evoke happiness, anger, shock or tears. No emotion enough to get people to share.

And that’s the second rule. Viral campaigns must motivate users to share. This creates the snowball effect that brands hope for. Like the video British Airways created called ‘A Ticket to Visit Mum’, to encourage youngsters abroad to fly back home and meet their parents. Tugging on the heartstrings of everyone who watched it, the video got 16,000 views in 2 days when it was released on YouTube. It also launched on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ along with mailers to specific customers. In true Indian style, there are tears, an emotional narrative and a mother everyone related to, regardless of nationality. Watch ‘A Ticket to Visit Mum’ here:

Some even try humour. And that’s not an easy task, especially with a topic that is usually humourless. HelloFlo is an American company that makes tampons. The video, shows a ‘Camp Gyno’, a young girl who acts like the queen bee at the summer camp, instructing her friends on their first period. Her reign ends when HelloFlo starts sending the girls packages to make their first period easier, making her redundant.

It is a hilarious look at how girls deal with hitting puberty and everything that comes with it. Indian brands of sanitary napkins have unfortunately never injected humour into their communication. The whole issue is treated as a problem and never really makes you smile. This video was a new take even for America and generated more than 6 million views in a couple of months. HelloFlo’s demand increased so much that the owner had to double her staff!

Watch the ‘Camp Gyno’ video here:

Some viral marketing campaigns are adapted for TV as well. Like Nike’s new ‘Possibilities’ film. It inspires, moves, thrills, in true Nike style. Celebrating 25 years of ‘Just do it’, the film challenges users to compete with Nike’s star endorsers, from Serena Williams to Andre Ward. A shorter version is currently on air but the video itself got 1.3 million views on YouTube, 24 hours after being uploaded.
Watch the Possibilities film here:

There is no well-hidden secret to viral marketing. Good content, capable of evoking a reaction and wanting to evoke it in others too. That’s pretty much it. Here’s to a new age in communication!

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