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Why you should be cautious of viral…


Why you should be cautious of viral…


We are all sick of hearing about the love-struck girl who posted a YouTube video in an attempt to find a bloke shed met at a Sydney café that has been proved to be a less-than-inspiring viral marketing campaign.

Heidi Clarke was an actress hired for the campaign by Surry Hills-based marketing group Naked Communications (who’s ideas director, Jonathon Pease, claimed no knowledge of the campaign).

It has been panned mercilessly, but some may say it was successful for that reason.

Since then, there has been a chorus of hostility toward the use of viral marketing in what could be viewed as being in a deceptive manner.

However, once the anger and berating has ended and the dust settled, it is important to look at the reasons why viral campaigns go wrong and learn from it.

It has been pointed out by viewers that the idea to promote the brand of jacket, which Heidi waves around in the video, is generally not perceived as being the problem.

The problem is, however, that she didn’t mention the jacket brands name at all in the video and that all of the media reports about it didnt bother to reveal the brand either.

Media and advertising in cahoots? Hardly.

David Thorne, creator of the Spider email that was sent around the world, explained in a recent Marketing interview that the popularity of a viral campaign will be dependent on the content, that many agencies have attempted to use viral marketing, some with limited success others with great results.

But should an agency be found out, the results can be disastrous.

The story of a woman who supposedly tattooed an advertisement for the Great Barrier Reef on her arm to win a dream island job was concocted by Tourism Queensland, is yet another example.

The Sydney Morning Herald described the fake YouTube video as just another example of Australian advertising agencies crude use of social media to promote brands.

So when thinking about using this technique, which is still an interesting way to engage, consider the manner in which the campaign will be perceived and that it won’t be misconstrued.

As Thorne pointed out, People will generally not forward advertising unless it is unique or humorous and there have been many cases where the advertising is purposely secondary to the humour.


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