Viral marketing initiatives are quite easily the best forms of advertising and getting noticed on the internet in my opinion. I am a huge fan of the viral videos that have gained popularity over the past few years, and they just seem to get better. The best thing about having a marketing initiative go viral is that as a company, you don’t have to spend millions of dollars on expensive marketing campaigns to gain exposure. In order for a marketing initiative to become viral over night, there are several characteristics that the initiative needs in order to stand out.
So I am sure that by now, you have had the pleasure of viewing viral videos such as the infamous song by DJ Baauer called The Harlem Shake. This viral phenomenon has exploded since February 2013 with everyone from the The Today Show, Backstreet Boys Band, and various NFL teams participating in the viral madness of The Harlem Shake. since then upwards to 40,000 videos have been uploaded to YouTube of this viral sensation. Just incase you haven’t seen it, here is a compilation of the Best of the Best Harlem Shakes.
With that being said, participatory initiatives such as the Harlem Shake, is a great characteristic for a successful viral campaign. It not only allows viewers to share it, but also creates an opportunity for them to give into the madness. Baauer rose up to the top when his song went viral, and especially after there was a trend setting dance to accompany his track. It pretty much lead the way, without much outside advertising from Baauer himself. Participation is not the only characteristic the Harlem Shake demonstrated. Humor played a big role in these thousands of videos and versions that were created with the song.
Humor is a great way to generate buzz for any campaign. People love a good laugh break in the middle of their work day, I know I do. One of my favorite marketing campaigns that went viral almost overnight because of the humor in it – Old Spice. “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” ads included a hefty 185 videos that were uploaded to YouTube over the course of two days. Old Spice’s marketing team even responded to the comments left on social media sites with the same witty tone that the man spokesman Isaiah Mustafa.
These ads created brand awareness because these videos were filmed in a bathroom/shower setting with the character usually was in the shower or just getting out and simultaneously using an Old Spice product.