Viral Marketing Initiatives.


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.


2 thoughts on “Viral Marketing Initiatives.

  1. Humor and participation are key to any viral campaign. The participation that came from the Harlem Shake was huge. Another benefit to the participation was that anyone could do it. I’ve seen various videos of the Harlem Shake and everyone from young children (5 years old) to senior citizens can be seen having fun with dance craze. By allowing “fan” to participate and create their own version, the DJ’s brand and music awareness has grown.

    In order to keep the DJ current, do you think it is necessary to keep “fans” involved and create a “sequel,” that’s to say create a new song and dance number soon?


  2. Rachel,
    These are great examples of how videos with funny content can become successful viral videos on YouTube. What is interesting about the Harlem Shake is the fact that the contest on the song did not matter to most people. The song says, “Con los Terroristas” which is a Spanish phrase meaning “with the Terrorists.” Some would think that due to recent tragic events involving terrorist attacks, this would be something that people would be sensitive to. However, the humor in it, and as you said the participatory element of the video, made it not matter so much. People like the humor, the beat and the fact that many people/group can participate and be creative. A few years ago, I was sent the YouTube video of the Gangnam style (before it became viral) as a way to watch a ridiculous video. However, little did we know that the video was going to be a successful viral video. One again the video was humorous, it has a good beat, and many people can participate the dance moves. Great post!!!

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