Let’s make a viral!

Adrant’s has a post about a Coke press release announcing their latest viral. As a way of trying to get the video to be viral. And I continously hear the Account teams and creatives in the agency discussing what they are going to do for the viral element of a campaign.

So there is now an assumption that you need do nothing to get a viral other than call it a viral. Just churn something out, send it out to a few blogs and put it on a few video sites and away it goes. Now, having a good, targeted buzz campaign is always going to help something go viral, send out the seeds, so to speak. But it is not the only key to success.

The key – it has to be good. It has to give the viewer something. If i’m I’m going to waste 30 seconds or more watching or playing with something I have to get something back – a laugh, a sense of wow. Not just another ad that some agency has put on the web on You Tube that I would not stop the fast forward for on the TV.

The best virals are shared because they are good. And they can become self-sustaining after a while. How many people use the ‘Most viewed’ on YouTube to look for new things. Or use somethng like the Viral chart to see what is going on.

So instead of deciding how the next viral can be made and distributed, how about agencies focus more on making something remarkable first. Put into the strategy tools that make it easy to be viral if it takes off. If web based, give it a URL that can be linked to directly, don’t embed deep in a flash site. If video, let people take it away and put it on their sites, don’t lock down with DRM. Make it easy for people to send on, using send to a friend stuff…not everyone can work out how to copy and paste a link.

Just don’t assume that just because you call it viral that it will become one.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

4 thoughts on “Let’s make a viral!

  1. Simple point, I would love a copy of the Honda “Power of Dreams” advert with “The impossible Dream” by Andy Williams on my PSP for when I’m out and about. Can I find a non Flash copy anywhere? Short of taping it off the telly, digitising, and jumping through my own hopes?

    “The Defence Rests,” says Perry mason.

  2. My suspicion (and I used to tell the guys at JWT this but to little effect) is that ad agencies are so used to buying eyeballs with dollars, that they’re out of practice earning them with ideas. Their mindset has to move from the concept that their brands are their clients, to the fact that their audience is the client. Dont create pieces in service of the brand, do it in service of the consumer, especially if you want to recruit evangelists.

  3. Ewan,

    there appears to be a wmv version available for download here: http://www.cmsnl.com/classic-honda-gallery/show_media.php?id=757&galid=130

    Conversion is a little better than recording it.

    Steve – we have to convince the brand teams as well – I’ve seen enough ask the agency what is the viral component, what are you doing to make it viral, where are they goign to find it. Instead of getting the agency to do brilliant work that is going to get people to want to watch it. Like Ewan looking for the ad. I’ve been asked the questions before the idea has been delivered, way before any creative and executional stuff has been done.

    You’re right – get the ideas first. Make it worth watching. People will want it then

  4. Can’t agree more with your insights and the comments above – ideas/content are what it’s about – something more than vids – that interests me & I’ll spend time with. Otherwise its pants (did I use it correctly?).