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.