“Let us make this viral”
How many times have you got a brief from a client saying “Let us make this viral”, “I want to create a viral campaign” or how many times have you gone to the client saying “We have a viral idea”, “This idea will most definitely become viral”. I’m sure you’d have lost count. In all probability you would have made jokes about it internally, written blogs about it. A few months later, you probably would have even gone back to clients saying “Viral happen”, we cannot make them.
But you already know that. What I am trying to say is that off late, thanks to the always connected consumer on social media, something random and impulsive tend to become viral. And the brands who are smart enough to keep a constant watch on such posts usually get their 15 minutes of fame (meaning about a week’s buzz) on the internet.
The first instance that I can think of was “Alex from Target”, where a teen snapped a photo of Alex working at target and posted it on Twitter. Within no time, he became an unexpected internet celebrity. But consider the exposure the “Target” got on this. I’m not really sure if Target reacted to this entire episode, but nevertheless they would have enjoyed the free PR they got.
There are many such episodes of people asking “How many retweets for…”, but the latest record breaker has to be the one with Wendy’s. Carter Wilkerson made a campaign out of it to achieve the 18 million retweet goal that Wendy’s gave him. However, the brand leveraged it beautifully by giving him a year’s free supply of Chicken Nuggets along with a donation of $100,000 for a charity.
So, the take away from these is, there seems to be an emerging trend about things becoming viral on the internet, where instead of the brands trying to make it happen, it’s the end consumer who wants to connect with the brand and they end up with such random acts. Brands need to be on their toes and leverage these to get their 15 minutes of fame because they usually don’t have to worry about the typical idea/approval/execution framework which may or may not work. Also, this new trend also usually comes with lot less strings attached and more credibility since it is usually started by a regular everyday person. It will be better if the focus is reduced for actual creation of content and instead invest into better listening/curating and smartly latch on to such UGC to generate the buzz for the brand.