Creativity, Mistakes And Low Cost Make Great Viral Ads
While we may, quite possibly, be the last human being in the world to see the viral clip of Gary Brolsma lip-synching to some Romanian bubble gum song, we can't help ourselves. We have to share. Watch. See? You did laugh. After mentioning the clip has received attention from the likes of VH1 and MSNBC, Tessa Wegert asks why more business aren't using viral marketing. Sadly, the answer is, bluntly, marketers can't help but fuck it up. Slapping a logo on a funny TV commercial does not pass as a viral ad. Sticking a "Send to a Friend" button on a website doesn't really cut it either.
Successful viral advertising falls squarely into the "I know it when I see it" category. Sort of like the definition of pornography. Which, of course, makes it highly difficult to create successful virals in the first place - unless you know how to time travel. There are many components of a successful viral campaign from seeding to tracking to product tie-in to GUI to file size to...the list goes on. However, nothing. We repeat, nothing, is more important than creativity. While distribution strategies can certainly aid the spread of a viral, unlike paid ad placements, nothing is guaranteed. The only thing that will compel further distribution of a viral ad is its entertainment value, hence, it's creativity. Nothing else really matters. This is the one medium in which creativity should be given full reign and full appreciation without boundaries.
There's not much a marketer can lose using the viral medium. The stakes are low. The potential return, very high. The worst thing that can happen is no one will see it. No problem. Try again. It's cheap. Sure, there are creative, hosting and distribution costs associated with virals but they pale in comparison to typical media budgets required to support most ad campaigns. For the most part, the viral distribution channel is free. With viral advertising, fucking it up just might be the safest fuck up a marketer could make.