Viral Advertising is A Response, Not A Strategy
Writing on an Adrants forum, Kevin Glennon brings a contrarian but common sense point of view to the practice of viral advertising. Glennon claims viral is not intended. He says it can't be planned and is a response, not an intent, to a piece of work that happens to be worthy of passing along. He claims there's no difference between a viral campaign and a successful campaign, writing, "You do not create viral campaigns or efforts. You try to create them. Just like you do not create successful ones. You try to. You can launch something funny that gets 20 hits, and it's not viral. Launch something that explodes into 200,000 hits overnight, and yes, it's viral. It's not viral until it's successful. Anybody who tells you otherwise is robbing you blind."
While Glennon's point of view is certainly true in many respects, the notion of viral marketers as enablers of viral activity - those that implement tactics to increase the likelihood an execution will spread - can't be completely dismissed. It's true that the best viral activity is organic but many creative pieces do find their way around simply due to a little "push" from these enabling companies. They may not go far after the initial push unless they are well received, thus successful in Glennon's words, but they wouldn't go anywhere at all without the push in the first place. It's an intriguing catch-22.