I Think I’m Coming Down with a Viral Inflection

By Jeff Bowman

Like many of you, I had serious doubts about the ability of Facebook, YouTube and other social media tools to have a real impact on the way we market products and services to prospective clients.

Boy has my opinion changed.

Not only do these tools impact the way we market, but they have completely changed the way we communicate.

Today your product or service is open to real-time reviews and criticisms.  And, perhaps not surprisingly, a whole new age of product espionage has grown from the ability to sway the masses with a few simple words of negativism.

Ads are cleverly disguised as viral videos, and I would suggest it started years ago when Super Bowl ads, previously viewed by game fans only, were designed specifically for the Internet where millions more viewers could check them out.

Anyone can produce a video, post it online and encourage friends to pass it along. Some become hugely popular with hundreds of thousands of hits worldwide at little or no cost for the exposure.

I was sent a link to a “homemade Canadian Video” produced in two days by a couple of aspiring musicians. It is actually well done, and will certainly result in some degree of fame and notoriety for the singers.  I viewed it this morning, then when I tried to show someone else this afternoon, I could not get on.  When I was finally able to view it at another domain, there was a little note in the corner “Now available on iTunes” A weekend worth of work, some decent online exposure and now iTunes? Unreal.

Another site that does the viral video thing on a much grander scale is www.thefuntheory.com They have a series of very clever videos asking the question “how can you get people to change their behavior?’  The answer, of course, is to add an element of fun. It isn’t until the end of the video that you discover it is an ad for a well-known company. A wolf in sheep’s clothing? No, just a very creative and well planned advertising campaign, which has now hit millions of viewers at a fraction of the cost it would be for traditional media.

The viral age is here, here in a huge way, and I’m enjoying it.  What are some of the best viral videos you have seen?

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Filed under advertising, blogging, Branding, Communications, Facebook, Jeff Bowman, Marketing, Media, Online marketing

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