Viral Marketing Initiatives

wheels of viral marketing

What does it mean exactly for something to go viral? Viral marketing is a strategy that focuses on spreading information and opinions about an organizations product or service from person to person using means such as the internet or email.

What are some effective ways to make your content go viral?

social media


How an organization expresses information is key to a successful following and ensuring followers will forward those tweets, posts, information and even videos to others they share content with. Crafting an engaging hook that can communicate online content and increase not only awareness but traffic helps to raise awareness and further following.

buzz feed

Distribution Channels

The types of tools that are used to reach an engaging audience are important as it plays a critical part in viral marketing. Different distribution channels include blogging, mobile apps, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus and Twitter.

combined relevanceRelevance and Interests

Current events make up the interests of followers and what they seek to explore online. Having access to stories and information of interest is critical.

color emotion

Emotions and Behaviors

If content is funny, sad, controversial or emotion based it can move a follower to be motivated to respond and forward comments, post or a video to others for input and support. Triggers such as this can cause reactions which can spiral into a virus effect sometimes.

dramaEntertaining and Engaging

An organization needs to have something compelling to offer in order to make a product or service go viral. It needs to grab the attention of the follower and be visually appealing even humorous to get their attention. The organization however needs to ensure that the the diversion ties back to the organization so it will continue to build and promote the brand.

shipped pants

A humorous viral campaign was Kmart’s “Ship My Pants”. While I personally find it funny and edgy others deemed the ad as gross and vulgar. However this is an edgy example of viral marketing that grabs people and forces them to make a judgment call. More often than not it seems people would watch it out of curiosity and people will post positives and negatives which gains more attraction for the ad and Kmart. Clever marketing.

Show your joe

Another clever viral campaign by Kmart during the holiday was the Joe Boxer Christmas commercial titled “Show Your Joe”. The commercial shows six men ringing bells behind a curtain and then cuts away to show them in boxers. Then while gyrating to the song Jingle Bells viewers are instantly led to believe the men are swinging their testicles to create the bell sounds. The commercial received a flurry of criticism as well as following. Yet another edgy example of viral marketing that splashed the pages of Facebook and Twitter with feedback galore.

While both of these examples were television commercials, videos popped up on YouTube and other social media sources at an astounding pace. This is a great example of how viral marketing works when shock value is used to gain attention.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. katrinac81
    Mar 20, 2014 @ 13:08:43

    Great post on viral marketing! I love your use of graphics throughout the post to help illustrate each point. I think you bring up a valid observation about viral marketing being something that can force people to make a judgement call – or have a strong opinion. It has to cause a strong reaction one way or another in order for people to remember it, engage with it, and want to share it with others. I agree that no matter which tone one is using (humor, sadness, etc) good viral marketing has some kind of “edge” to it.


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