Viral campaigns truly are the holy grail of marketing. Imagine getting incredible coverage, engaging with hundreds of thousands, or even millions of potential customers, and doing it all for next to no cost. It is a dream come true, assuming that the project is a success. Which is, of course, the biggest drawback of viral campaigns. Will anyone actually pay attention?
The following viral ad campaigns are those that succeeded spectacularly. Most notable is how different each is from the other, underlining a major challenge. What can go viral, and what can’t? If there was a straight answer this sort of marketing wouldn’t be such an anomaly.
How does a mattress company go from just selling beds to a social media sensation? Ask Purple. The mattress specialist absolutely defied expectations with a video featuring Goldilocks, a bed expert, demonstrating the raw egg test. It’s a brief video that, technically, does nothing more than break eggs on mattresses. But wrap this concept up with some slick editing, a bit of witty dialogue, truly interesting information, and you have a viral smash hit.
Actually 200 million views is not just success, its redefining success on a new level. Remember; this is a company that sells mattresses.
Perhaps the biggest problem of viral marketing is getting people to look up from the veritable endless of ocean of entertainment already available. How can you possibly grab a pair of eyes when they’re watching Netflix, surfing memes, or perhaps browsing Cox Plate betting odds? Dove found a way, and with the most genuine approach possible. The Real Beauty Sketches campaign was a smash hit, involving forensic sketch artist Gil Zamora.
He was asked to draw women, first as they described themselves, then as they were described by an outside party. The results, unsurprisingly, highlighted how women see themselves, opposed to how they’re seen by others. The campaign went viral almost instantly, highly praised for not using shock tactics, outrage, or absurdity, but rather genuine human emotions.
Last is Cladwell, a service that allows for clothing items to be digitally stored and sorted. The company released an extremely clever campaign riding on the success of Dove Real Beauty Sketches. In contrast to the message in the Dove campaign, Cladwell took the opposite stance. The ad depicted women as being extremely critical of themselves, while men were depicted as absurdly arrogant. The message pushed was that some self-obsessed men might not be as good looking as they think they are.
It was all in good fun and most appreciated the joke. Most interesting is that the campaign may not have done so well had it not been for Dove. In this case Cladwell saw what was already viral, borrowed the idea, and did something new with it. The comedy timing in the video is spot on, the acting outstanding, and the humour universal. Cladwell demonstrated how important it is to be aware of what is currently trending, and how existing buzz can be repurposed in new and entertaining ways.