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Top five viral marketing campaigns to spread brand fever

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Marketing campaigns so good people watch, engage with and share with friends? It’s every business’ dream. And for the many companies launching viral marketing campaigns, it can be an international marketing reality. With social networking integrated into daily life, brands have begun to harness the power of online word-of-mouth for their marketing.

According to Nielsen research, two-thirds of the world’s internet population visited social networking sites frequently, amassing to 10 per cent of global pooled internet time. By 2009, social networking had surpassed email as the most popular internet activity.

The stats speak for themselves – marketing campaigns gone viral can make a big splash in the market. Here are five of the best viral marketing campaigns to hit the internet.

1. Old Spice

Old Spice’s ‘The Man You Could Smell Like’ marketing campaign launched online in February 2010 and featured American NRL player Isaiah Mustafa semi-naked and speaking directly to the camera.

The original advertisement was followed by a series of video responses with Mustafa, still in character, personally answering over 180 comments left on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.


The original advertisement attracted 20 million views on Youtube and the response videos gained a similar cult following, receiving six million views within 24 hours of going live.

To put that in perspective, popular virals such as Obama’s victory speech and former president George Bush dodging a reporter’s shoe received just over four million hits in the same amount of time.

The OldSpice marketing campaign managed to reinvigorate a tired brand, engage and interact with the consumer and was even labeled the ‘greatest ad campaign in Internet history’ by social news site Reddit.

2. Burger King

In 2004, Burger King launched Subservient Chicken, a webcam-style video site featuring a man in a chicken suit. Teamed with the ‘Have it your way’ tagline, browsers could type in a command for the chicken-man to complete. With more than 300 possible commands, the marketing campaign bordered on the interactivity of a game.


Within its first week of going live, the site had racked up 20 million hits, with the average user spending five minutes and 44 seconds on the site. The marketing was unique in its approach to interactive advertising and set a new standard for communicating with the consumer. 

3. Blendtec

Will It Blend?, a series created by BlendTec, follows the format of an infomercial showing what the company’s range of blenders can blend. Memorable blending moments include the destruction of an iPhone4, an iPad and six Bic lighters (preempted by the warning not to try at home, of course).


The series was an instant success, with guest spots on US television programs such as Jay Leno’s The Tonight Show, and attracted a total over 117 million views on Youtube.  

4. Tipp-Ex

Similar to Subservient Chicken, Tipp-Ex’s ‘A hunter shoots a bear’ Youtube campaign plays like a choose-your-own-adventure story. The hunter reaches out of the video frame, whites out part of the title and invites the viewer to add their own verb into the scenario (even catering for crass suggestions).


While it only launched at the end of August this year, it has already attracted 11 million views and garnered attention from TV shows such as The Gruen Transfer.

5. Stride Chewing Gum

Instead of focusing on the brand, Stride, an American chewing gum brand, focused on good content that they could attach their name to. ‘Where the hell is Matt?’, Stride’s 2008 marketing campaign, followed internet sensation Matt Harding around the world, dancing in over 40 different countries.  


Since 2008, the Youtube clip has received 31 million views. And while Stride only reserved its branding for the video’s final seconds, the focus on good content rather than heavy branding only increased the campaign’s popularity and spread.


The impact of viral marketing campaigns is immense. If a brand can garner interest in the millions, a brand’s potential reach won’t be restricted to any particular demographic or location.

To harness the potential of the internet, look at your brand with fresh eyes – what is it that makes it unique and worthy of consumer’s attention?

For an outside perspective on your competitive advantage, the thing that will get consumers excited and turn a marketing campaign viral, consider seeking advice of a business coach.

Then, explore creative ways to demonstrate and channel that benefit into your marketing.  

If you’re looking to work on your business rather than being stuck in it, book in for a complimentary business assessment today with Switzer Business Coaching

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

Published on: Thursday, September 23, 2010

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