Viral Marketing

DDB Spain, Polowers.


Tweet races, Twitter games, and Twitter based competitions are nothing new, but occasionally one comes along that really works. Case in point VW’s #polowers campaign created by DDB Spain. The numbers in the video are pretty impressive, even though the number of participants was only 4075. This collective race, generated over 150,000 tweets with the hashtag #Polowers in 8 hours averaging 5 tweets per second. On top of that the campaign reached more than 10% of Spain’s global twitter audience. In addition, the game generated a vast amount of visits to Polo´s product section on, reaching a record of its history. The screen shot above is from the integrated website that was developed for the game. Unfortunately it has been pulled down.

Dumb Ways to Die. A Brilliant Safety Campaign from Australia.

I’ve always believed that to get people to change their bad behavior, you need to prompt them with something clever rather than beating them over the head with an in your PSA.

Melbourne Metro in Australia has launched a new campaign to promote safety around metro rail lines. It involves an amazing little animation, with a very catchy little song. The video is a memorable 3 and a half minute long animated music video, that uses black humor and a repeated phrase to sell the final point of “Be careful while waiting for your train”.

This is all part of the The Dumb Ways To Die campaign which is being executed across a number of social mendia channels. While the campaign centers on the YouTube music video (which has been viewed over 16 million times globally in just one week), the campaign is fully integrated across all media channels.

The YouTube video links to the other Dumb Ways To Die campaign aspects: The Tangerine Kitty – “Dumb Ways To Die” song is available for download from iTunes or you can listen to it on Soundcloud here. Dumb Ways To Die has a Tumblr site which features related animated gifs available for download and features the headline “Don’t do any of these OK? Especially the train ones”.  All of these are tied to or point back to The Dumb Ways to Die website which ties together the entire campaign

The integrated campaign centers around shareable content, and leverages platforms like Tumblr, Soundcloudand iTunes to help spread awareness about safety. These 3 platforms in turn support the YouTube campaign which banks on viral distribution to help spread the word.

This is a great campaign from Melbourne Metro with the potential to save lives across the world since the problem is universal world wide.

Two Boys, an Opera.

Here is a little light entertainment to start your Monday morning with. This video is part a viral campaign to advertise the new opera “Two Boys”, by Nico Muhly, which will premier in London on June 24th, The opera and focuses around how strange our online lives can be, how strange our online personalities are at times. While the concept behind the video isn’t new, it is a fresh take on the subject and pretty funny.

Vodaphone “Pixel Hunt”. Winning!

Sometimes a advertising campaign with the simplest audience engagement can generate the best results. A great example of this is Vodaphone’s “Pixel Hunt” game created by Jung Von Matt/Alster.  The game was designed to promote the new LG Optimus phone and its 5 megapixel camera in Germany. Game play is simple, you click on pixels to eliminate them, and if you are lucky you could instantly win one of one hundred phones hidden behind a pixel in the image.

In one month, all 5 million pixels were clicked out by over 300 thousand participants that signed into the site to play. That is some pretty serious usage, that was generated with minimal promotion, and viral spread.

Subaru Mediocrity.

Today must be a car day for me. I think it has something to do with being carless for five days in the city the epitomizes cars in America, Los Angeles.

Mediocrity is Subaru’s viral campaign based on a fake car company that has gone out of its way to design and build the blandest sedan in the world automotive market.  This is a fun twist on what car manufacturers usually tout when selling their new models. Instead of telling folks they’ll be the envy of everyone with their shiny new car, Subaru directs people to Mediocrity, which positions the new “mediocre” model as a car that feels like every other sedan on the road today.Written with a tongue-in-cheek style, this site pokes fun at the route other car manufacturers take when selling their cars and instead offers people a more mainstream driving experience that blends in with the world instead of standing out.

What’s I like about this is the way Subaru uses mediocre throughout all elements of the campaign. The site, videos, testimonials, language, colors and even the commercial set features no frills. Just your average run-of-the-mill look and feel to really drive home the point.

The site is really well done, and the build your own section is really fun with all the mediocre features you can put on your car.

Blendtec’s Viral Video Success

A little over a year ago I was at a conference, where a large number of people of people with about $1500.00 to waste and nothing better to do with their time, spent the day listening to big time ad industry folks show bad power point presentations about topics everyone in the audience probably already knew, and which no one actually cared about. I say this because 90 percent of the people there were so busy blogging, Facebooking, tweeting, tumbling, stumbling upon, and surfing the web they couldn’t have heard much of what was actually being said by the people on stage anyway.

One of the major presentations being given was by BBDO and GE. Over the course of 45 minutes they proceeded to give a  60 plus slide Power Point where they pretty much read each slide. The topic was their recently launched “Imagination” campaign for print, web, and TV. During the presentation they showed a few beautifully shot TV spots, which used a heavy amount of high-end of CGI and post compositing to re-create man’s first flight at Kitty Hawk with GE jet engines magically appearing on the fragile wings of the cardboard airplanes. The 30 second spot had to have cost close to a million bucks by the time it was all said and done.

Later on the representatives from BBDO and GE told us that the total cost of this campaign was close to $350 million.  But it was all worth it they assured us because “GE’s brand image was enhanced!”. Granted they offered up no solid proof that they had actually improved GE’s brand image, or made any real impact with their target audience. Come to think of it, I don’t think they really ever mentioned who the target audience was. Any way it doesn’t really matter because this post is more about what happened next.

The next speaker up was Tom Dickson the engineer from Blend-Tec that is featured in all of the “Will it blend?” viral videos on YouTube. On stage Dickson went on to  blend bricks, bearings, an eight foot garden rake, and variety of other stuff.  Then he blends up a Blackberry that some fool in the audience gave him (no it wasn’t an audience plant. This guy actually gave up his own Blackberry). Dickson then went on to explain using one simple slide, that each “Will It Blend?” video is shot at Blend-Tec in one of their labs, the costs for each shoot runs about $50 plus the cost of what ever they grind up, and every time a “Will it Blend?” video runs Blend-Tec sales go up between ten and fifteen percent. The crowd went nuts. They went nuts for a few of reasons.

1. Dickson gave a great presentation that didn’t put everyone to sleep. And,

2. He showed that you don’t need to spend millions in order to generate sales, even in a down economy.

3. More over he demonstrated the power of how a subtle, humorous, series of YouTube videos can have greater impact than all those expensive media productions that have been the traditional forms of advertising and marketing for the last 60 years.

Blend-Tec did more with viral video, in one year spending less than 10 grand than GE did spending 350 million. What does that tell us people? Well it tells us that if you aren’t thinking about leveraging this kind of media channel then you are losing out. If your company has a product, or is planning on launching a product, you should be pulling a Blend-Tec, and building buzz through a channel that has faster growing media penetration then any other source. The fact that these videos are available on your computer, your phone, and if you are lucky enough to have a net connected set-top-box on your TV as well, says something about the changing face of advertising.

Blend-Tec has been so successful, because almost from the day YouTube launched they have had a presence on the site. The Low budget videos don’t seem like advertising, their tongue in cheek delivery, and production seem genuine and honest. I have to admit that when I first began watching them, I wasn’t they were real. More over, the fact Blend-Tec has stuck with it is a testament to the power how solid this marketing campaign has been. They got the timing right, the delivery, right, and connected with a new audience growing their consumer base as they went.

In my current job, we are in the middle of launching a new product line. They first pieces actually hit store shelves in October with little to none in the way of marketing and advertising support. At the time, members of the team wanted to do a number of low-budget, high quality viral and social media campaigns leveraging the power of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and the iPhone. All of these suggestions either fell on deaf ears or were rejected as to risky. “We don’t want to show our hand to the competition.” Now at the eleventh-hour, two and a half weeks before Christmas, we are talking about doing some sort of viral video campaign to promote this stuff. I just keep thinking how much further we would be in terms of sales, if back in September we had taken the Blend-Tec approach and gone crazy with product demos, example videos, and other offerings. There is no way the competition could have caught up to us before Christmas, and the amount of potential buzz for little investment could have been huge.

Either way, better late than never I guess.

By the way, I reallly like the GE campaign that BBDO did. The total cross channel integration and overall look is really nice.