Going Viral

What makes a video go ‘viral‘?

As defined on Wikipedia, a viral video is “one that becomes popular through the process of internet sharing”.  It is one thing to suggest your marketing department create a video, but a completely different story to expect it to gain mass popularity.  Commercials today are so easily spread through various online channels that the word viral really just means popular.

Understanding what will resonate with your customers, while still providing a clear link to what your brand is all about, can be difficult.  There’s really no secret formula to creating a video that will catch your customers’ eyes other than a strong understanding of brand identify and a creative way to communicate it. 

In the video below, Sony combined its two strengths, audio and video (using an array of vibrant colours), to create one of the most successful videos of all time.  Who wouldn’t want to see what it would look like to release thousands of bouncy balls down the streets of San Francisco?

What’s your favourite viral video?


Aflac Quacks it’s Way to Social Media Success

Have you ever heard of the American Family Life Assurance Company?  A question that would likely be met with blank stares welcomes a completely different reaction when the company is referred to by its acronym, Aflac.

In 2008 Aflac’s revenues were $16.8 billion, a 44% increase from 2003 results.  The biggest reason for the company’s sudden success?  A campaign centred around an ‘Aflac’ quacking duck.   Click here for Daniel P. Amos’ (Aflac CEO) account of how he fell for the duck, featured in last month’s Harvard Business Review. The company’s improved brand awareness and name recognition has made them a leader in the two largest insurance markets in the world, the United States and Japan.

Aflac is a great example of a company that has leveraged the success of a traditional ad campaign through the effective use of social media integration.   As evidenced by demand for stuffed replicas of the Aflac duck following the release of the original ad campaign, the duck created a brand ambassador customers had developed a connection with. 

Aflac created a website that allowed people to rework the words the duck sings in its Japanese Aflac commercials.  In only 2 months, over 100,000 people had posted spoofs of the song online.  Today, the Aflac Duck has over 170,000 Facebook fans (I just became one).

Social media has allowed Aflac to further develop the personality of its star performer.  The duck has become more than just a part of an advertistement. He’s the face of the franchise.  Interested in knowing about some of the duck’s personal interests?   Facebook has the answer:

“I like watching funny videos on the internet, and hanging out. Food network- especially that Paula Deen. Listening to music. Acting in commercials. Pretty much, I’m living the dream. I would be into French food, but they use more duck than I’m comfortable with.”