Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Now that this whole experience is coming to an end, it is the time to produce some reflection around the buzz that we were able to generate, within a short-time period, and using no more than typical viral marketing tools.

- Over 300 people took a look at our assignment! It is worth mentioning that we reached discussion groups solely composed of marketing professionals and students, so we were already targeting a minority addressable audience. So 300 is really a neat figure; it is way more than we'd get if we were simply submiting a traditional project report to our teacher. And the good thing is that he will see it anyway!!!
- More than a dozen people actually took their time to produce relevant contents within the scope of our project. People from mainly Portugal, the US, Brazil, and the UK.
- Yet, we found a dozen comments to be far more than those we were counting on. So, our many thanks to all that participated are really meaningful!

All-in-all, this project was really great fun. We look forward for more!


"The Temporary 5"
Your MBA Group

Facts & Figures Revealed

An overall analysis on the feedback generated by this whole viral experience from April 16th up until April 29th reveals a range of interesting facts:

For starters, in the Twitter channel, by submitting a total of twenty updates (some of which you can see below) about our work in progress, promoting our blog, providing viral marketing examples and asking for reader’s opinion, twenty two people regularly followed our updates, from the total of forty-three that registered to follow us, as our viral marketing gmail account demonstrates below. Still, one of the observations made was that getting these people to go from simply following our updates to actually producing content on the blog was rather hard.

As for our blogs visitor base, the Clicky web analytics tool shows that we had a total of 312 visitors in the period, with a total eyeball time of 18h and an average time per visit of around three and a half minutes. Interestingly enough, the two days with the highest visitor traffic were the 16th and 19th, very close to the beginning of our experience, in line with a typical viral marketing campaign. About two thirds of all our visitors came from Portugal, with Brazil, the US and the UK as the next largest visitor locations, as displayed in the map below. Worth mentioning is the fact that the link we placed in the Viral Marketing wikipedia page was instrumental in delivering 61 or 20% of visitors to our blog, by far the largest success rate of all the external links we placed. Speaking of which, external links were accountable for one third of the total visitors, who arrived in the blog mainly through a bookmark or direct address. Lastly, social media websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Startracker where we placed strategic links to our blog had a dismal effect on capturing visitors to our blog, with only 15 people arriving to the blog via these media.

Concerning the LinkedIn group The Viral Marketing Experience, created as another platform for promoting the discussion of the viral marketing state of the art, 33 people were interested in following the topics being discussed. Of these, the majority of members were our Magellan MBA fellow colleagues and rewardingly enough other people were interested in watching us progress with this experience, as is the case of several Marketing Managers, CEO’s, COO’s and even a Marketing Professor at the Harvard Business School. These members added four comments to stimulate the discussion whithin the group, which represents one third of the total comments received in all the LinkedIn, Startracker and Facebook channels where we promoted our blog.

And this is it!

Please keep scrolling up to take a look at our final conclusions and wrap-up of this truly educational experience.

The Viral Marketing Experience

This blog’s goal was mainly to contribute to the debate around Viral Marketing, gathering the opinions of field experts and marketing “loonies” alike, in order to get the feel of what practitioners think of Viral MKT, thereby avoiding the regular literature clichés – or, at least, trying to.

Aware of our time and resources’ limitations, we felt that the only way to gather a relevant number of opinions was (you probably have already guessed) going viral ourselves. And so we did – making use of social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and The Star Tracker, we asked different marketing discussion groups the million dollar question: after all, 'what’s up with Viral Marketing'?

We placed the question in over a dozen discussion groups; below you’ll find a glimpse over the feedback we’ve received, showing different perspectives on what viral marketing is and what it is good for.

For instance, Carla Silva (Direct marketing specialist) defined viral marketing as «a set of marketing techniques that explore social networks to generate an exponential increase in brand/product awareness, in a similar process of an epidemic». Bill Ratcliffe (CEO @ High Level Research, Inc.) sums its application stating that «news/ads/products go viral when they surprise and please people to the extent that they want to share their learning with others». Both would agree with Flávio Gart (Creative @ Bazooka), who told us that «viral marketing happens whenever a brand offers valuable contents to potential customers/stakeholders, who – having recognized the message’s worth – will spread it to their own network, thereby leading a chain reaction».

On the other hand, João Botelho (student @ AIESEC) presented us a somehow more emotional view. His first thought regarding viral marketing was «thinking in those advertisements that everyone talks about, because they fit to our real life! Those campaigns that not only make us want the product, but also mess with everyone, because they create curiosity and desire! I think this is the kind of marketing that makes people write in their blogs, spreading the word about the product, commenting ‘Oh! Did you see that advertisement?’ ‘Did you see that new product that appeared?’»

On this position, we’d add a relevant observation: although it is true that new media and social networks make it easier for one to share brilliant ads, the fact is that a TV advertisement isn’t exactly what we’d call viral marketing – even though it may ultimately be “transmitted” that way – unless it is created specifically for that end (e.g., Cadbury’s ads on this blog). It is important to set things aside, otherwise one might wrongfully take every virally shared message as viral marketing, subtracting it from its strategic dimension, making it no more than the creative impact of an advertisement conception. The thing is that viral marketing is turning into a discipline itself, gathering concepts such as «Recommendation Boosting, Reputation Management, Buzz Marketing» (Markus Roder @ viral marketing expert).

Altogether, viral marketing tools might lead to a lot of benefits; but whenever misused, they might also lead you to a deep hole. Hugo Morais (Yard Manager) shared his perspective on the ups & downs of viral marketing:

Thumbs up:
- Quickly spread
- Wide possible coverage
- “Buzzability”
- Super-low cost
- High/fast response rates

Thumbs down:
- Hard to pick a specific target
- Bad messages will also be spread quickly
- Might be faced as pure SPAM
- Minor control over the campaign

So, not everything is perfect in “ViraLand”. As our colleague Rui Carvalho (Magellan MBA) reminded us, Viral Marketing «doesn’t come without drawbacks (at least potential ones). In Portugal there’s a saying that goes something like this: ‘Who tells a tale, adds a sentence’. Relying on an epidemic to promote something may reach disproportionate and uncontrollable dimensions in which reverting a biased message may prove to be a daunting and perhaps impossible task». As shown, good viral marketing might turn into great publicity, but the wrong message might lead to a PR disaster – as Debbie M. (VP Marketing @ Eli’s CheeseCake) puts it, «the distinction between Marketing and PR is being blurred in social media, knowingly or unknowingly. It will be interesting as it unfolds».

In the end, one must give viral marketing a careful thought. One should look for its advantages, but beware of its downsides – as with everything in marketing (and life, for that matter)! The really important thing here, as always, is to send the right message and, beyond that, give people what they want. As Spencer Wendt (VP @ Brand Power Exchange) told us, if you have to choose «’going viral’ versus building a great product that adds value to people’s lives, shoot for the 'adds value': it's the shortest distance between point "A" (You) and point "B" (success)».

Tweet for 100K

Following Lisa Ramos-Oakley’s suggestion, as a result of our discussion in the Unilever Group of Linkedin, we present Hugh Jackman and his grand viral marketing campaign - He is giving away $100K Aussie dollars to the charity with the best tweet.

Thank you Lisa for the tip!

Bellow is an example of a tweet:

Cheap and Efficient

One of the most seen videos ever, ‘Evolution of Dance’ had 120 millions of exhibition on Youtube. Jud Laipply has already a website and did not require any corporate sponsorship – pure viral marketing.

The Musical Examples

Musical applications of viral marketing aren't new. The classic example is the "Arctic Monkeys", whose success in the web preceded the contract signing. The demo CDs they distributed in the concerts, and the downloadable musics available at their website granted them public recognition and they finally signed a contract with Domino:

Portuguese artist Ana Free live performances were available online in her website and in Myspace. Singer and Writer, Ana had her first single released only in May 23, 2008:

Radiohead had a somewhat different approach, and in 2007 anounced that their latest album would be released and available for download at their site. The download was free and the fans would pay whatever they wanted. The average contribution from the fans was around 8£ that bypassed the normal industry distribution channels, and unofficial numbers are around 1.2 million downloads. Although already an established band, this new approach didn´t compromise the physical release on January 2008; quite the contrary, the acclaimed album reached charts nº1 in the US and the UK:

Prince latest album is being released through a original site. The free music download is available only after solving a sort of enigma, acting at the same time as a teaser to the release.

The most impressive example is Susan Boyle's performance in "Britains Got Talent". The live performance surpassed Obama's Presidential Campaign page views and reached the amazing number of 100 million in a couple of weaks:

Susan Boyle - Singer - Britains Got Talent 2009 - The best bloopers are a click away

Monday, April 27, 2009

Viral Marketing Tools

Virtual networking is a new way of life that millions of people have adopted, and we can make the best of it by using it for virtual marketing campaigns. You may find some information bellow, showing that Twitter is growing very fast and together with Linkedin were excellent tools to our marketing project, by helping to create a buzz...


114 million users + 230 000 new users/day
Main goal: self-promotion, marketing, music/video sharing.


124 million users + 250 000 new users/day
Main goal: self-promotion. (Very used by celebrities and politicians!)


70 million users + 350 000 new users/day
Main goal: creation of on-line communities.


120 million users
Main goal: creation of on-line communities.


2 million users + 3500 new users/day
Main goal: maintenance and expansion of contacts and creation of virtual communities.


25 million users
Main goal: to extend business contacts.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Take a look at some of the buzz we've been generating!

Since the Twitter account was created a week ago we've been getting a lot of people following our updates as displayed in the picture below. Have YOU been one of them? If not then register now in order to cath up with the many topics we've been discussing.

Here's a sneak peak of some of the discussions currently underway:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Viral gone wrong

Good news travels fast; bad news, even faster. The Internet brought companies closer to their customers, and greatly contributed to building great viral marketing initiatives. Yet, on-line social networks might also be the carriers of armful messages that might end up hurting a brand's reputation, whenever there is no proper response. Amazon and Domino's Pizza are now learning this the hard way. Follow this link to Business Week, and check how the wrong message, spread on-line, might lead to a PR crisis. (Thanks Debbie for the relevant reference!)

One of our colleagues kindly shared with us his opinion on this subject, which I believe sums up that "viral duality" pretty well! Take a look:

«One of the most fascinating characteristics of virus in general is their overwhelming capacity to adapt, not in terms of their phenotype but, more importantly, in terms of their “genetic database”. This feature presents as an advantage over the process of natural selection and the “survival of the fittest”. Just as an example, every year there’s a new flu vaccine. “New” is the keyword here. The vaccines are developed by the pharmaceutical industry taking into consideration the most prevalent strains of Influenzae virus at the time. Now to the subject of “Viral Marketing”. “Word-of-mouth” is consensually one of the most cost-effective ways of getting people to know a new or improved product, service, idea, or gossip! By choosing a number of highly-connected well known individuals to start this chain reaction is no more no less than endorsement. Its effectiveness however is most likely to come through if the intended recipients of the (marketing) message are “consumers” of the increasingly trendy social networks (like Facebook, Hi5, Startracker, Linkedin, etc…). “Viral Marketing”, however (like anything in life) doesn’t come with drawbacks (at least potential ones). In Portugal there’s a saying that goes something like this: “Who tells a tale, adds a sentence.”. Relying on an epidemic to promote something may reach disproportionate and uncontrollable dimensions in which reverting a biased message may prove to be a daunting and perhaps impossible task. In summary: use it with care!
Yours, Rui»
By: Rui Carvalho, Magellan MBA

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Web interaction

Viral marketing is also about interacting with our customer-base. Other than spreading a given message, viral marketing is also a good way to learn more about your customer. J&B's 'Start a party' campaign is an example of this.

On the other hand, Playboy TV (at Portuguese TV operator ZON TV Cabo) is being promoted through the community website Garagem da Lili. The site, presented by Portuguese playmate Liliana, has humurous, provocative contents. Thanks to a promotional strategy that includes free previews and contests for those actively involved, the campaign engages the viewers into testing the Playboy TV channel and recommending it to their friends.

The colour purple

Cadbury holds a vast tradition of humurous advertising. Now, thanks to YouTube and the like, Cadbury is turning into a viral expert, designing ads for a one-time appearence in a peak time (e.g., in a Brit. Big Brother decisive moment). The ads themselves are so appealing that viewers will just share them throughout the web.
Their latest ('Eyebrows') is already a hit! Take a look!

And here are the previous examples of Cadbury's genius:


Altogether, these videos were seen by millions, at a zero broadcasting cost (other than the inaugural TV ad).

The best job in the world

Imagine you had a chance of winning a 6-month vacation in paradise - ok, it is an Australian island, but still pretty close... Now add it a $ 150K payment on top. Sounds tempting, doesn't it?

The 'Island Reed Job' attracted:

- 34,684 applicants
- Applications poured in from over 200 countries - the only countries that didn’t submit a video were Western Sahara and North Korea.
- Traffic to the Island Reef Job site increased 25-fold in the campaign's first week, reaching 2.3 million visits during the application period.
- It is believed approximately $80 million worth of publicity was generated.
- Numerous websites, blogs and social media profiles have been created specifically for it, all providing links back to the site
- Forty-five Facebook Groups have been set up for “Island Reef Job”
- Their YouTube Channel has had over 66,000 channel views and 3,667 videos watched so far.
- There were countless Twitter mentions and the hashtags “#islandreefjob” and ”#bestjob” were set up to track the conversation.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Yes We Can

Barack Obama Music Video, which inspired millions with the famous slogan "Yes we can", was put on YouTube to help the 2008 US Barack Obama's presidential campaign in a viral way. It is a quite nice video produced by (Black Eyed Peas member) which gave him a Webby Award. Since the original posting, it has been re-posted several times by other users and had been watched a combined total of more than 20 million times among all of the postings (2008 information)!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Queen Rania on YouTube taking the most of it

Queen Rania of Jordan has a YouTube channel, with the aim to break down stereotypes of the Musleim world, opening a dialogue between the Middle East and the occident. In what respects viral marketing, this was an excellent approach: At the moment there are almost 20000 people registered on the channel with 800000 exhibitions, and thousands (and even millions in some cases) of exhibitions of the YouTube videos. Excellent Your Majesty!

Are YOU following me??!!!

Then please DO!!
viralmktxperien is me on Twitter!
Don't be left behind!
Get there now! :)

Wassup Reloaded - 2008

Remember Budweiser's Wassup commercial’s huge success back in 2001? Well, these guys are back with a recent remake of the video with current topics from the War in Iraq, to the subprime crisis, Katrina and stocks collapse, supporting the Obama campaign. Are you one of the 6 million who watched it? What do you make of it? Is Budweiser still cashing in with this private video?

Sensible soccer

Sure, this is not the funniest ever. But 30 million enjoyed it on YouTube anyway.

Like a virgin

How did BMW get back up in the US? Its short-films' series, available on-line only (yet seen by millions), surely had something to do with it...

Straight to the heart

A classic. Once again, YouTube was the base to spread Becel's healthy message to hundreds of thousand of consumers.

Yes, he could

Barack Obama’s presidential run was, aside its political and historical meaning, a viral marketing wonder. Check out this presentation on the effect of the combination of A powerful message & Swift social communication platforms.

This presentation
is also worth watching!

Viral MINI

Mini sure knows its way around Viral Marketing. Check out their latest work - more than 100.000 visits in less than a month.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Millions will see this

Viral Marketing is proclaimed to be a cost effective way to reach our customers, but many argue that is only possible whenever the message is truly creative - a meaningless claim, as it would apply to any message regardless of the channel used.
Samsung presented us with a great example of the power of viral marketing (and creativity). The video below was seen by nearly 7 (!) Million people - in less than a month and on You Tube only! Does cost-effectiveness ring a bell? Sure it does: clever viral marketing comes "sheeper".

Dove evolution

To find out more about a great Dove campaign on the promotion of real beauty watch out this video. You will understand how our perception of beauty is distorted. Let us know the impact of this video on you.

The experience context

When we first thought about going through with this project on Viral Marketing, we were considering the regular, old-fashioned report format: 4 pages, single space, Times New Roman, Size 12, and so on; you know the drill.
Then it came to us: why not actually learn something out of this, and take a hands-on approach? This blog is our attempt to, within a tight time-frame and an inexistent budget, generating awareness to our project, and fostering some discussion over this topic. However, there is still an academic perspective on this that should be kept in mind, so we'll do our best in combining and consolidating both the presentation of real business cases and our findings resulting from the experience. So, partly this will be an assignment on the assignment itself.

The "report blog" will follow this structure:

1. Introduction - you're reading it!
2. Case presentations - real-life examples of viral campaigns;
3. The Viral Marketing Experience - the way we did things around here: tools & channels used; feedback received; random observations & insights;
4. Facts & Figures - overview of the blog's stats and overall activity in on-line groups (Linkedin; StarTracker; Facebook; Twitter; etc.)
5. Wrap-up.

And that's it! Now make us all a favour and keep tuned.

Your MBA Group.

Welcome to a new viral marketing experience

Greetings net surfer,

We are a group of MBA students developing an assignment on Viral Marketing for the Relationship Marketing course.

Because we are confident that any advice or suggestions you may have on interesting viral marketing campaigns will be extremely valuable, we will be directly using your comments on our assignment.

So, please share with us your view on the best viral marketing real world stories and be responsible for making our work a diversified and up to date one.

Thank you very much for your kind support.

Your MBA group.
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