Viral Marketing

Viral Marketing is the term applied to any method where existing groups and communities of people are influenced by a brand or message by means of a self replicating mechanism.

A common form of viral marketing on the Internet is a video, email or photo containing the brand or message, that is so entertaining or useful that people tend to pass it on to friends – this is the self replicating mechanism.

An example of Viral Marketing is the Cadbury Gorilla campaign. This was a 90 second film sequence, aired in cinemas, TV and the Internet, of a gorilla passionately playing the drums to Phil Collins’ 1981 hit “In the Air Tonight”. The sequence was uploaded the YouTube shortly after it’s public release in August 2007, and received over 500,000 views in it’s first week. Cadburys reported a 9% increase in sales on the year before and, interestingly, Phil Colins re-released In the Air tonight on the strength of the campaign, and became the third most downloaded track of the day in iTunes.

The movie sector is increasingly utilising viral marketing as a means of upcoming film promotion. An example of this is The Dark Knight and Cloverfield, both of which have made use of fake websites yielding subtle plot clues and veiled film references.

Related definitions: Hyper Viral Marketing

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