What up “Lyfers”, did you miss me? I know I haven’t spoken to you guys in a while. My apologies there. I had a bit of a sudden medical issue which resulted in me having open heart surgery one day, and then lyfe saving surgery the next…You know, because I almost died from the 1st one. Ok, maybe I shouldn’t say it so lightly, but truth is truth.
As you see in the title, I have to talk to you guys about Viral Marketing Initiatives. My professor says its a must if I want a grade. She’s the boss, and so no catchy titles to play on, we’re just going to go along for this ride. So here’s a question for you. Have you ever thought about how an ad or post suddenly went viral? I know have, especially if the ad didn’t particularly speak to me. I know everyone isn’t going to like all things, but curiosity gets me some time.
So you guys have to help me out. I’m going to tell you a few of the reasons I think things go viral, but also, drop your opinions in the comments and tell me what you think makes a post, or video go viral. One reason, for me, is the message. There’s a reason that every commercial doesn’t go viral. The message isn’t a message for “everybody”, and so it doesn’t relate to the majority of people. Its why a McDonald’s commercial for hamburgers isn’t going to speak to a vegetarian, but messages that speak to the heart often can. I think a great example of this is Nike. Do you guys remember the “Dream Crazier” commercial from last year? Nike released commercial as a celebration of International Women’s Day, and it spoke to the power of women. It tapped into emotions, and pointed out the differences of how women are treated. 50 million plus views across all official Nike platforms is enough to say that emotion plays a part in going viral.
Another thing that I think plays a part is relatability. This, in my opinion, goes hand in hand with emotion. I actually think it speaks directly to emotion to be honest. The picture above is a tweet that I screenshotted, and shared to my personal Facebook page because my 1st thought was that I could relate to that. I understood it. I shared it because I thought others may have been able to relate as well, and it may help someone recognize a trait about themselves that needed healing. As you can see, 2.8K people gave some kind of reaction, but 67K people shared it. If you have a FB account, you know that FB only allows 5K friends maximum, but this post still randomly gets shares out of nowhere because people can relate, and that relation speaks to their emotions.
I also think humor and honesty can lead a company’s campaign to go viral. Yes, I gave you two there lol. Anyone remember when KFC had to close stores because it ran out of chicken? Hilarious to me, but no so funny to the company who had to close hundreds of stores across the U.K., and take a sudden, major, loss in revenue. KFC’s public relations department chose to be honest, but mix in some humor in the process. How you ask? Look at this:
KFC understood that a chicken place without chicken is a huge disaster, and so they took out a full page apology in the U.K. newspaper, and used a play on their letters to say hey, we messed up. The ad was celebrated as “a masterclass in PR crisis management” by Andrew Bloch, who is a PR “guru” on his twitter account. His tweet had 13K likes, and 7K direct shares.
Now of course I couldn’t end a post about things going viral without adding something so simple as excitement. It doesn’t have to be a celebrity endorsement, but a person genuinely excited will get that word of mouth movement started. A great example is this, Anyone remember James Wright? Of course not. The name most likely will not ring any bells, but if you remember all the hype behind the release of Patti Lebelle’s Pie, or Patti’s Pies as its still affectionately called, you can thank Mr. Wright.
His YouTube review took Patti’s Pie to a level that not even Mrs. LeBelle’s marketing team could have anticipated, and made James Wright a viral sensation. The video has 84K views on his official channel, but an article on NPR says it gained a total of 8.5 million views, and he became just as popular as the pie. People from everywhere gravitated to his excitement, which connected to their emotions, and they became excited to try it as well. In fact, NPR says that before Mr. Wright’s review, Patti and Wal-Mart, who she partnered with to sell the pies, had average sales at best. That’s the power of excitement.
So thanks guys for sticking it out with me for this assignment. I Love you guys to Lyfe, but please, tell me what YOU think makes something go viral in your opinion. I’d love to read it, and I’m sure my professor would love to see it to. Until next time, make the rest of your lyfe the best of your lyfe.