Companies use a technique that goes by the name ‘Viral Marketing‘ to sell their product. It can be said to be one of the most effective marketing schemes in today’s society. However, would you consider viral marketing to be ‘tricking’ or ‘cheating’?
So what is Viral Marketing?
When an online video or website gains a lot of exposure that can produce a large source of revenue and not just through advertisements. I think just about everybody understands that you can make money from YouTube (which wasn’t widely known until a few years ago).
Users earn revenue from their visitors watching and clicking on advertisements on their videos. Companies will pay YouTube to show their advert to people and in return the video creators will earn a 40% percentage of that profit. This is how BakerBrotherTV and many other people earn money on their videos. As you can see the whole internet is run through the use of adverts and without them we’d have to pay monthly subscriptions to our favorite websites. Now that we have that cleared up let’s answer your question.
“Viral Marketing’ is when one user passes information about a company onto another user through e-media.”
In simple terms, a viral video made for the company that will include a small advertisement within the video. A recent yet notable example would be the ‘Telekinetic Coffee Shop Prank’ for the 2013 Carrie remake starring ‘Chloe Grace Moretz‘ and ‘Julianne Moore‘ after the 1976 original.
The video pulled in over 57 million views all with a small budget of most likely under £1000. The average advert on the 2014 superbowl cost $4 million and would be shown to 110 million people across America. Let’s say if a 30 second ad to 110m people costs $4 m then a 30 second ad to 57m people would cost $2 million.
This 2 and a half minute video that sparked talk among people and was seen by almost 60 million people cost pennies compared to an advert on the superbowl (football tournament). The movie produced an $80 million dollar gross profit with a $30 million dollar budget leaving them with $50 million dollars profit. The movie would not have been as popular if it wasn’t for the ‘VM Campaign’.
That’s just a small explanation into how effective ‘Viral Marketing’ can be.
How did they make it go ‘viral’?
The video had a kick start. The producers, actors and a writer (Stephen King) all have social media accounts with a large followings meaning that they were able to use that to get the video going. It’s kind of like a ‘disease/virus’ where it’s spread among people and if you can infect a couple hundred people then it won’t be long before that number reaches the millions.
However, the reason the video does ‘infect’ others is because of how shareable it is. One of the key factors of this is whether or not it provokes a strong emotion like fear, joy or even sadness. The suspense and the surprise factor is also important. In the video we are ‘suspenseful’ due to the atmospheric music and the enigmatic question of ‘How will they react?’. We see them laughing after which constructs a joyful esque (again, one of the emotions that encourages ‘sharing’.)
You may have seen Facebook user post images that say ‘Like this for Justin Bieber or Comment if you hate Justin Bieber’. Both interactions will display on your friends news feed which has then built that photos overall possible reach and thus building their page.
In some cases the company does not want the user to know that somebody is trying to sell them something and so they’ll wan’t to sell their product/service subliminally. ‘GoPro‘ is known for it’s ‘viral marketing’ campaigns that are still questioned to if they are real videos or videos created or purchased by the company to promote their ‘HD Versitile/Underwater Mini Camera’. There have been a few and here they are.
Camera falls from airplane and lands in pig pen–MUST WATCH END!!
This video is titled in the way that a regular user may title their video and with the fact it was uploaded to a blank youtube channel called ‘Mia Munselle’ which creates the illusion that it’s a genuine video that isn’t trying to sell you a GoPro. The video shows a sky diver accidently dropping his camera that lands into a pig pen where it’s chewed up. The video tells us that it survives large falls which is one of GoPro’s key selling points.
GoPro: Fireman Saves Kitten
This one however was uploaded to the official GoPro channel which may have been due to the nature of the video. It’s a cute and happy video which provokes strong emotions which means the audience will most likely be thinking happy thoughts and not whether or not they are being manipulated to promote their product. The video shows a fireman give oxygen to a lifeless kitten and as it meows with it’s first breath back into the world.
GoPro: Man Fights Off Great White Shark In Sydney Harbour
This is the newest one to be released and only has just under 3 million views at the moment but it has already been said to be a fake. As I’ve explained, this video would have been produced so that people share this around and advertise the GoPro camera. The video shows a man jumping into the sea only to encounter a ‘great white shark’ before swimming away. (Fake – PROOF)
So that’s it for ‘Viral Marketing’. Do you think that these companies that are thought to be creating ‘fake’ footage and passing it off as genuine for their financial gain is okay? Their clever techniques were sure executed well and defiantly did it’s job. Is it considered tricking though? Leave a comment below!