Friday, August 29, 2008

The power of viral marketing

With more than 2.9 million worldwide views of the original viral video not to mention the 1.4 million views of other classic hits on its website (, the Cadbury Gorilla campaign is one of the most successful viral campaigns of our time. And it's about time Australian marketers learned how important viral marketing campaigns can be to a brand's marketing mix.

In 2007 Cadbury in the UK was in dire trouble after a series of product recalls. Since the launch of this ad however, it's subsequent win of a Grand Prix award at Cannes and best ad according to as well as numerous copycat YouTube videos and Facebook appreciation groups it is no surprise that according to British company YouGov that the tide has turned in Cadbury's favour and public perception is now in the black once again. Phew! But what makes such great viral execution? What rules can be applied to other viral campaigns to help get such a reaction?

Whilst working for MySpace I have encountered many a viral campaign. Some great, some woefully average. I have come up with three key learnings that all marketers can take away.

The video must be entertaining

The reasons why users forward viral videos on is because quite simply it is entertaining. If someone finds a viral video entertaining they take ownership of it so they can pass it on to their distribution list and get a reputation amongst their friends of being the email king. Don't underestimate how important this can be to some people! So remember, if you want a viral campaign to work it has to be entertaining enough for people to want to forward it on.

The video shouldn't be more than than 2 minutes long

When people look at their emails it is generally before work, at work or at school which means they don't have the time to watch a long video. Keep it under 2 minutes, this way you will be sure that the majority of people will watch it in it's entirety and if it is entertaining enough pass it on.

The video MUST be original

The aim of the video is for it to be passed on. Personally I know I get backlash from my friends if I'm sending on sloppy seconds so be sure no one has seen anything like it before. The reason why the Cadbury commercial has been such a success is because no-one has ever seen anything like it!

The Cadbury campaign cost Cadbury 6.2 million pounds. It may sound like a lot but that video will be passed on for years to come and be a trigger point for chocolate consumption every time it is watched. So has this viral campaign paid for itself? You bet! It's about time Australian marketers take a leaf out of the the books of their UK equivalents because it's time to get viral!!!!


  1. Nice post Kruppy,

    I agree that Australian companies generally suck at viral vids, but i think the main reason is not lack of creativity, but moreso bravery. No marketing manager is going to risk the precious aussie dollars they have or their short 2 ear career lifespan by sticking their neck out for "long-term" branding initiatives.

    The Cadbury Gorilla video is interesting, but lets not forget it was a TV commercial before anything. The internet just helped spread it. Truer examples of viral videos could be the Marc Ecko "Tagging Air Force One" video, or even (you could argue) "Will It Blend".

  2. You're right Age. It was a TV comm first but I don't think it really matters whether an ad begins or ends on the internet, the viral effect still pushes messages around at absolutely no charge to the marketer!

    I haven't seen those campaigns you talked about will have to have a squiz.


  3. The key with a viral ad is not to assume it will go viral. For years now 'viral' has been a buzz word, but in reality, viral is a literal decription of what a good ad does.