Friday, May 21, 2010

Viral, Anyone?

What do the words viral marketing or viral advertising mean?

Typically it describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message's exposure and influence. This week Alabama Filmmaker, Blogger and Talk Show Host Ladd Ehlinger Jr, found out what it was like to have the nation's eyes looking at his work.

When I last checked the video had nearly one million YouTube hits, not to mention all the sites that have ripped the video and have displayed it including, The Wall Street Journal, AOL, Glenn Beck even Funny or Die displayed and made a parody video of the viral video. The video is still on the front page of The Gawker.
"I decided to stick him on a horse, give him a gun, and make it a John Wayne movie," he says. "Some jerks are saying, ‘Oh, it makes us look like rednecks!' Well, maybe in New York you wouldn't make an ad like that, but this is Alabama, and here, people ride horses and shoot guns." When Peterson saw the ad, he "loved it," Ehlinger says. "Because I was basically doing a portrait of him," he explains. "Not a campaign ad, but a portrait."

Like viruses, such strategies take advantage of rapid multiplication to explode the message to thousands, to millions. Through the push of social media networks Peterson was able to increases brand awareness and hopefully achieve marketing objectives (I even saw a “Dale Peterson for President” Fan Page pop up on Facebook.)

I spoke with Ladd and asked him what makes a video go viral or what did he think would make a video go viral? "The goal of people interested in creating successful viral marketing programs is to identify individuals with high Social Networking potential and create a message that will appeal to this segment of the population."
Alabama "is full of these folks who are more like Dale," commercial director Ehlinger said Monday. "He's basically a cowboy, that's what he is. The Winchester in that ad is his Winchester. The idea was to use the traditions of John Wayne westerns both to show Peterson's personality "and have a little fun with that image," Ehlinger said. "We're laughing at ourselves, not taking ourselves too seriously."

A few tips for attempting to make a viral video:

Tip #1 – Homemade or the look of homemade works great.

Tip #2 – Video should be less than 3 minutes.

Tip #3 - Be clear and specific about what you are doing.

Tip #4 - Video should be entertaining. comedy seems to spread the quickest

Tip #5 - Try to appear as spontaneous as possible

Tip #6 – Tell everyone about what you did.

Tip # 7 – Try to get it into the hands of Friend with lots of Followers.

Tip #8 – Keep trying until you make it!

In the past few years, video has come a long way. I am still making my way into using online video. It is a part of how I get information but I am trying to integrate video into my marketing strategy. I even use YouTube as search engine just as often as Google now point being your clients are there and video’s potential is obvious: it could be your big ticket!

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