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Designed for Viral

March 14, 2017

Should marketers be striving to go viral…or be memorable?



If you work with social media, then generally most of your day consists of monitoring trends and topics of current interest. It is the fastest moving media outlet going; you never have a guarantee how long something will be trending for or if it will be beneficial to your business. Everyday there are new trends and new content, being shared on multiple platforms that you need at least 6 eyes and a minimum of 10 cans of coke to process.

All of this is in hope of being able to create and react to content that will go ‘Viral’.

Previously this would’ve meant people rushing about with a great sense of panic, copious amount of hand sanitizer and claiming this disease is the new apocalypse. Unfortunately, it is not as exciting as this; merely people smirking at their phones while watching a video of a dog taking a shower. Marketers today see this as the goal of social media, you haven’t succeeded in your job if you haven’t made something go viral…right?


But is going viral the ultimate goal?

Well, there have been a lot of marketing campaigns that have gone viral within the last year, in adwatch’s survey they noted McVitie’s Kittens ad was the most liked TV advert of 2016. Now you would think that this would then be noted as the most successful and applauded ad of the year… But what is crucial to consider is exactly how memorable was this ad, a week or even a few months down the line? In their survey, adwatch also ranked the most recalled ads of 2016 and the results were quite telling. What I would have considered the most annoying advert on TV and one of ASA’s most complained about ads of 2016 was actually the one people remembered. This of course was MoneySuperMarket’s ‘Epic Squads’.


So, which of these two ads would you consider a year later to have been the more successful campaign. The one that went viral and had its 5 seconds of fame, or the one people would visibly grimace at but can actually recall?


Now take into consideration that we live in a society where people have shorter attention spans than your average goldfish (I can’t be the only one whose forgotten what TV show they were watching during the adverts… I hope) and social media caters to this with lots of new content being posted every few seconds. Online social networks have proved to be a crucial medium for brands to revive their relationships with customers, but it is very easy for things to be easily lost in an ever growing newsfeed. The ideal viral campaign would create an ecosystem of autonomous conversations from individuals and communities sharing the content while holding meaningful conversations about the brand.






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