Viral marketing

23 11 2007

Woke up at midday today.  Oops!  I blame Adam’s homework, naturally, even though I’m perfectly aware that I should have done it sooner.  Anyway, I think the rest has probably done me some good.  At least, I’m not so black around the eyes as I was.

FreeRice is proving quite addictive.  I haven’t yet managed to get past level 47, but I’m going to keep trying.  It’s for a good cause, which means I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time like I am when I play other online games.  Still, I haven’t noticed any improvement in my ability to sell myself; maybe I need to play more… o_O

Anyhoo, FreeRice was described as a viral marketing success story, and I said I’d explain what viral marketing was.  Put very simply, it’s where news of a product or concept is spread via word-of-mouth.  The Internet usually plays a big part in this.  Take FreeRice, for example.  The news of it is being spread by bloggers, so if I mention it here, and you go on it and think “I say, what a simply spendid notion!” and tell your friends, who go “This is ill, man!  I think I’ll tell my posse!” and it spreads that way, that’s an example of viral marketing.  The news spreads even faster when someone hears about it and decides to write his or her own blog on the subject.  Soon, everybody knows about FreeRice.

Or take the Cadbury’s Gorilla advert.  Yes, it’s awesome, but the point is that people saw it, thought “This is awesome!” and talked about it.  You only have to see how many times the thing has been uploaded to YouTube to see what I mean.  No wonder it caught on.

This sort of thing can be encouraged by the creators of a product in order to advertise it.  For example, the repeated use of the phrase “Bad Wolf” in Doctor Who will almost certainly have generated interest in the show, as people discussed it eager to find out what it meant (and when we did find out, who didn’t feel kind of let down?).  This was encouraged by the show’s creators, who actually set up a Bad Wolf website.

Viral marketing is probably a good example of the Internet benifiting businesses (rather than ticking them off), because in theory, the more people talk about a product, the more people buy it.  Linking this back to my music video work, I wonder whether The Bends would have sold half as well as it did if it hadn’t been for the “Just” and “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” videos provoking so much discussion and confusion (I like to think it would, because it’s a good album, but they can’t have hurt it, can they?).




4 responses

23 11 2007
Will Rhodes

I think Bad Wolf has yet to be answered properly! 🙂

23 11 2007

Well, they gave us an explanation, but it wasn’t very satisfactory, was it?

A plot point for the next series season finale, perhaps? 😀

23 11 2007

the word ‘viral’ just sounds really bad, even though the connotation should be the exact opposite when you pair it with ‘marketing’! sadly i never manage to get past 42 because i’m always making the same mistakes or the words are really that obscure! so i focus more on how much i can donate rather than how high i can go to make myself feel better haha.

24 11 2007

When I first tried, I couldn’t get past 41. There’s a knack to it, I’ve noticed – you can sometimes guess the meaning from the origin or shape of the word, even if the components of the word mean nothing to you. For example, English-looking words usually have everyday meanings, whilst Greek-looking words can be medical. You’re right, though, the main thing is to donate as much as one can, and it’s important not to lose sight of that.

When I first heard the term “viral marketing”, I thought it must be something bad, too. I think it was probably intended as a disparaging term, but has caught on anyway because it’s such a clever tactic.

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