Archive for category Viral Marketing

Australian Interior Authority breaks its secrecy

A big question that has been doing the rounds of late has been who has been behind the Australian Interior Authority website?

This Orwellian concept provided an alarming, albeit vague look at an Australia where the government is in control of citizens’ basic rights.

The site, accompanied by billboards in capital cities, simply showed future government directives on citizens including “All pregnancies must be approved”, enforced curfews, no public assembly and the requirement for national ID cards. The intention seemed to be to  spook people into thinking that the rights we take for granted are tenuous.

Theories abounded as to who was behind the websites, the most popular being the gaming and tobacco industries which are both running “nanny state” themed campaigns against government legislation on gaming regulations and plain packaging of cigarettes. But it has turned out to be a clever viral campaign by the Museum of Australian Democracy in Canberra, to highlight how much our democratic way of life should be appreciated.

Sadly, the seemingly far-fetched draconian laws posted on the site are in place in other parts of the world today, which the Museum’s new site shows.

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Cash-in to bring home the bacon

Just one of the many products cashing in on bacon's incredible popularity on social media.

Social media marketing usually works like this. You have a product and you promote it online through various means as part of your overall advertising strategy. If you’re creative and lucky enough, your efforts will go viral and your product will achieve instant fame and then others will seek to imitate or hang off your success.

But there’s one product that continues to go viral without any organised marketing campaign. Look in your twitter stream, especially on weekends and you’ll find a host of fond tweets about bacon. No one is sure why, apart from being easy to cook and pretty damn delicious, bacon is so appreciated online. Perhaps taste, affordability and its association with the morning after a big night make it a hit with the stereotypical social media demographic.

This mass appreciation for popular cured meat has seen an increase in people using the internet to search for bacon recipes. This isn’t a new phenomenon. In 2009 the LA Times reported that it “posted ‘1001 things to do with bacon’ in December, and it was the most e-mailed link on the site for a few days.

Bacon’s cult following has spawned a host of viral sensations that were unashamedly created to cash in on our love for “swine at nine”. One of most successful Bacon Explosion – a gut-busting 5000 calorie pork loaf that increases your LDL cholesterol level by 30 per cent just by looking at it! This culinary time bomb was invented by a couple of enterprising barbecue chefs, Jason Day and Aaron Chronister, to get traffic to their website It worked, receiving 400,000 views in it’s first month.

The success of the Bacon Explosion shows how social media can be manipulated to gain exposure for your product or organisation. All it takes is knowledge of what’s hot online, engaging content and a willingness to embrace the notion that no idea is too crazy.

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Cree shines light on B2B social media

Energy efficient industrial lighting isn’t the sexiest of products, but that hasn’t stopped one American company using social media to promote it in a fun and engaging way.

Cree produces LED lighting and uses its website to effectively show their practical, safety and environmental benefits – LED lights produce 85 per cent heat than incandescent lights. Linked to its standard corporate website, Cree’s “LED Revolution” portal defies the B2B convention of supplying information in large slabs of informative, but boring text with the odd diagram and statistical chart.

Cree balances fun with fact, knowing that the people who buy the lights aren’t don’t necessarily have the same knowledge and interest as the engineers who designed them. As well as having product information the Cree website has socially interactive features including its “Cries for Help” page where companies send in pictures of their terrible workplace lighting with a brief description. Site users are invited to vote for the worst example each month for that company to win six recessed LED downlights.

The “Learn About” section is very well written and turns what would normally be a dreary subject into an entertaining and informative read about the virtues of LED lighting (yes, it’s more interesting than it sounds). Making it all the more fun are the demonstrations on YouTube including the comparison between chocolate bunnies under incandescent and LED lights.

Cree also allows users to become part of their “LED Lighting Revolution” and provides all members of its growing social environmental movement a badge to display on their site that says, “Take the pledge. I joined the LED lighting revolution.” Cree has identified that this is a great way to build community extend its viral exposure.

Not surprisingly Cree also has an engaging Facebook and Twitter presences, which are clearly marked on the website.

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Irish jig goes viral

Social Media Marketing 101 dictates that said that you can’t simply make an ad go viral. However, a good idea and a well-executed plan will certainly help.

This video of a flashmob striking Sydney’s Central station is currently doing the rounds and has attracted plenty of interest helped of course by St Patrick’s Day. Rather than a bunch of uni students dancing to Rick Astley, it was a well planned Irish Dance spectacular starting with one boy who was gradually joined by more and more dancers dressed in business and school attire much to the amazement of commuters. The performance entertained the crowd at the station and the video has attracted more than 130,000 views in two days.

It’s very well filmed and edited which gives it away as a viral ad, which is confirmed at the end when the Tourism Ireland logo appears. My only criticism, from a marketing point of view, is it goes a bit too long. I reckon quite a few viewers would have moved on before the Tourism Ireland brand appears at the end.

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The more people ‘Like’ the FJ Cruiser, the cheaper it will be

Toyota has taken put a rather welcome twist on crowd sourcing by reducing the price of its new FJ Cruiser by $5 for everyone who Likes its Facebook site as part of a competition.

As the car maker says on its Like My Ride website it is “offering you the chance to buy a Toyota FJ Cruiser at a reduced social price. For every “Like” the price will drop by $5. You’ve got until Monday, 28th March to reduce the price as much as possible. Toyota will even throw extras as the price drops… adding to the bargain. Get sharing!”

As I write this the site has 1156 fans meaning the price of the retro looking four-wheel-drive has already dropped from its retail drive away price of $50,334 to $44,559. Anyone better at maths than me might have already worked out 10,067 Likes would mean a free car. However the small print (and there’s a lot of small print) says that the most the car can be discounted by is $20,000 to rather reasonable $30,334 – meaning 4000 Likes.

Once you Like the page you can fill in a form for a chance to buy the car at the reduced price.

This is an interesting promotion that will probably receive more attention than if Toyota were giving away a car. It also gives them a massive boost in its social media exposure and a database of potential customers.

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Your own online Idaho

You know an online tourism campaign is doing it right when you find yourself wanting to visit the destination in question within moments of viewing the website. Bonus points if you’ve never really given that place a second thought.

Take the US state of Idaho. Till now I knew it as a place of potatoes and the where Ernest Hemmingway lived and ended his final years. But the Idaho: Adventures in Living web site changed all that in an instant and proved a very inviting source from which to learn more.

The rustic-looking homepage uses on-screen space well. There’s a slide show showing promotions and images of the state’s diverse natural beauty, plus a host of things to send your mouse to including maps, special deals, 360-degree virtual tours, and the obligatory places to stay, go and do – which are divided into useful sub categories.

The website is backed up by an active social media campaign called the Great Idaho Getaway Sweepstakes, which gives entrants a chance to win monthly prizes such as resort stays with complementary theme park and tour tickets. You can enter via Facebook, Twitter or email – entering all three ways increases your chances.

Idaho Tourism is also pretty busy on Twitter with both its @visitIdaho and @Idahowinter accounts, the latter keeping snow conditions and special ski pass deals. There’s also an entertaining Visit Idaho Facebook page replete with information and deals, fan photos uploaded by satisfied travellers and YouTube videos including it’s the Great Idaho Getaway, an entertaining reality presentation about a family’s vacation through the “Famous Potatoes” state.

This is an excellent example of a tourism campaign that lets the product do all the talking and gives it every opportunity to be heard.

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Crowd sourcing gets love in action

A Greek advertising campaign called Love in Action shows just how popular a social media campaign can be when you involve the public. What started as crowd sourcing exercise to get people to choose from several storylines for what was essentially a half-hour chocolate ad ended up taking Greece by storm.

The producers were inundated with more than 1000 real life love stories which they then narrowed down and again put to a public vote. Casting auditions were put online and again put to the vote and fans regular updates of the production process.

As this video shows, the project became so successful that Greece’s top TV channel picked it up and showed it on Valentine’s Day where it attracted more than 330,000 viewers, which equated to about 12 per cent market share. Its online launch attracted a further 150,000 views in Greece alone, and 20,000 fans on Facebook.

Click here to view the Love in Action film with English subtitles.

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Online romance

Social Media Saves Valentine’s Day shows how the internet saves a guy from a potential Valentine’s Day disaster.

Reminiscent of the highly successful Nativity in the Digital Age, it cleverly shows the many ways romance is carried, nurtured and fuelled online – even if the protagonist is a bit of a jerk.

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One out of the Box’

We all love a good infographic, which is why I found Social media stats and facts 2010, produced, by the social media team at Box Hill Institute of Tafe pretty entertaining.

Despite it’s bland name, the five-minute film features stats and graphs in a slick presentation that explains social media usage around the world and its impact on business and media. What I particularly like about is how it’s not US-centric, concentrating on the world as a whole with an emphasis on Australia.

The most clever thing about the video is, it’s actually a viral ad for Box Hill Tafe, reminiscent of the Nativity in the Digital Age video – it hasn’t quite had the same success in terms of views since it was released last year, but considering it come to my attention this week through various sources could mean it’s in the midst of a meme renaissance.

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Another social media boo boo…

Time and time again we see it, people and brands making foolish mistakes with significant repercussions within the world of social media. Nestle famously botched things up for themselves by demanding a fake Kit Kat commercial (produced by Greenpeace) slamming them for their use of Palm Oil, be removed from the web. The video which up until that point was far from a viral success, suddenly went around the globe faster than Greenpeace could have dreamt it to. All thanks to Nestle ruffling feather. The public barrage aimed at Nestles poor handling of the case and sudden attention on their use of Palm Oil did not do them any favours and is now a case study that I personally feel every client should take note of.

One would think that with such a large brand going through such a public PR battle via social channels, some lessons would be learnt.

Apparently not.

Fashion designer Kenneth Cole is the latest to thoughtlessly act via a social media platform and surprise surprise, is now watching his brand fall from grace. Kenneth made the very foolish choice to hijiack a hashtag in Twitter to promote his latest collection. Now hashtag hijacking is not rare, but it’s use can not be taken lightly. To do it requires very strategic thinking or it can backfire. Like in this case. See image below:

The Cairo hashtag was being used as a news source to share events from troubled Eygpt. The most insensitive thing about this, is that a significant amount of people are losing their lives due to the unrest. This is no time at all for a brand, representing something as irrelevant as fashion, to hijack a hashtag where concerned users are sharing serious content.

Bad move.

But I will give credit to Kenneth Cole for addressing his stupidity via an apology post. Despite it seeming to be heartfelt, he has opened himself up to an onslaught of criticism. See the comments here.

Surely it’s time that we, as brands (and even individuals – no need to remind us all of Stephanie Rice’s Twitter mishap where she lost her Jaguar sponsorship), learn that as we join online conversations we are involving ourselves in a very transparent and dynamic environment. We must think logically and strategically and above anything else, we must use some common sense.


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