Everything About Viral Marketing Examples
One of the earliest and most successful examples of viral marketing was The Blair Witch Project. From an initial budget of just $20,000, the film made $250 million at the box office. Why? Because the advertising leading up to the movie was so interesting and compelling that it made people send links to their friends, speculate online, and discuss the movie in the lead-up to its release. Thirteen years later, viral marketing examples extend far beyond movies. Businesses from car companies to law firms are now using viral marketing to expand brand awareness and get the best bang for their advertising buck.
Pop Culture Examples of Viral Marketing
The best viral marketing examples in pop culture come from a wide variety of companies, both big and small. Burger King made audiences laugh with its “Subservient Chicken” website, which allowed visitors to ask a man in a chicken suit to do…well, just about anything, as long as it wasn't X-rated. The movie The Dark Knight ran a viral marketing campaign that involved sending out fake campaign posters with an affiliated campaign website.
Sometimes, giveaways can be examples of viral marketing, especially if they're connected through your existing social media channels. Viral marketing examples include Virgin Blue's 9th anniversary giveaway, in which $9 plane tickets were sold—and the advertising for the sale was exclusively Twitter-based. While only 1000 tickets were available, the link was re-tweeted extensively, drawing immense amounts of traffic to the Virgin Blue website.
Video Examples of Viral Marketing
Today, most new viral marketing examples are videos. By distributing videos on YouTube, companies can inexpensively have video marketing campaigns broadcast to a huge range of internet users. Some of the biggest examples of viral marketing success have now come from YouTube.
One of those viral marketing examples, “Will it Blend?”, advertised a blender that was said to blend nearly anything. After releasing a few videos of increasingly improbable items being blended, the company started seeking out new requests for blending. Delighted users from all over the internet forwarded each other videos of a blender that could blend up bricks, whole pineapples, and anything else people could think of. What could have been a product that languished in obscurity became an overnight sensation.
Law Firm Viral Marketing
Examples of viral marketing for law firms are still hard to come by, because most law firms really aren't using these techniques to their advantage. That's great news for your firm: there's still more to be done. One of the best viral marketing examples having to do with the law comes out of New York City. At one subway station, a single concrete step was taller than any other, leading hundreds of commuters to trip every day—a liability nightmare.
A video was made to capture the constant stream of off-balance subway passengers climbing the stairs, and the city quickly moved to shut the staircase down until the situation was remedied. While the video wasn't made by a law firm, it should have been—it was passed around the internet by millions of users. Some law firms, though, were still quick to capitalize: by making themselves available for interviews about the video and its liability implications, or by writing blogs about the video, they managed to get in on some of the viral hype. These viral marketing examples didn't even require the law firms to produce the original content. Instead, keeping a close eye on current, legally relevant examples of viral marketing can help you keep your content relevant and even newsworthy.
Since studies show that incorporating video into your law firm website can substantially increase conversions, Youtube is a great way for lawyers in particular to market their services, whether or not their ads become viral marketing examples. Keep in mind that when you create examples of viral marketing for your own firm, you don't need to make them an actual advertisement for your firm. Consider simply talking (or singing, or whatever you'd like to do) about a topic, then leaving your law firm's web address in the summary of your video's content. Because these viral marketing examples aren't as obvious as a direct sales pitch, your viewers are more likely to click your link.
Unsuccessful Viral Marketing Examples
Viral marketing can be tricky, and failing to think your plan all the way through can lead to dramatic and embarrassing failures. One of the biggest examples of viral marketing failure came from Chevrolet, which gave viewers a tool to insert their own text into Chevy ads, then link to those ads on their social media pages. Sounds great, right?
Not quite. Because the advertisement was for a gas-guzzling Chevy Tahoe, many of the most social media savvy site visitors made subversive, dark ad text about wars for oil and global warming. The mistake here was targeting: if Chevy had asked users of social media to write ad text for a new hybrid, they might have gotten a very different result.
Starbucks is responsible for one of the worst recent examples of viral marketing. Unlike companies in most viral marketing examples, Starbucks never expected their campaign to go viral. They sent a coupon for a free iced coffee to a limited number of email addresses.
Within weeks, the email had been forwarded millions of times and the coupon was being printed everywhere—and instead of honoring the coupons, Starbucks stopped the promotion early, leading to a class action lawsuit and being listed as CNN's “dumbest moment in marketing” for 2011. The lesson? Be ready to honor your commitments, and don't expect your customers to be happy if you don't follow through.
Examples of viral marketing failures can also come from a concept that hasn't been thought out. When Virgin Airlines had its users submit entries about what the world would look like if people said “yes” to everything, what they got were pornographic pictures of their notorious playboy founder, Richard Branson. Good viral marketing examples don't set themselves up for embarrassing publicity later on. Remember that once you start a viral campaign, it's out of your hands: people get to decide how to interact with your content and what's interesting about it.