Viral Marketing: How Breaking the Rules Helps Companies

(STL.News) The more irreverence a brand shows when creating an ad, the better the chances of going viral. Here’s how companies create high-profile campaigns.

The main secret to creating viral ads is to break the accepted rules of the game. Advertisements and any other communications that claim to be viral do not compete with ads from different brands, but with popular sites with the best sports betting lines in Canada or platforms like Netflix with a multimillion audience.  And irreverence is the only way to beat the competition.

It’s not defiant, rude, or even insulting behavior toward commonly held values.  There are such examples in marketing too, but more as an exception.  What is meant in this case is a challenge to any status quo.

With Irony to Oneself and the Rules of the Game

Disrespect can be expressed through self-irony.  We’re used to car manufacturers prioritizing the beauty and power of their products.  But the Volkswagen brand looks at itself soberly and declares that children will never dream of their cars.  But Volkswagen’s impeccable braking system will work perfectly if a child, gazing at a dream car, steps onto the roadway.

Disrespect can be shown to the rules of our society.  Many people are surprised at the astronomical sums involved in sponsoring soccer clubs, all for a logo on a star’s shirt.  Burger King decided to break into this system.  The company became a sponsor of the tiny Stevenage Football Club in England.  But even he is represented in the soccer simulator FIFA, in which you can virtually buy any world soccer star for any club.

Burger King threw a cry across its social networks, to which millions of people and tens of thousands of fans of the game are subscribed and called for playing for this little club by buying soccer stars into it.  For sending screenshots and videos to Twitter of Messi, Ronaldo, and other top players with the Burger King logo on their jerseys, the brand gave away coupons to its eateries.  As a result, there was a massive influx of content from Burger King on social media, and the small team in real life became the coolest and most quoted in virtual reality.

Playing Politics

Another example is Coca-Cola’s irreverence for the long-running political conflict between India and Pakistan over the disputed region of Kashmir.

According to Coca-Cola, these countries themselves are tired of the conflict and are looking for common ground.  So the company installed machines (one in a mall in India, the other in Pakistan) that broadcast live images.  When people touched the screens of these machines with their palms simultaneously, they each got a can of Coke.

Being Able to React in Time

Irreverence is a must for viral marketing, but an additional push to go viral could be situational – the ability to react quickly to specific events or create a link to a significant date.

This 2013 example is considered a classic of situational social media marketing.  During the final game of the U.S. National Football Championship, the lights went out in half of the stadium.  The match had to be stopped, and thousands of fans, to kill time, began to flip through Twitter and Facebook feeds, where the news about the blackout was the most discussed.

The SMM people at Oreo quickly came up with some creative spin on the matter.  On their Twitter account, they published a picture with the caption “Oreo can be dipped in the dark*.”  In the first hour the entry gathered more than 10 thousand retweets and 18 thousand likes, and later all major American media wrote about it.  Since then, marketers have called the case an “Oreo Blackout tweet.”