How The Concept of “Viral” Took Over Cultural Advertising

How The Concept of "Viral" Took Over Cultural Advertising

Advertising has been around for years and is a form of marketing communication. The aim of advertising is to persuade its target audience to either continue or take some action. Advertising is often used to sell commercial products, but it can also be used to promote political campaigns or to encourage people to support charities.

Traditionally, adverts have appeared in newspapers, magazines, on the radio and on the television. We are also familiar with adverts on billboards and at the cinema. Advertisers are constantly coming up with new ideas of how to reach and appeal to their target audience. However, with the advent of the internet and social media, a new phenomenon emerged. Sometimes a campaign unexpectedly goes viral. What this means is that something captures the imagination of the public and is viewed by a very high number of online users in a very short period. It can be difficult to predict exactly what makes something go viral, but it is a very powerful force in determining the success of a campaign.

Viral marketing or advertising attempts to use social networking services to increase awareness of brands or products. Most online viral adverts are launched by a sponsor from their website or on a social media website. If done right, this can have enormous benefits for the sponsor, as the advert spreads like a virus through the human body. You might think that the film industry would not be great fans of the internet with online piracy affecting their ticket sales, and yet the internet has also helped the film industry. Hollywood is using viral marketing and social media to distribute digital films. This saves the industry money, as it no longer needs to pay to ship physical copies of films between studios, theatres and other distributors. Tie-in products are also a great money spinner for successful films and generate huge profits for studios. Viral marketing is another online phenomenon that has proved a great way of filling theatres. A good example of this is the flight-safety video that promoted the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Around two million people viewed this video before it was released in cinemas.

For those with little experience of the internet and social media, designing a viral campaign can appear daunting. However, there are companies that are able to help with online and viral marketing such as Matomy Media Group. They can devise campaigns that are designed to get users to follow  your product or company.

Viral marketing can be unpredictable, as no one really knows why one campaign goes viral while another barely causes a ripple. However, when you get it right, the power of viral marketing is amazing. The Last Exorcism is a good example of how viral marketing can generate sales and make a film a success. The team behind the film released a video that starts with a young woman seductively unbuttoning her shirt before she becomes possessed, eventually popping out at the viewer with a URL link to the film details. The film, which was made for $1.8 million went on to earn $67.7 million at the box office.

Though still a relatively new method of advertising, viral marketing can be a powerful and effective way to spread brand and product awareness, and companies would be wise to include some form of it in their advertising campaigns.