Category Archives: Viral Marketing

Clever Video Comic Book Promotion :: Johnny Bunko

Kevin Dugan, of the Strategic Public Relations blog, recently shared the following videos via FriendFeed, a social network sharing tool. (Students, check out FriendFeed.)

Both are good examples of video used in creative and compelling ways. Continue reading


New Rules of Marketing and PR :: Students Feeling A Buzz

Fall semester brings more blogging and social media exercises to my classrooms. This semester, as with all in the past, I’ve tried to do something new with the hope of catching the imagination of each student.

I have a story, but first – some background.

The PR Writing class is reading David Meerman Scott‘s book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR. Then, theyNew Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott are writing about it in their Fall 2007 class blogs. Along the way, the students are also exploring social media releases, online release portals and more. You’ll be happy to know that they are doing a lot of other writing, too. Releases, features and more are weekly exercises. Finally, they will create an online newsroom for a nonprofit client … a real client.

I’ve never said, and never will say, that social media will replace tried and true public relations practices. It does offer a new way, sometimes a more appropriate and successful way, of serving a client’s interests and those of their stakeholders. And, developing an understanding of online release writing and delivery is certainly useful.

So, the story is that – as usual – many students are skeptics. Jackie is was one of them. But, she recently had an ah-ha! experience. Continue reading

Adult Swim Drowning :: Nielsen Likely Caused It

Ratings were the reason behind the Adult Swim debacle in Boston, to be sure. Turner wanted higher ratings for Adult Swim/Aqua Teen. But, the story is more complicated than that. Think of it as a special college student sweeps week. The first of its kind. Why?

Nielsen has started counting college students living away from home in their TV ratings, beginning January 29. The very week of the Boston incident. So, this guerilla marketing outdoor campaign was part of a larger campaign leading up to the audience count by Nielsen. That’s my take on it. Since I haven’t seen anyone talk about this aspect, I’m wondering what your thoughts are.

As reported by the New York Times’ Louise Story, Nielsen’s decision to count college students, rather than treat them as transients, began on January 29th. This is likely what spurred niche programs to try and spike program interest during the week of the Boston event. That week, the week of the incident, was the college student sweeps week. Story explains, “Shows such as America’s Next Top Model and Family Guy are expected to see their ratings surge this week as Nielsen Media Research includes the viewing of students living away from home in its count for the first time.” Well, what if you further that rise in ratings by promoting the show more heavily than usual?

The full story is here: At Last, Television Ratings Go to College. Another take on the new count of college students in TV ratings is available in the story, Sensing Opportunity in Dormitory Air, a TimesSelect story. Subscription/fee required to read. As the story relates just one example of products trying to reach the dorm crowd, “…college students are fueling growth in new generation of air fresheners; companies such as Procter & Gamble, S C Johnson and Reckitt Benckiser have increased spending to capitalize on trend…” So, it is exactly this kind of advertising and marketing that these niche programs, like Adult Swim’s lineup, are courting for new advertising dollars poured into their programs.

Story explains,

Adult Swim, a block of adult programming on the Cartoon Network that expects its 18- to 24-year-old audience to jump by 35 percent with the new ratings, is so excited about the change that it ran an ad telling viewers about it in mid-October.

Still haven’t seen the overnights for Adult Swim since the Boston incident, but I’m betting they were higher than 35% in growth, after all that.  Update:  Here is the news release covering Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim ratings, prior to the Boston incident. (January 30, 2007)  No other related news releases on their site since the event.  However, there was this:

Across the final week in January ’07, Adult Swim also ranked #1 for total day delivery among the four key demos, charting significant double-digit increases across the board. Among the week’s highlights, Adults 18-34 delivery (396,000) increased by 17% and ratings (0.6) by 20% vs. the same time period last year. (emphasis mine)
Additionally, Adult Swim programming in January accounted for six of the Top 50 programs of the month among adults 18-34, and 16 of the Top 50 telecasts of the month among men 18-34, more than any other network.

So, the guerilla marketing / outdoor advertising campaign in Boston and nine other cities was not just a run of the mill effort, but rather a targeted effort to help spike this particular week of new ratings. Knowing the new numbers would come out, Adult Swim (and others, I imagine) sought to increase viewership and attention. If their numbers were high in this first count, they’d be on track for increased revenues, and ahead of competing programming. I still don’t know how they were going to judge the effectiveness of Lite-Brite-like characters. How does one count Ignignokt impressions? And, after the news coverage of Boston, the ratings are no longer reliable for the long term.

For links to, and random notes about, various aspects of the Boston Adult Swim debacle, read on … Continue reading

Time Jumps The Shark :: Then Gets Eaten By It

Time magazine’s Person of the Year (POTY) is out. It is “You.”

Normally, I enjoy reading the POTY issue. I’m a fan of Time, too.

I see some merit in Carlyle’s “Great Men” People philosophy. But, that’s likely becaue I love biographies and they account for the majority of my personal reading choices.

“No sadder proof can be given by a man of his own littleness than disbelief in great men.” (Heroes and Hero Worship)

I don’t like their choice for POTY, though. With all the political turmoil in the world, with Darfur, the Middle East … all that is going on, this is a poor choice. And, Time is late to the party. They may have arrived as others are ready to go home.

Jumping the shark is all about that moment in Time when something becomes irrelevant. And Time is now being panned by bloggers for copping out with a lame thoughtless selection. And, by choosing social media – everyone creating content online – they assure that all future POTY issues will be less valuable. This TIME POTY is not newsworthy. It is a few years late and their analysis of why it is important misses the mark. It may be more likely that Time has jumped on the end of the first wave of social media adoption. It is quite likely that social media has reached a plateau, for the immediate future.

Part of the reason why so many bloggers have dissed the Time selection is likely due to MSM finally awakening to the diffusion of social media. Early adopters usually don’t like to have their baby recognized as mainstream. Time’s selection sort of accomplishes that distinction. Still, I’m not impressed with the POTY selection because it seems lazy and late. Also, this now diminishes the “great people” theory.

Time should have picked the previously unknown entities that have driven change in social media. The developers of the various open-source platforms would be excellent candidates. Most were college students when they spawned their ideas. And, I’m not talking about the Facebook people of the world or the chubby-buddy club people of the A-list blogebrity set.

No, I’m talking about the people that launched WordPress, LiveJournal and CivicSpace, for instance. Aside from Tim Berners-Lee, who did start it all, these people have been the agents of change: Matthew Mullenweg of WordPress, Brad Fitzpatrick of LiveJournal and Zack Rosen of CivicSpace Labs (blog) are the best examples.

Continue reading

Emily Melton and CSTV Mission: SEC Team Win Three MarCom Awards

Remember when we shared the exploits and adventures of our lovable Auburn grad Emily Melton and CSTV’s Mission: SEC Football?

Congratulations to Emily Melton and the entire CSTV Mission: SEC team for winning three MarCom Awards this year…

The previous posts were Emily Melton Takes SEC Football on a Wild 100 Day Ride and Mission SEC Football :: New and Notable on iTunes.

Emily Melton CSTV

The project ended yesterday when the clock wound down on the SEC Championship in Atlanta, GA. Florida Wins SEC With a 38-28 Win Over Arkansas.

Well, there is more news. Great news.

All of their hard work and travels across the nine states that make up the SEC – all the while creating videos, blog posts and the “CLOG,” a comic book blog – have paid off.

CSTV Comic BlogCSTV’s Mission: SEC Football won three – count ’em, three – MarCom Awards. The MarCom Awards are “the largest global marketing communication awards competition.” The big news is that “’s Mission SEC Football web site won three prestigious MarCom Awards, including Platinum for best overall web site.” Those quotes from an email Emily shared. Thanks, Emily – and congratulations. We love ya’.

Here is Emily in just one of the many videos they created during the 100 day odyssey. (CSTV doesn’t allow embedding of their videos. Goobers! Think viral.) 😉

Here are the details:

Continue reading

Dove Real Beauty Campaign :: Super Bowl Ad Reach on a Dime

As we continue to discuss viral videos in class, here are a few more examples of success for you to consider. Let us remember, although they spent more than a dime – to be sure – the cost was likely not equal to the production and ad expenditures for a traditional advertising campaign.

Kevin Dugan, of Strategic Public Relations, directs us to the latest news about dove evolution from Ogilvy & Mather, Toronto.

…viral video offers new opportunities, but how do we gauge results and acheive results for those with miniscule budgets…

Two Advertising Age articles show how viral videos brought the ad reach equivilent to a Super Bowl advertisement to Unilever/Dove for a fraction of the dollars. It also likely generated more, and for a longer duration, word-of-mouth buzz for the products. Add to that the personal and emotional appeal of the videos and we begin to see how viral can work wonders. Can it work for everyone? No, not likely. But, as with all strategies and tactics, sometimes they work like a charm.

First up is Jack Neff with Better ROI From YouTube Video Than Super Bowl Spot, Dove’s Viral Hit ‘Evolution’ Is a Real Beauty.

With not a penny of paid media and in less than a month, “Dove Evolution,” a 75-second viral film created by Ogilvy & Mather, Toronto, for the Unilever brand has reaped more than 1.7 million views on YouTube and has gotten significant play on TV talk shows “Ellen” and “The View” as well as on “Entertainment Tonight.” It’s also brought the biggest-ever traffic spike to, three times more than Dove’s Super Bowl ad and resulting publicity last year, according to

Next up is Bob Garfield’s review of the spot: Tackling Ugly Truth, Dove Effort Evolves Beautifully, New Spot Punctures Our Anorexic, Breast-implanted, Tricked-up Barbie Doll Fantasies.

This Dove ethic corresponded so nicely with the lessons of inner beauty our parents always taught us, and with what sounds morally right, that it resonated far and wide. Never mind that it conflicts with all of our actual experience from the time we enter kindergarten. We all wish for it to be so, and so we credited Unilever with taking a stand.

At which point, the Dove Campaign for Wishful Thinking began evolving into something truly special.

Watch the videos: Dove Evolution and Dove Film. The first is a morphing-style video that shows a young woman transformed into a cover girl beauty through makeup, hair extensions, and the wizardry of Photoshop. The second is of younger girls expressing their frustration with body image in middle and high school. Pretty powerful stuff, really.

Combined, just the videos from Oglivy’s Tim Piper alone equal 1,212,750 views to-date. Add to that the views of the 100K+ related videos (consumer generated, for the most part) and you see the ground swell of attention. When I click on “Related” videos (sorted for “Relevance”) and just count the views for non-Tim Piper videos, the count is around 300,000 – on just the first page of results. That’s pretty impressive. Understatement.

Finally, we should not forget that this campaign had many agencies working on it with a variety of tactics and strategies. It brought Edelman and Dove/Unilever a Silver Anvil award in 2006.

Now, let us go in search of those videos that work successfully for a smaller organization with a miniscule budget. Face it, although the Dove campaign cost much less than a Super Bowl ad, their budget is still way out of reach for small organizations – particularly nonprofits. So, can we find them? Are they out there? Look around and report back.

Going Rube Goldberg with Viral Diet Coke and Mentos Tour

BL. Ochman has an interesting post about Coke joining in – big time – with the Diet Coke / Mentos meme.

…think viral, think Rube Goldberg, and remember Honda Cog and other fun videos…

Be sure and watch the video of Experiment #214.

It is a fun campaign and, as B. L. points out, this ones seems to have Coke’s full heart behind it.

Now, I don’t intend to imply that this company endorsed group of videos, and their call for consumer generated videos, will equal the Honda Cog ad campaign. But, Experiment #214 is along that line.

This will be fun to sit back and watch. Can this one take off, or has the Mentos/Diet Coke meme already played out? And, will anyone get hurt along the way? Hope not.