Friday, October 15, 2004

'There, he moved!' Viral marketing is no Dead Parrot

I was recently asked to comment on the health of viral marketing for a magazine interview. I'm including below some of the questions and answers:

Q: Are people becoming immune to viral marketing?
A: It’s certainly the case that this is an increasingly popular tactic for brands and it is harder to achieve cut-through than it used to be, but viral marketing is still relatively new and well short of the saturation levels of mainstream advertising.

Virals are often a popular form of office entertainment and as long as the quality of the creative is high there is always the potential to achieve high user numbers at a relatively cheap cost thanks to distribution potential of the Internet.

Q: What is the dividing line between mainstream and viral advertising?
A: It’s a good question, as increasingly traditional advertising and PR agencies get involved in virals as part of an integrated campaign. Reebok’s Terry Tate and the John West Salmon ads showed that mainstream advertising can be ‘viral’ in the sense of people passing what is essentially a TV-style advert to their peers, although this is not the norm.

Increasingly major brands are using this form of Internet communications for offshoots of existing campaigns that allow for riskier or pre-release adverts. However, creative is by no means limited to traditional video content, with many potential applications and opportunities to use the unique interactivity of the Internet, such as games, micro-sites and quizzes and it is here that it divides from mainstream advertising.

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