When we receive a brief and the client wants to achieve viral reach, we know that the one sure way to tell if we are doing our job is if the client has that look in their eyes that says they’re scared. It’s rare for the client to move ahead regardless. In the third of his five-part series on how to achieve viral reach, Ryan Gandalf van Jaarsveld says you simply can’t play it safe.
To put themselves aside and realise they aren’t necessarily their target market. As they say – no guts, no glory!
We all know the feeling we get when we pass something on via e-mail, SMS or word of mouth and the person/ people receiving it have a reaction similar to what we experienced when we first saw it.
For a moment we have been able to add value, change a perception, entertain or educate – ultimately have an impact on the recipient’s life, and get the credit for it.
What’s interesting is that we don’t only pass on funny stuff like”
“Badger” http://youtu.be/EIyixC9NsLI or
“Baby laughing hysterically at ripping paper” http://youtu.be/RP4abiHdQpc
How many motivationals, Fails, remember the ’80s, clever inventions and presentations on 3D pavement art have you received and passed on via e-mail, how many times have you had someone Bluetooth a video or image to you or send you a link to something via SMS that you viewed immediately because it came from a trusty source?
And the numbers are mental – Charlie bit my finger is sitting at over 411 million views on YouTube! Die Antwoord’s Enter the Ninja – over 10 million views! Goldfish’s We come together – 1.4 million.
It seems that user generated content and music videos dominate though six days ago VW launched a video called The bark side – a brilliant piece of viral content that’s currently sitting on over 13 million views. Well done VW!
How are they doing it and why are so few brands in SA getting it right?
Mathew Bull once said “If you are scaring your client, then you are heading in the right direction.” And I think that’s the problem – when it comes to viral, agencies aren’t presenting work that scares the client enough. Everyone is playing it safe and the result is a boring, wasted attempt at engaging consumers and giving them an experience they can get anywhere else.
So instead of going with some awesomely produced viral content that entertains the audience we are left with branded wallpapers or a ringtone recorded in a celebrity’s voice that one could easily find on Google.
The crazy thing is that as much as the client insists on going this way the success of the campaign lies in the hands of the recipient. The result of your viral campaign is a direct reflection on how engaging it was. You can’t force someone to like something or share it and people won’t risk their reputation by passing on something that should be left for movie day at the local old age home, where it doesn’t matter if the content is engaging because anything is better than watching grass grow while waiting for your next cup of tea.
I really applaud VW for their video – if you look at the comments you will notice that someone said “What does this have to do with a car” and that’s the point, it doesn’t have to have anything to do with a car. It can just be an awesome, entertaining, engaging piece brought to you by a company that is already renowned for manufacturing brilliant automobiles.
Next time you are pitching something to a client, or next time you are receiving a revert on your brief think of how serious you are about the mobile/ viral element achieving results. If you are giving the consumer an experience they can find elsewhere online then rather don’t bother. The budget could be better spent elsewhere.
If, however, you want to see mobile really deliver on its promise then push the limits – be scared but don’t let it stop you. Your target audience will be impressed with your brand’s ballsiness and forward thinking and they will feel rewarded for their support, time and loyalty.
When browsing the mobile web the consumer comes across thousands of ad banners – if they clicked on yours then something compelled them to do so, if they feel let down when they get to your site then you have failed them and your campaign ends there. Who knows how many people they would have shared their experience with.
And that’s the beautiful thing; if your campaign is viral you can turn a mobile media investment of X into 200% or 500% or 1000% X. Every hit you get above your spend is free.
So when you start preparing for your next campaign, put on your big person pants, toss an extra teaspoon of java in your cup, have a bowl of jungle oats and do something meaningful and memorable.
If you find yourself yawning after the first slide of the pitch send it back and if the client pulls back the reins on a crazy idea remind them of why you are there and what’s at stake.
If your brand doesn’t grab at every opportunity to be great then a competitor will and all that will remain will be another poor excuse for a campaign that could have been more, and we all know how much the boss loves under achievement.
Image: VW The Bark Side