Examples of Viral Marketing Campaigns





The best viral marketing campaigns (when a marketer intends to make something viral) are one of those things that you have to see to recognize, so here are a few of my favorite viral marketing examples:

By the way, if you like my content, please vote for me in the Open Web Awards.

Hotmail

When Hotmail launched, much of its early success was due to the virality of the sigline that it attached to every outgoing email inviting the recipient to join. One of the earliest examples of viral marketing on the internet.

Subservient Chicken

One of my favorite viral marketing examples on this list, the creepy webcam site made for a Burger King campaign allowed people to control a guy in a chicken suit. It went viral almost instantly and for a few weeks was everywhere.

Will it Blend

One of the most recent best viral marketing campaign examples, Blendtec’s will it blend video series shows scientists testing if various household items will blend in their super-powerful blender. This campaign leveraged the popularity of online video sharing sites.

One Red Paperclip

This was a blog where the author started with a single red paperclip and traded his way up to a house, documenting his steps along the way.

Million Dollar Homepage

Perhaps the most famous viral marketing “why didn’t I think of that” example, this site sold pixels on its homepage and eventually made over a million dollars.

Simpsonsize Yourself

Created for the Simpsons movie, this site allowed visitors to create an avatar of themselves as a character from the cartoon.

Mentos/Diet Coke

Another wacky scientist schtick, these guys got famous by making art out of the explosions caused by mixing diet coke and mentos. Mentos handled it beautifully, Coke did not.

Dove Evolution Video

Part of a campaign by Dove, this video showed how models’ beauty is often artificial, and really struck a chord with its intended audience of female viewers.

Tea Partay

A beverage company created this video as a parody of rap videos and used preppy white kids.

Youtube Embedable Videos

Youtube’s meteoric rise is due in large part to the embeddable videos the company introduced, allowing bloggers to put videos directly into posts.

Lonelygirl15

This fake reality show featured an aspiring actress, playing strange storyline. It generated lots of views and eventually the creators were unmasked.

Bob Dylan Facebook App

This application allows users to make their own version of Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues video. This is an viral marketing campaign example consisting entirely of “brand” interaction for the purpose of entertainment. Beautiful.

The USB Absinthe Spoon

Something I did, this was what I based my Spoon model on.

If you liked this post, don't forget to subscribe to my RSS feed or my email newsletter so you never miss the science.

{ 15 comments }

Sangeeta February 4, 2009 at 12:43 am

All of the examples you have given are video examples.
Is it that content is not as effective?

Christina Bledsoe February 4, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Funny you should mention LonelyGirl15 I know the producer.

Jason Verdelli March 18, 2009 at 10:58 pm

I have become a big fan on viral marketing through relationships. There are some really great ways to do this through incentive. Provide a greater incentive to the person that is forwarding their information onto their friends/colleagues and be assure to track the email data and reward them for their efforts. I have found one website that doing a great job at this… http://www.forwardmyflyer.com. It’s a pretty cool idea to spark this viral marketing through relationships.

MikeFiorini April 13, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Well I am in the prelimary stages of creating a campaign for my sales department in promoting and selling Guardian generators. One thing i do realize about marketing though, is you have to back it up! Remember the DHL comercial where a Fedex truck pulled up to a train track and UPS did as well; and just about that time the two co.’s waived; DHL came thru the two on a train!! Awesome idea! but DHL was not able to keep up with level of business that came with that much influenced marketing campaign.

Caralizer April 14, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Viral Marketing is key in any start up company.

Baseball for life April 16, 2009 at 6:23 pm

Why do I feel that this whole Susan Boyle craze (Britains Got Talent 2009) is some form I feel good, watch the show, viral marketing campaign…She sings like an angel, she’s not your typical famous good-looking singer, see we are different, and she sings about a dream while living one thing! Wow, am I just cold-hearted or am I being manipulated again?

Johnny October 27, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Very nice post!

The one that has always amazed me the most was the million dollar homepage.
100s fo 1000s of marketers struggle to reach the million dollars mark, then this guy came and did it with ease… lol

Regards
Johnny

Johnny October 27, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Very nice post!

The one that has always amazed me the most was the million dollar homepage.
100s fo 1000s of marketers struggle to reach the million dollars mark, then this guy came and did it with ease… lol

Regards
Johnny

Johnny October 27, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Very nice post!

The one that has always amazed me the most was the million dollar homepage.
100s fo 1000s of marketers struggle to reach the million dollars mark, then this guy came and did it with ease… lol

Regards
Johnny

Johnny October 27, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Very nice post!

The one that has always amazed me the most was the million dollar homepage.
100s fo 1000s of marketers struggle to reach the million dollars mark, then this guy came and did it with ease… lol

Regards
Johnny

Johnny October 28, 2009 at 3:01 am

Very nice post!

The one that has always amazed me the most was the million dollar homepage.
100s fo 1000s of marketers struggle to reach the million dollars mark, then this guy came and did it with ease… lol

Regards
Johnny

martiendejong April 9, 2010 at 11:32 pm

I think this article needs a more concrete example of how a concept is promoted through viral campaign. An experimental example is the website http://www.kijkhiersnel.nl .
This is a dutch website intended to promote content in a viral manner, by spreading the url over several websites and social networks.
This message is the example, because it turns a simple message into page views.
You can do the same for your own product, as long as you have an url.

BreslowAaron June 2, 2010 at 9:48 am

This shows how creative the human mind can be:)) and how capitalistic in can become at come point. But I would like to congratulate all of these people for their inspiration and creativity.

CristianStar June 24, 2010 at 5:17 am

I don't think all of them planned on becoming famous and rich:)) It just happened because they had a crazy idea and they actually put that into practice. It's about the courage of expressing your creativity.

Halloween Tips September 13, 2010 at 11:47 am

Hi, I apologize for inquiring this question here, but I can’t find a contact form or something so I felt like I leave my request here. I run a blogengine blog but I am getting large amounts of spam. I see u use wordpress, is it undemanding to control spam with wordpress or doesn’t it make any difference? I hope you will respond to my comment or maybe send me an email with your answer if you don’t want to approve the comment. Best regards, Annie

{ 7 trackbacks }