Friday, 21 November 2008


When clients approach my firm asking for a viral advertising campaign they usually ask with the belief that a viral is a video of some sort. The sort of video that ends up on YouTube or or But for me viral is a broader and frequently bigger concept than that. What I've been saying is 'viral isn't a format, its an achievement'

Two or three years ago I could understand this belief, but two things have changed this for me:
  1. Social media means that pretty much anything and everything has the power to become contagious. The share this/save this widget on my blog page, an app on Facebook, or a band on MySpace, or a blogger outreach program all have viral features.
  2. The most successful viral videos in history happened a while ago. The likes of Star Wars Boy, Numa, Numa, Trojan Games, or AfroNinja. Most were done before the advent of YouTube which encouraged an explosion in video creation.

I'm not saying video viral is dead, I'm saying its tougher to make it work now. Production budgets need to be higher and firms like Ridley Scott Associates are even now doing viral production. Seeding needs to be smarter (and consequently is now getting expensive). What was once a free distribution is now paid for distribution.

The fact its tougher than before, makes it an achievement when it works. Format is irrelevant if people pass it on. Viral is an achievement not a format

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