The number of netizens accessing the internet has increased with the arrival of JIO in India as it offers low-cost data plans and cheaper smartphones, which let them surf the world easily. Due to this, more people are found to be active online.
Taking an edge over this, various companies come up with unique marketing strategies in order to make their brand viral. One of those strategies is known as Viral Marketing.
Viral Marketing is a business strategy that uses a social media platform to promote a product or service. In other words, it is a digital marketing strategy that tries to convince the customer to become a brand advocate of the existing products/services.
It encourages people to share with other people to reach a larger audience, thereby making the advertisement go viral, much in the same way that a virus spreads from one person to another.
Some of the examples of the best viral marketing campaigns are:
- Zoom Virtual Background Challenge
- Apple: Shot on iPhone
- Dove Real Beauty Sketches Campaign
- iHeartDogs: 0% off
- Twitter's Launch Campaign
- Uber's Launch Campaign
- Spotify Co-marketing with Facebook
- Dropbox Referral Offer
- "I Want Mint" Badge
- ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
- Pepsi – Halloween Advertising
- Oreo – Dunk In The Dark Campaign
- Domino’s – Domin-oh-hoo-hoo
- Cadbury’s – Gorilla
- Snickers – You’re Not You When You’re Hungry
- Wendy’s - Chicken Nugget Retweet Challenge
- Coca-Cola’s "Share a Coke" Campaign
- Dollar Shave Club
- L’Oréal – Because You’re Worth It
- Nike – Just Do It
1. Zoom Virtual Background Challenge
When people got stuck at home due to Covid-19, Zoom came up with a great social media campaign contest and giveaway.
Zoom, a video conferencing platform, had come up with a Virtual Background Competition in March 2020. It introduced the monthly competition for remote workers. They could share videos or pictures using Zoom’s virtual background feature. A monthly competition with three prizes per month.
How did Zoom perform? Over 50,000 people signed up just to take part in the competition. Another great thing was customer value-added service. This campaign brought new people to Zoom and got them to explore different features. A good way to make sure customers learn and recommend further.
This campaign became the most successful viral marketing campaign on social media in 2020.
2. Apple: Shot on iPhone
Being an iconic brand in the market, even Apple requires a marketing strategy that would help them retain their customers. With the launch of the iPhone X, Apple put out its ‘Shot on iPhone’ campaign to promote how amazing their cameras were.
The company focused on the "selfie" aspect that people can share on social media, which created a huge buzz among people. They find it a great product. The camera quality made people start filming and creating content. These beautiful pictures do not have any direct link to the brand except for the tag – Shot on iPhone.
People have started sharing the Shot images and videos on iPhone. The campaign became a great hit because of the memes. Apple has successfully portrayed itself as the best camera phone for all camera lovers or content creators out there.
Again, this is an innovative way to remind their presence and the quality of their products.
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3. Dove Real Beauty Sketches Campaign
Then, there is another viral marketing campaign brought by Dove. In 2004, Dove came up with the Real Beauty Sketch campaign. The purpose of the campaign was to let women know that they're more beautiful than they think.
In this video marketing, the artist draws two sketches of a woman - one that she herself helps him to create and another described by somebody. The video went viral globally by spreading the brand message and belief in confidence.
Dove conducted a study and analyzed that only 2% of women considered themselves beautiful. So, they conceived the idea of using real women rather than models for their ads. The marketers tried to deeply touch the emotions of the people through this campaign. It reached a high point in 2013 which was watched over 114 million times within a month. The third most successful shared ad of all time!
A little bit of market research and addressing customer pain points can achieve phenomenal results.
4. iHeartDogs: 0% off
iHeartDogs is a company that was established for the purpose of social welfare. Every time people buy their products, they donate meals to dog shelters. Keeping to their core, the company started running ads on Facebook to attract more people to donate.
The campaign said that they would provide nothing for buying their products. Instead of discounts, they promised to double donations from purchases made over the weekend. They launched a 0% off campaign from Black Friday to Giving Tuesday. The ad on Facebook read 0% off, but the company ended up quadrupling sales.
They had aimed to provide meals to 100,000 dogs in need but ended up providing 200,000 instead. The sales were four times more than expectations, with over 500,000 people reaching out from just Facebook. As the cause was social, it went viral on social media.
5. Twitter's Launch Campaign
Twitter (Now X), a microblogging platform, has set a great example of viral marketing.
The South by South West (SXSW) conference brings together thousands of millennials interested in music, interactive media, and film every year. The SXSW is held in Austin, Texas. Twitter, as a startup, negotiated with the organizers to place huge screens around the venue. These were updated with real-time messaging, and attendees with Twitter accounts participated in the campaign and promoted the brand.
This created a massive impact, demonstrating the arrival of a new social media age. Twitter gained a new reputation and many new subscribers who wanted to become part of something new. Thus, overall a very successful viral marketing campaign.
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6. Uber's Launch Campaign
Another great example of viral marketing incidentally took place in Austin, Texas.
Uber became a social sensation at the South by South West festival. They offered free rides to attendees during the conference and festival. This created a sensation during the event, and people started discussing it on social media. Wouldn’t you? Everyone wants to experience free service, and that too in such a style! The deluge of information back and forth was so much that a social media platform collapsed.
Targeting the right people at the right time is very important. Young participants of SXSW no doubt took to social media, and in no time, it went viral.
7. Spotify Co-marketing with Facebook
Ever wondered how Spotify achieved such fame in a short time?
Spotify, a startup founded in Sweden in 2008, provides audio streaming and media services. It had started with free service for UK customers in February 2009, and by September, it had to halt free service and rely on invite-only. Then in 2011, it initiated co-marketing with Facebook to solidify its position. A personal playlist can be published on a user’s Facebook page; at the same time, another user can listen to it with a single click.
As of the second quarter of 2021, Spotify has 165 million premium subscribers worldwide and is available in more than 15 countries, including the UK, the US, and the MENA region. This is another great example of how a simple collaboration with social media has made the startup go viral and increased users, especially where services are based on a Freemium model.
8. Dropbox Referral Offer
Another great example of viral marketing was set by Dropbox. Dropbox is the go-to cloud storage service to save your files and data. The best part is that once stored in a virtual space, you can share and sync your files without the hassle of sending attachments individually.
They set a great example of affiliate marketing that went viral. Dropbox offered 500 MB of free storage for every referral and signup by an existing customer. What happened? Well, Dropbox saw registration shoot up by 60%. Even now, a major part of new customers is derived from word of mouth.
By offering a reward to an existing customer, they achieved effective marketing by customers and a great loyal customer base. And when most of your customers are businesses, their reach is huge. Dropbox has over 500 million users as of 2016 and is poised to cross over a billion users soon.
It is not always necessary to come up with funny content to become viral. The company can reach a larger audience even by offering that customers are ready to accept.
9. "I Want Mint" Badge
If you talk about the startups that received so-called overnight success, then Mint is one of them. Mint proved that with its unique marketing strategy and great product for content creators. Mint used its blogs to create awareness and gave special benefits to users who put "I Want Mint" badges on their blogs or social media pages. That was great free advertising!
They were able to make customers feel special without spending money. From this badge, Mint got free advertising on 600 different blogs from both normal people and influencers. Further, achieved recognition as providing useful information and being concerned about users. This way, it attracted more users and bloggers to write blogs on Mint for free.
10. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
This Ice Bucket Challenge is also known as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The campaign was started to promote awareness of the disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and encourage donations to research. Many big personalities like Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Justin Bieber took part in the campaign to raise awareness. It is one of the best examples of viral marketing.
They have been seen pouring a bucket of ice water on their heads either by themselves or someone else, which attracted people around the world to take part in the campaign. The campaign went viral on social media and helped the organization raise over $220 million. It became the fifth most popular Google search in Google 2014. Even after the campaign, the donations to ALS remained 25% higher than a year before the campaign.
ALS was able to raise awareness by breaking the mold and doing something out of the box.
11. Pepsi – Halloween Advertising
Pepsi's advertising campaigns for Halloween have been highly successful in capturing the public's attention and generating buzz for the brand. One of their most notable accomplishments was the 2013 "Cola-Cola" ad, which featured a can of Pepsi wearing a red cape, clearly referencing Coca-Cola's iconic branding. The ad's humor and clever wordplay resonated with audiences, making it a viral sensation.
Another successful Pepsi Halloween campaign was the 2017 "Monster Mirror" stunt. In partnership with Odeon Cinemas, Pepsi installed augmented reality mirrors in cinema restrooms. When moviegoers looked into the mirrors, they were transformed into various Halloween characters, such as clowns, werewolves, and zombies. The interactive experience was a fun and engaging way to promote Pepsi during the spooky season.
Their Halloween advertising campaigns have been consistently successful, helping the brand achieve several key objectives, including increased brand awareness, positive brand association, enhanced customer engagement, viral marketing success, and competitive advantage.
12. Oreo – Dunk In The Dark Campaign
Oreo's "Dunk in the Dark" campaign was a brilliant example of real-time marketing that capitalized on an unexpected event to generate massive buzz for the brand. During Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, a power outage plunged the stadium into darkness. Within minutes, Oreo's social media team seized the opportunity and tweeted a simple yet effective message: "Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark." The tweet, accompanied by an image of a solitary Oreo cookie against a black background, went viral instantly.
The "Dunk in the Dark" campaign was one of the successful viral marketing campaigns for Oreo. The tweet was retweeted over 15,000 times and liked over 20,000 times on Facebook. The campaign also generated significant media coverage and led to a surge in Oreo sales.
13. Domino’s – Domin-oh-hoo-hoo
Domino's "Domin-oh-hoo-hoo" campaign was a smart and efficient viral marketing tactic that aimed to encourage group ordering and re-engage customers as the world emerged from the pandemic. The campaign centered on a catchy yodel, "Domin-oh-hoo-hoo," which served as a call to action for ordering pizza with friends and family. The campaign was highly effective in creating buzz and generating sales for the company, and it helped to strengthen customer loyalty.
The campaign was a resounding success for Domino's, achieving its objectives of increased brand awareness, enhanced customer engagement, promoted group ordering, rejuvenated brand image, and measurable sales growth. The campaign's success highlights the power of viral marketing to achieve tangible business outcomes.
14. Cadbury’s – Gorilla
The iconic Cadbury's Gorilla commercial of 2007 remains etched in the memories of many. Set to the familiar tune of Phil Collins's "In the Air Tonight," the advertisement features a gorilla passionately playing the drums. Concluding with the tagline "a glass and a half full of joy," it suggests that consuming Cadbury's brings happiness.
This ad, crowned the UK's favorite by Marketing Magazine, stands out for its unconventional approach and wild creativity, earning affection from viewers. Interestingly, the director revealed that the idea was initially rejected before winning over the team with its immediate and emotional impact. This underscores the effectiveness of campaigns that defy norms and evoke strong emotions.
The commercial's success lies in the perfect blend of creativity, a catchy, well-known song, and the inclusion of a remarkably lifelike gorilla. Cadbury's reported a boost in profits, affirming the commercial's positive impact on their brand.
15. Snickers – You’re Not You When You’re Hungry
Snickers’ “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign is a prime example of a successful viral marketing strategy that effectively tapped into a universal human experience – hunger-induced mood swings. The campaign's core concept was simple: people tend to become exaggerated versions of themselves when hungry. This relatable theme was brought to life through a series of humorous commercials that featured everyday people transforming into outlandish caricatures of themselves when they failed to satisfy their hunger pangs. The tagline ‘You’re Not You When You’re Hungry’ perfectly encapsulated the campaign's message, making it instantly recognizable and memorable.
The commercials were entertaining and resonated with audiences on a deeper level as they touched on a common human struggle. The campaign's impact extended beyond mere entertainment, as it successfully linked hunger-induced mood swings to the need for a Snickers bar, positioning the product as a solution to these temporary personality changes. The campaign's global reach, celebrity endorsements, and catchy tagline further amplified its impact, transforming it into a cultural phenomenon and cementing Snickers' position as a brand that understands and empathizes with consumers.
16. Wendy’s - Chicken Nugget Retweet Challenge
Wendy's Chicken Nugget Retweet Challenge is a remarkable example of a viral campaign, masterfully leveraging social media engagement and gamification to generate immense buzz for the brand. In 2017, Wendy's initiated a challenge on Twitter, asking users to retweet a post to determine the number of retweets required to win a year's supply of chicken nuggets. This seemingly simple concept ignited a viral phenomenon, with users actively retweeting the post to achieve the seemingly impossible goal of 18 million retweets.
The Wendy's Chicken Nugget Retweet Challenge, counted among notable viral content examples, was a resounding success, showcasing the power of viral marketing to generate buzz, increase brand awareness, and drive positive brand associations. The campaign's creative concept, gamification elements, ambitious goal, social media engagement, and active involvement from Wendy's all contributed significantly to its remarkable success.
17. Coca-Cola’s "Share a Coke" Campaign
In 2011, Coca-Cola launched the "Share a Coke" campaign, which was a revolutionary viral marketing strategy that changed the way brands interact with customers. The campaign's main idea was straightforward but impactful: to replace the iconic Coca-Cola logo with popular names on bottles and cans, thereby urging people to share a Coke with their loved ones. This approach was a huge success, resulting in increased brand engagement and consumer satisfaction.
The personalized bottles created a sense of belonging and recognition, making each Coke feel unique and special. People eagerly sought out their names and those of their friends and family, sharing their discoveries on social media platforms. The campaign's emotional appeal resonated with consumers on a deep level, creating a lasting connection with the brand. Moreover, the campaign's adaptability allowed it to evolve over time, incorporating popular nicknames, titles, and even cultural references, ensuring its relevance to diverse audiences worldwide.
18. Dollar Shave Club
Dollar Shave Club's 2012 viral marketing campaign, featuring a humorous and relatable founder pitching his company's affordable razor subscription service, became an instant sensation, revolutionizing the shaving industry and establishing Dollar Shave Club as a household name. The campaign's success can be attributed to its ability to combine humor, relatability, social media amplification, direct-to-consumer approach, and authenticity to connect with consumers on a deeper level.
The campaign's humor and relatability were key to its virality, making it one of the notable viral content examples. The founder's self-deprecating style and candid approach to shaving-related woes resonated with viewers, making the brand approachable and memorable. The catchy tagline, "Our blades are f***ing great," and the clear call to action, "Get your first shave for $1," enhanced the campaign's effectiveness.
19. L’Oréal – Because You’re Worth It
L'Oréal's "Because You're Worth It" tagline, introduced in 1997, resonates with women worldwide and drives brand loyalty. The tagline's success lies in empowering women with a simple yet powerful message of self-worth and confidence, which transcends boundaries and adapts to changing trends.
The tagline's effectiveness is evident in its significant benefits to L'Oréal. The tagline has increased brand awareness, fostered a positive brand perception, enhanced customer loyalty, driven sales growth, and impacted women's self-perception and empowerment worldwide. It has become a cultural touchstone, inspiring women to embrace beauty and worth. Overall, L'Oréal's "Because You're Worth It" tagline is a testament to the power of meaningful messaging and emotional connection in creating successful and enduring marketing campaigns.
20. Nike – Just Do It
Nike's "Just Do It" campaign, launched in 1988, brought about a revolution in advertising with its simple yet powerful message of empowerment and motivation. The tagline's universality and relatability resonated with people of all ages, backgrounds, and athletic abilities, inspiring them to take action and strive for their goals. The campaign's emotional connection, association with renowned athletes, and cultural impact further amplified its reach and influence.
Nike's "Just Do It" campaign has been tremendously advantageous for the company. The campaign has played a pivotal role in increasing brand recognition, improving brand image, and leaving a lasting cultural impact. The campaign's consistent and adaptable approach has ensured its continual relevance, making it a symbolic representation of personal accomplishment and a source of motivation for future generations. Overall, Nike's "Just Do It" campaign serves as a powerful example of how impactful messaging and emotional connection can lead to successful and long-lasting marketing campaigns.
Marketing is an essential element for any business, startup, or established organization to tell customers how awesome their product is and why they should buy it. There are innovative ways to promote your product. Now that you know the various examples of viral marketing campaigns, you can apply this to make your brand go viral and reach a larger target audience. Not all viral campaigns have to be funny or shocking. It can go viral for both positive and negative reasons if you can deeply touch customers' emotions by spreading the brand's message.
What is viral marketing?
Viral Marketing is a business strategy that uses a social media platform to promote a product or service. In other words, it is a digital marketing strategy that tries to convince the customer to become a brand advocate of the existing products/services. It encourages people to share with other people to reach a larger audience, thereby making the advertisement go viral, much in the same way that a virus spreads from one person to another.
Why is viral marketing important?
Viral marketing is important as it helps to reach a larger target audience, which results in increased sales revenue.
What is a viral marketing example?
One of the examples of viral marketing is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Many celebrities and big personalities agreed to dump a bucket of ice water on their heads to raise awareness of ALS and generate donations. The ice bucket video created a huge sensation on social media that enormously increased awareness of ALS.
How do you carry out a viral content marketing campaign?
8 Secrets to go viral on Social Media are:
- Master the target audience
- Select the appropriate social media platform
- Create content with high engagement
- Time content for maximum reach
- Boost visibility with advertising
- Partner with a social media influencer
- Measure performance to create better campaigns in the future
- Provide a clear call to action
What is the best marketing campaign?
The Best Marketing Campaigns of all time are:
- Nike: "Just Do It"
- Apple: "Get a Mac"
- Pepsi: "Is Pepsi OK?"
- IHOP: "IHOb"
- Absolut Vodka: "The Bottle"
- Red Bull: "Stratos"
- Marlboro: "The Marlboro Man"
- Dos Equis: "The Most Interesting Man in the World"
What kind of content goes viral?
The contents that are based on trending topics and are capable of evoking intense emotional responses are likely to go viral.
How many companies use buzz marketing?
There are many companies that use buzz marketing. Ranging from Dunkin' Donuts and Domino's Pizza to Unilever, Spotify and others use buzz marketing.