Computer Love

All the (marketing) world loves a viral video. Is Viral Video the Future of Advertising?

At least that’s what it seems in this day and age.  But while thousands of crafty marketing professionals gather round the water cooler diligently plotting their successful induction into the annals of viral-viewing history, thousands of others are pounding their heads against their desks at their failed foray of a similar nature.  

But what’s the real deal with viral videos and why we’re so obsessed with seeing everything through our computer screens these days?  Are we really too lazy to take the ten steps to the couch to view advertising as the predecessors intended — while munching on Jiffy Pop, petting our golden retriever as our 2.5 kids digest mom’s meatloaf and freshly whipped mashed potatoes?  Uhm yeah, apparently so.  

Every good brand marketing strategy finds a way to connect with consumers on an emotional level. But the very bad ones find a way to connect and then betray said consumers at the end. Truly a Viral Marketing Failure, this company clearly spent money to diminish their brand once all was said and done. One of the main starting points in marketing is to know your customer. The marketing team behind this gem obviously didn’t put enough stock into what they should have known about their potential customer. Additionally, given the product they were selling, insurance, one would think that what you want to instill is a feeling of trustworthiness. To the client’s misfortune, the agency did just the opposite of that and likely had a negative impact on their brand. I don’t know too many people who’d put trust in a company that invested so much into a farce of that magnitude.

Although agencies are hired to make a certain statement and garner more positive attention for brands, it almost seems like the best way to go viral is to do so organically. Careful planning and clever copy helps a lot, but many of the most highly orchestrated viral campaigns find a way to somehow crash and burn. Ironically, though the insurance company’s slogan, “Unexpected things happen in life. Be insured to have your loved ones assured,” underscores the assurance their customers would want, though the campaign undermined it. Hopefully, it’s a lesson well learned.