also known as
  • W.O.M. - Word of Mouth Marketing
  • Edgy gossip / Buzz Marketing
  • Stealth Advertising
  • Guerrilla Marketing aka Ambush Marketing
last updated 2017 Feb 15
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This web page has audio clips - just click on the icon (like the one to the left) and you can hear Prof. Richardson's voice adding additional information to topics on the page. turn on your speakers to hear audio clips
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. This page used in the following courses taught by Prof. Richardson
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MGT D06
MGD 415
BCS 555
MRK 410, MRK 610, MRK 619
MRK 106
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LEARNING
OBJECTIVES
After reading this unit, viewing the videos, and listening to the lecture in class, students will have information about:

  o The formal definition of "Viral Marketing"
  o The history behind and the coining of the term "Viral marketing" 
  o Different types of Viral Marketing
  o Advantages vs. Disadvantages of using Viral Marketing
  o How to optimize your marketing campaign
             o Effective themes utilized in viral marketing
  o The Ethics of Viral Marketing
  o The successful and not-so-successful marketing campaigns
            o Companies specializing in Viral Marketing
  o The direction and evolution of Viral Marketing
 

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Viral 
Marketing
a
def'n
"Viral marketing refers to the marketing techniques that seek to exploit pre-existing  social networks to produce exponential increases in brand awareness, through viral processes similar to the spread of an epidemic. It is word-of-mouth delivered and enhanced online; it harnesses the network effect of the Internet and can be very useful in reaching a large number of people rapidly."

               ~ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viral_marketing

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Viral 
Marketing
a
def'n

WTGR

Word-of-mouth marketing has been around for many decades before the internet, but like anything - technology can enhance capabilities to allow a simple situation to become more intense.

Viral Marketing is a term which is used to describe how companies use the technologies of the Information Age

  • internet and the world wide web
  • cell phones, blackberries, palm pilots & text messaging
  • GPS and other location oriented technologies
to create an intense expansion of the older concept of Word-of-mouth marketing.

WTGR

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Viral 
Marketing
a
def'n

KHNK

Viral Marketing focuses on content people would feel compelled to pass around, and as a result, "things that tend to spread in a truly viral way are things that most clients wouldn't necessarily want their brand to be associated with, says Bruce Sinclair, a national creative director from Tribal DDB Canada (a media company that plans, builds and sells client brands by generating brand demand). Sinclair also goes on to say, "You can create content that has a chance of  being shared, but unless you are looking at it for the sheer sake of entertainment and creative content, it is very difficult to do work that is truly viral." 


Essentially, Viral Marketing is the phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message.***

Viral marketing depends on a high pass-along rate from person to person. If a large percentage of recipients forward something to a large number of friends, the overall growth snowballs very quickly. If the pass-along numbers get too low, the overall growth quickly fizzles.***

.c
 
As a result of being quoted in the October 31st 2007 CP story on Ad-blocking software,  Richardson's quotes ran in a number of newspapers (online and printed) throughout North America, including Yahoo.ca and msn.com
see article at witiger.com/ecommerce/articleCPinterview.jpg
.v
http://www.cbc.ca/ During the 4th week of October 2007,  Richardson was quoted in a story titled 
"Ad-blocking software could change online advertising industry". The quote was "There's so much advertising in various forms cluttering up the screen, it's become very irritating to people who are browsing, so they are shutting things out," says Tim Richardson who teaches about e-commerce at the University of Toronto. "So other companies are saying, 'We're not getting into the banner ad market, we're going to do things like viral marketing, and other creative word-of-mouth things."' 
.v
Things that spread Virally through YouTube

2008

Natural - not faked
One of the things that makes a video likely to "go viral" is when it appears to be something that was not faked and something that actually happened in a natural, un-contrived way. Companies selling "branded" products and services love it when customers create such videos because it leads to people having a "good feeling" about the product or service and contributes to brand loyalty - the example below of a flight attendant is one of the early examples of a video that "went viral" this way.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvdCFYLf_JI
Nik S. a UTM student in MGD415 in April 2009 sent an interesting email in which he talked about an example of a viral situation which began as an employee doing something kewl - but ended up with an obvious benefit for the employer.

Nik explains
Dear Professor Richardson,
Below are links to two videos which I think are good examples of viral  marketing. They are on the rapping Southwest Flight attendant. The  yahoo video shows the entire rap but the Youtube video is sourced from  CNN. In terms of the course the Youtube video is better as  it discusses how the flight attendant got started and shows somewhat  how the word of his raps has spread through viral means from one  passenger just stating she would post a video she took on YouTube and  by the second day there was over 2000 views. 
 

Nik concludes So in essence this  example shows, as with the Obama girls, that simple everyday things in  life can  result in viral marketing, once they are made into something unusual and interesting . Also even though this video was not  officially affiliated with the airline, it has undoubtedly raised  awareness on the airline and acted as free publicity.
c

v
In the 3rd week of December 2006, Richardson was interviewed by the Hamilton Spectator about the circumstances of viral marketing.

Click on the scan to the left to read the article.

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In the 3rd week of January 2006, Richardson was interviewed by the Metro News about the MGTD06 course and in particular the circumstances of viral marketing and stealth marketing.

Click on the scan to the left to read the article.

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Circumstances
leading
people
to want
to
try
Viral
Marketing
Before delving into the details of Viral Marketing, it might be useful to step back and have a sort discussion about what are some of the circumstances that cause this form of marketing to be of such strong interest to marketers in the later half of the first decade of Y2K.

pic supplied by Sidra
Sidra K., a UTM student in MGD415 in March 2007
 sent an interesting email in which she talked about certain technology she uses in recording media content. Basically her argument was that techniques used to avoid recording commercials may one of the incentives for more viral marketing because marketing people feel their traditional commercials are ignored, so why waste the money creating them?
Sidra said
I was thinking about how viral marketing is probably a way more  effective way to create brand awareness and to get the word out to  consumers. This is especially true now that there are new pieces of  technologies available, which are eliminating the need to watch  commercials and ads. I mentioned in class how I personally have a PVR system (Personal Video  Recorder) at home that allows me to pre-record my TV shows and also  allows me to pause, rewind and fast-forward through-out the shows.  This way, I choose not to watch any commercials.

I came across an interesting article 
(formerly at http://publications.mediapost.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Articles.showArticleHomePage&art_aid=45264)
about how ABC executives are  looking to "kill ad skipping" in digital video recorders. According to ABC President of Advertising Sales Mike Shaw,  they want to disable the fast-forwarding feature when commercials come on in between shows so that people just do not skip through them. This  is a potential concern because they could likely end up losing their  customers if they disable this feature. This will be a significant  disappointment to customers. This is what Mr.Shaw had to say about this:

"I'm not so sure that the whole issue really is one of commercial  avoidance," Shaw said. "It really is a matter of convenience--so you  don't miss your favourite show...."

Sidra concludes
Such technology devices hurt the commercial industries and therefore  many choose other techniques of advertising for example using viral  marketing, which may be more effective.

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KEY POINTS

Pass-Along Rate

  • The percentage of people who pass on a message or file.
  • Pass-along rates are a measure of word-of-mouth marketing. 
    • Objects typically passed include email messages, Web pages and multimedia files. 
    • Content typically passed includes humor and entertainment, late-breaking news, shopping specials, and technical gizmos.
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Word
of 
mouth
marketing
Before
the
Internet
Dr. A. Coskun Samli is a research professor of marketing and international business at University of North Florida. Author of more than 250 articles and 13 books, Dr. Samli is widely quoted as having done a study 3 decades ago in which the research showed that 40% of the consumers to an average retail situation, are attracted to a product based upon recommendations from friends.
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The 
History 
behind 
Viral 
Marketing
There was once a television commercial aired about a woman who loved her shampoo so much she went on and told two friends. Based on the convincing recommendation, the woman's friends who tried the shampoo were so satisfied with the product that they were compelled to go on and tell two more friends and so on. 
Within seconds, the TV screen was filled with happy women with shiny, radiant and manageable hair. This commercial was a perfect example of word-of-mouth marketing, and the method works better today than ever, thanks in large measure to the Internet.
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The 
History 
behind 
Viral 
Marketing
Viral marketing was a term originally coined by venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson to describe the unique referral-marketing program created by Hotmail, one of the first free e-mail services.

Steve Jurvetson (bio) is [2005] the Managing Director of 'Draper Fisher Jurvetson' www.dfj.com (a premier venture capital firm). This firm has created a global network of affiliated venture funds with over $3 billion in capital commitments and offices in the major technology centers around the world. 

How Jurvetson helped Hotmail spread using Viral Marketing:

Hotmail would include a promotional line for its free e-mail services at the bottom of every message. Users of Hotmail were automatically promoting the free service to their friends and colleagues every time they sent an e-mail message. The free service spread like a virus, and Hotmail reportedly received 12 million new subscribers within 18 months of its launch from this simple technique!!! Draper Fisher Jurvetson reported that Hotmail spent less than $500,000 on marketing, advertising and promotion during this period while its nearest competitor, Juno, spent $20 million for a fraction of the subscribers. Thus, it was originally Hotmail, who developed the concept of viral marketing.

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The 
origins 
of Viral
Marketing
in the 
context
of the
Internet
Student Martin Braedy, in BCS 555 in October 2005, found a good newspaper story that discusses the origins of Viral Marketing.

Martin says
"Through my subscription to the Globe and Mail, I came across an article in last Thursdays business section (Oct. 27th edition, page B13) regarding the use of viral marketing campaigns to distribute creative and unique content using the Internet. 

The article describes how the "Organic Trade Association" asked a marketing agency to design a short film for their message of food and agricultural issues in a lighthearted way. The result was a Star Wars spoof called "Store Wars: The Organic Rebellion" that has been viewed by 10 million people within 4 months due to viral marketing. There's even an incredible quote from the communications director of the OTA stating "It was amazing how quickly it went around the world...I got email from people who wanted to translate the work into Japanese, Portuguese, German, Polish and Spanish within 48 hours of the films launch." Amazing stuff.

I'll be sure to bring the article to class ... I think it makes a great success story for the power of word of e-mouth."

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The 
origins 
of Viral
Marketing
- Internet
based
The story Martin is referring to was written by Tessa Wegert of the Globe and Mail and titled
"Advertisers get creative in bid to infect the Internet"

Wegert explains
"Viral campaigns are based on content that people latch onto and pass along to others, something like a virus."

Holly Givens, communications director with the Massachusetts-based OTA says,
"As a viral marketing effort, it's been a galactic success. The short film, was seen by about 10 million Internet users in its first four months, and has been forwarded to others via e-mail more than 300,000 times.".

The Globe & Mail Permissions Coordinator told TR by phone Oct 31st, 2005 that the Globe does not give digital rights for reusing articles but they will allow quotes of up to 25 words.

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The 
origins 
of Viral
Marketing
http://www.storewars.org/noflash/index.html if you click on this screen capture, it will take you to the site that Wegert's article was talking about, and the video clip that was mentioned by student Martin Braedy.
sometimes the link isn't working so you can watch it on YouTube at 
 youtube.com/watch?v=hVrIyEu6h_E
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Viral Marketing. You've been infected. How? 

There are 6 main types of viral messages:
(with notes from  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viral_marketing )
 
How to do
Viral
Marketing
There are 6 main types of viral messages:
 
1. Pass-along
2. Incentivised viral
3. Undercover
4. "Edgy gossip/Buzz Marketing"
5. Anonymous matching
6. Guerrilla Marketing
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How to do
Viral
Marketing
1. Pass-along

A message at the bottom of an e-mail that prompts the reader to pass it along (eg. chain letters). The success of this method depends on how interesting or exciting or believable the message is

KHNK

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How to do
Viral
Marketing
2. Incentivised viral

Offering rewards for providing someone's address. This can dramatically increase referrals. However, this is most effective when the offer requires another person to take action. Most online contests offer more chances of winning for each referral given; but when the referral must also participate in order for the first person to obtain that extra chance of winning, the chance that the referral participates is much higher. 

KHNK

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How to do
Viral
Marketing
3. Undercover AKA Stealth Marketing

A viral message presented as a cool or unusual page, activity or piece of news, without obvious incitements to link or pass-along. Particular effort is made to make the discovery of the item seem spontaneous and informal, to encourage natural memetic behaviour. Outside world "clues", such as graffiti appearing in cities with key viral words, is often used to direct people to search out the presented "mystery". Because of the large amount of unusual and entertaining content on the internet, this can be the hardest type of viral to spot, especially as companies try to imitate the style and content of amateur websites and authentic underground movements.

KHNK

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How to do
Viral
Marketing
3. Undercover Version 2

Sometimes a viral message is not secret or undercover, it is simple the way it gets passed innocently to other people in a quiet way.
 
Student Tina D in MGD415 at UTM in early Feb 2010 wrote in an email about how her handheld device manages to "get the message out" through her usage.

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pic supplied by Tina
3. Undercover Version 2

Tina wrote
 I would like to share an example of my own. 

An effective way Rogers Wireless has incorporated viral marketing is through self-replicating e-mail signatures on smartphone handheld devices.  For every message sent out on a default handheld under Rogers Wireless, signatures are automatically appended to e-mails the user sends.  It has "Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network" at the end of all outgoing messages. By sending messages, users are unknowingly (or at least not on purpose) passing on a marketing message to others creating potential for the message's exposure and influence.  This is an effective strategy for Rogers to create brand awareness and other marketing objectives such as increasing their BlackBerry product sales.  Getting the word out to customers this way interests users on the receiver's end and prompts them to consider getting a BlackBerry themselves.  In addition, Roger's operators no longer need to spend so much time marketing the the BlackBerry smartphones because the messages market themselves. 

Witiger adds
yes Tina, good point, on my Blackberry w Telus, I at least have the option of editing that outgoing "footnote" and can put in my snail mail address or some other text if I want

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 youtube.com/watch?v=2ydFeV3i45A&feature=related

3. Undercover Version 3

Make it seem like a real event, but it ends up talking about a branded consumer product
 
Student Gloria Wu. in MGD415 in March 2011 emailed to explain an interesting scenario

When I was studying the topic of viral marketing for the test, I thought of a link that had been forwarded wildly in Facebook last month. In  the link, there is a Hong Kong couple and they are arguing  since the guy is playing his phone and did not hold the girl's hand.  The girl was so angry and kept complaining that her boyfriend only  cared about his cellphone and ignored her. The girl did not accept any  explanation and even cried in the street. The video caught  pedestrain's attention and many of them stop around the couple and  listen to their argument.

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Gloria says
This video is then being taken and put into YouTube Many people  forwarded the link around in different social networking sites and  share with their friends. After a few days, many people in Hong Kong,  or even those Hong Kong people in USA, Canada had seen the video and  commented on how terrible the girl was. A local newspaper in Hong Kong  even published this video.

About one week later, there is a video called "second part of the story" being posted in Youtube. The video looked like a continued  version of the previous video. The girl is still complaining and this  time, she mentioned that her boyfriend's cell phone has a function of  voice search. Thus, he should hold her hand when searching. At the end  of this video, it shows that they are actually doing advertising on a  Samsung cell phone in Hong Kong and promoting the new function of  voice search.


pic supplied by Gloria
In my opinion, I do think this advertisement is a very good example of  viral marketing as it uses the power of social networking sites to  increase the pass-along rate. People thought it was a real and  interesting link, so they posted and forwarded around the Internet.  Moreover, the low quality of the video makes it look like it is really  taken by the pedestrians and it increases the realistic of the video.

However, after the second part is being published in the video, some  viewers thought they were being cheated by Samsung and they were not  please by the way they promote their products. It may end up resulting in a  negative influence to Samsung as potential users will not want to use the products anymore.

The first part of the story can be viewed in the link above. Too bad  they do not have English subtitle (probably becasue they want to make  it more like taken by an amateur). The whole idea of it is basically  the couples are arguing in the street.

The second part of story, which shows it is actually an ad. From 0.30  to the end, it becomes a normal ad. we can see in television.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAg6feg-BfM&feature=player_embedded

WTGR replies
Gloria, thanks for sharing, yes, this is an interesting way to create a "pass along" piece of media - but I wonder if it matters if some people get annoyed at being tricked - in the end, it is still publicity, and sometimes even bad publicity can still work - rememberm the whole point is to create awareness about the particular feature on the new phone, and if that causes people to but it, then who cares if they dislike the viral media that got them to that purchase decision - kinda cynical way of looking at it, but that might what they were thinking.
How to do
Viral
Marketing
4. "Edgy gossip/Buzz Marketing"

Ads or messages that create controversy by challenging the borders of taste or appropriateness. Discussion of the resulting controversy can be considered to generate buzz and word of mouth advertising. Prior to releasing a movie, some Hollywood movie stars get married, get divorced, or get arrested, or become involved in some controversy that directs conversational attention them. An example is the publicity campaign about the dubious love affair between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes that came out just before each of them released a movie, or the controversy over who would be named the next James Bond. 

KHNK

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"Edgy gossip/Buzz Marketing" particular to a specific social / cultural environment
 
http://www.witiger.com/marketing/bobSleighTim2006.jpg March and April 2013 I had several students mention the videos that had gone viral regarding the Volkswagen 2013 Superbowl Commercial.

Knowing a little bit about Jamaican culture, I offer these additional videos for your interest

pic to the left is me (WTGR) in Montego Bay with the original Jamaican Bobsled made famous in the 1993 movie Cool Runnings.

vvv
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9H0xPWAtaa8 This is a screen capture on which you can click to see the original VW Superbowl ad featuring the white guy with the Jamaican accent.
 youtube.com/watch?v=WCK0WsH0wKE
(link good 2014 Oct 14)

When it came out some people criticized VW for being racist
  - but mostly these were people who seem to shout racism at every slight without even asking the people in question if they felt the material was insulting. 

vv
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3-6pe2_nK0 Following widespread media coverage of the video
youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=W0UxmgMwcAI&feature=fvwp
many black Jamaicans commented that it was not racist at all - cause there are in fact many white people living in Jamaica.
Spoof Video  youtube.com/watch?v=7dGSKQnMH4g
(link good 2014 Oct 14)
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The video to the left is a white Jamaican who has had a YouTube channel up since 2006 and posts many comments about Jamaican culture - and he commented about the VW video..
v
"Edgy gossip/Buzz Marketing" So if the objective of Edgy gossip / Buzz marketing is to get eveyone talking about your product, VW certainly achieved that, especially since hundreds of TV news channels insisted on showing segments of the clip which drove up views on the original clip to more than 10 million, as well as launching many video comments and even a parody - which is the ultimate compliment to how well you created a buzz.
v
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dGSKQnMH4g&list=UU2RECELXmU2jyF_nfon3K7g&index=3 One of the best indicators of how successful a buzz marketing video can be, is if it encourages people to make parody videos, like the Harlem Shake.

see a "made in Jamaica" parody produced in reaction to the original.
youtube.com/watch?v=7dGSKQnMH4g

VW must love this cause it is, in a sense, the public making their own commercials

v
"Edgy gossip/Buzz Marketing" particular to a specific social / cultural environment
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHGDN9-oFJE
Partition of India and Pakistan
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partition_of_India
Sometimes sponsors of a "Viral Video" have a more noble purpose than simply frivolous entertainment.

There are a number of viral videos on the web that have a message or comment, (direct or indirect) about the human condition and our relationships with others.

Google's video about two old men reunited by a grand daughter (who uses Google search and Google maps to bring them together) has been a hit in the Desi community in Canada and globally - this video had more than 10 million hits by the end of 2013. It was launched in mid-Nov 2013.

vI

 
Google's video about a poor boy (Saroo Brierley) in India who ends up being adopted and raised by a family in Australia. Saroo, when older, uses Google search and Google maps to find his family - the story ends up as a Hollywood film starring Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel (who played the central character in Slumdog Millionaire, also The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)

added by MRK460 student Scarlet Yung 2017Feb15

vI find it incredibly rude and disgusting that
"Edgy gossip/Buzz Marketing" particular to a specific social / cultural environment
 
. Coke's 2014 Superbowl commercial
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=443Vy3I0gJs
(link good 2014 Oct 14)
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Coke, like several giant sized American companies selling a globally branded comsumer product, is approaching the status of transnational corporation in which their product is seen to be beyond national boundaries - many coke commercials over the years have shown people in other countries drinking Coke-- yet, at the same time, Coke "represents" one of the strong identifiers of "American culture".

In the 2014 Superbowl commercial what created a "Buzz" was the negative reaction of racist Americans who protested "America the beautiful" sung in a language other than English.

CCT322 student Fatima S. at UofT Mississauga in early Feb 2014 said 
"I find it incredibly rude and disgusting that people still live with the mentality of "terrorists being brown people" and that racism still exists. The people that tweeted even happened to connect the America is Beautiful song with terrorism...why? Because it's sung in a different language...I don't understand the mentality of some people!"

Fatima provided the tumlr link
 http://publicshaming.tumblr.com/post
/75447787843/speak-english-racist-revolt-as-coca-cola-airs
 

WTGR "I agree Fatima, it is sad, and it remains to be seen how Coke will react, will they take the high road and see their product as a global brand and continue to show "world peace and harmony" themes, or will they be frightened about the backlash in their home country and pull the ad."

WTGR showed this in several classes in Feb 2014

vI find it incredibly rude and disgusting that
"Edgy gossip/Buzz Marketing"
Ads that take advantage of a well known mistake or problem which created controversy c
Student Darren H. in MRK460 sent this image to show how Audi took advantage of a mistake during the 2014 Winter Olympics opening ceremony when one of the 5 rings didn't open - a lot of people made fun of this mistake and Audi, with its "4 circles logo" was perfectly positioned, and did not avoid the opportunity.

Part of creating something "viral" is to pay close attention to world media events and "jump" quickly when there is an opportunity.
(added 2014 Feb 12th)

c"dating

"Edgy gossip/Buzz Marketing"
"Ads or messages that create controversy by challenging the borders of taste" c
A good example of a situation that "created controversy" and was strongly accused of "challenging the borders of taste" was the proposal by 
Ashley Madison, to plaster a TTC car with a slogan from their marketing.
The proposal was met with a lot of public discussion as people protested against the TTC
allowing a company to promote infidelity on their street cars.
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/737900--adultery-website-gets-free-ride-without-paying-ttc-a-cent
Most of the major newspapers in Toronto discussed the story in the 2nd week of Dec 2009.

Prof. Richardson was interviewed by the Toronto Star about the viral marketing tactics being used and commented.

Richardson said "the TTC's blessing – or lack of it – is irrelevant. "They got Ashley Madison.com on the front page of the Sun," he said.

.ccc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-xsbBW465I example of Edgy gossip/Buzz Marketing
Students in the UTSC class MGTD06 in late Nov 2008 did a group project presentation about a restaurant (White Plates) - they posted a video on YouTube about their kewl example of creating a viral marketing campaign.
If you look at the video, you can see the students achieved one objective of creating interest - because you can see many strangers stopping to look down and read the messages written on the white plates they left lying on the ground at Dundas Square. And the video also shows strangers talking to each other while pointing to the plates - which allows us to suspect the situation would lead to some "buzz" and subsequent gossip.
,
Oh, and yes the group got an "A" on the project - partly because the prof (WTGR) was impressed that they came up with this kewl concept, and also out of respect they took the time to actually go downtown and do it - this is something you might expect from a real "trendy restaurant" - but this was just a bunch of students carrying out an experiment for a class project - you gotta respect that enthusiasm.
How to do
Viral
Marketing
5. Anonymous matching

This service requires each user to create a confidential list of friends and acquaintances they are interested in dating. A match only occurs if the object of their affection reciprocates by logging in and placing them on their own secret list; thus, each user has an incentive to get their crushes to visit the site. Most of these services allow users to email recipients anonymous messages informing them that an undisclosed person has a crush on them. On eCRUSH, one system using this methodology, 20% of the email recipients start accounts of their own. A Business 2.0 article noted, "eCrush is intrinsically viral – hopeful romantics become eCrush marketers as they try to find out if their crushes return their ardor" 

KHNK

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How to do
Viral
Marketing
6. Guerrilla Marketing

As a military concept, guerrilla forces are used by an "aggressor" when the opposing force is overwhelming large. The guerrillas don't try to match the opposing force size-for-size, rather they use "guerilla tactics" such as small groups of attackers targeting weak points in the opposing force, such as attacking at night on an exposed perimeter, or attacking when the opposing force is restricted by geography from moving as a large mass - ie. in mountainous terrain or a narrow river valley.

Guerillas use different weapons, strategies and tactics to make up for having a more limited access to resources. For example, instead of having several soldiers riding in an expensive armoured HUMVEE, they have one man with a LAWs rocket or an RPG, which can "take out" a lightly armoured vehicle.

So the principle is that you have less people and less money for equipment and resources, but by employing particular strategies and tactics, you can have a significant "effect".

The pic to the left shows a soldier in Operation "Desert Shield" using a Light Anti-tank Weapon (LAW)

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How to do
Viral
Marketing
6. Guerrilla Marketing

In the later years of the first decade of the new millennium, some marketing companies have become more extreme in order to spread their message, which has resulted in some strategies and tactics that have been termed "guerrilla" by virtue of the way they exploit a situation to their advantage.

These "Guerrilla" companies are often trying to position a product in a market segment that may be dominated by some well established brands that have zillions of dollars to spend on advertising in well known situations. In order for their message to be "noticed", the "Guerilla" companies exploit weaknesses  in well known situations, and use Viral marketing strategies so that their "activity" has "legs" and the message gets carried on and on and on.

During each Olympic games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will allow several of the wealthiest brands to bid for exclusivity as the "official vehicle of the Olympics", "official camera of the Olympics" etc.

Innovative marketing companies don't have to be "defeated" if their large corporate client doesn't get the bid in a particular year; by using imagination and Guerilla tactics, they can still have their client's brand exposed to millions of viewers.

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How to do
Viral
Marketing
6. Guerrilla Marketing:  FIFA World Cup 2010 South Africa
 

NOT the exact 
FIFA logo
During the summer of 2010 there were a number of complaints about the restrictions FIFA put in place about the use of its logo and anything to do with the World Cup. A number of innovative marketing companies developed guerilla marketing strategies to get their client's product exposed to the global audience, while exploiting some of the weaknesses inherent in a large public event.

Nike, for example, boasted that through savvy marketing, they had achieved better exposure than Adidas or Coke, even though Nike had not paid millions to be an official sponsor.

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Guerrilla Marketing:  FIFA World Cup 2010 South Africa
One of the things that gives a Guerrilla marketing situation "legs" (pun intended) is if newspapers and TV pick up on the story and turn the Guerilla action into a news story, which then helps the action "go viral" as it is passed on and on by people sending people the URL link, or the images through their web connections.

Budweiser paid millions to be the official beer of the FIFA World Cup. However Dutch beer brewer Bavaria found a way to get around that and arranged for models wearing orange miniskirts - the exact tint of orange as used in the company branding, to be seen on TV in the stands when the Dutch team played.

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As later told and re-told on websites around the world  "36 women from the Netherlands dressed up as Danish supporters before stripping down to reveal the orange miniskirts". 
What gave the story legs was that South African police arrested the women and took them away for questioning - which is perfect because you then get pics passed around the world of these attractive women in mini-skirts being "handled" by police - which is guaranteed to "go viral".
Budweiser is brewed by Anheuser-Busch in the U.S.
annual revenue is over $ 17 billion USD

Bavaria is a Dutch brewery
annual revenue is over $ 2 billion USD

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Advantages
and
Disadvantages
of Viral Marketing
from www.corporateblogging.info/2005/04/viral-marketing-is-it-infectious.asp
 
The advantages of viral marketing are low costs, great reach, high credibility, high efficiency and the possibility of continuous campaign adjustments. The downfalls of viral marketing include the extent of the reach of failed campaigns, the lack of control, risks that the viral message is perceived as spam and the limited possibility for segmentation.

  o Cheap and low cost (there's no printing involved!)
  o Extensive reach
  o High credibility
  o High efficiency
 

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Pitfalls - things to avoid
  o Brand Dilution
  o Association with unknown groups
  o Avoid making purely financial-based offer
  o Large-scale spam issues

Brand Dilution
Viral marketing depends upon people not versed in your brand to do the "selling" for you. It is important to carefully craft a message that is strong enough to endure misinterpretations or make your communication brandless.

Association with unknown groups
Viral marketing's strength is its potential to spread exponentially from person to person. During this process, it is possible that your message could wind up in the hands of and passed on by someone you would rather not be associated with. The only way to partially counter this is to ahead of time define and limit what information you make available for your viral marketing.

Avoid making purely financial-based offer
The best viral campaigns work on the principle of value not greed. If you try to use money as an incentive there is a chance that 1) your offer will be spammed across the web and you'll be broke and left with the nightmare of figuring out who gets what; 2) your offer will be perceived as "too good to be true" and won't work at all.

Spam threats
If done poorly, viral marketing can lead to large-scale spam issues. Consider a company that pays individuals to email their friends to convince them to buy one of its products. In this case, the individual who receives the email had only given the friend permission to send email of a personal nature. The one friend's receiving an unsolicited commercial email can weaken his or her relationship with the person who sent it. This can lead to the recipient of the email dropping a friend and becoming angry with the marketer for sending an unsolicited message. Flames may result, leading to damage to the advertiser's reputation. In some cases, individuals who want to earn more money simply go out and spam people. This can be problematic for your company image.

.
Pitfalls - things to avoid

One of the things you definitely want to avoid is people being so repulsed at the message (either the words are sick or the images are disgusting) that they do not pass it on, and in fact consider the topic negatively in the wrong way.
 
During the 3rd week of August 2007, Richardson was interviewed by Ian Marlow of the Toronto Star about the effectiveness of using extreme imagery in an internet marketing campaign - the particular campaign was about raising awareness of child soldiers in Africa and used images of North American children pretending to shoot and kill each other.
see www.campokutta.com

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.
Extremes of Viral Marketing
 
Richardson was quoted as saying

This "viral" marketing strategy spreads the message widely, but could also distort the creator's original intent, said Tim Richardson, a professor of e-commerce and Internet marketing ...Still, "any kind of controversy that helps to get the message out can be helpful ... You have to be more extreme," he added. "It's kind of a sad comment on our society."

witiger.com/ecommerce/articlechildsoldiers3.jpg
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPBThcb8VRw Viral Marketing
- an experiment set up by some University of Toronto (UTM) students in the MGD415 class in March 2008

- big thanks to Sol L. for setting this up with other group members Betty, Marg and Gord

Sol explains
"Basically, we set up a black presentation board to look like a booth at a corner of Bloor st. and we left it there to film from across the street. People randomly walked by on the street and they started to stare at the booth and we even heard people saying "what's this?" and they were questioning  to each other about the booth.

It was originally filmed for our group project, however it happened to be a viral marketing experiment when we realized people on the streets were talking about it. It is just a simple video but we believe the clip defines viral marketing."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yfSGMJpDOE Viral Marketing
- a video created by some University of Toronto (UTM) students in the MGD415 class in March 2008 for the purpose of explaining how their company was providing services to the MMORPG industry
- the video was done by taking existing components of an interactive video game and adding in characters from the class and their presentation for the purpose of having something they could use in the marketing of their service - which was targeted for people creating MMORPG.

The fact that they named one of the characters in the game Witiger (an ugly little troll type), was not held against them!

Ian explains
"Through a machinima presentation, we are able to develop relevant  media that embodies our target markets personalities and practices,  while simultaneously communicating an image of an approachable,  light-hearted corporate entity. In doing so, our expectation is that  pertinent viewers will actively share such videos with others in the  gaming community, be it for humorous one liners or their relatable  material, thusly, creating a situation palpable for buzz-based viral  marketing with a high potential for brand exploration. "

WTGR explains
When you watch the video, you'll see some characters doing some things that have been controlled by the students. Ian uses the term "Machinima"

Wikipedia describes Machinima by saying it "is a collection of associated production techniques whereby computer-generated imagery (CGI) is rendered using real-time, interactive 3-D engines, such as those of games"

MMORPG - means Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) and is a genre of online computer role-playing games (CRPGs) in which a large number of players interact with one another in a virtual world. 

nn
Companies
specializing
in
Viral
Marketing
GFK NOP, a market research firm, has specialized in advising clients about word-of-mouth marketing and has done studies that show word-of-mouth comments by a friend carry twice as much weight in making a purchase decision compared to any information from mass advertising.

"Face-to-Face Still Number One Way Consumers Make Recommendations According to NOP World Study"
see www.nopworld.com/news.asp?go=news_item&key=159

NOP World announced in April 2005 the results of a national study uncovering where the "roots" of grassroots marketing lie. "The findings reveal face-to-face remains the strongest medium for spreading word-of-mouth"

"When asked how they make recommendations, 80% of consumers say they make them in-person, followed by 68% who say they make them over the telephone. the study found that less than 40% of consumers use e-mail to make recommendations to others, including via personal e-mail (37%), by e-mail forwarding (32%) or through mass e-mails (12%)."
 

KEY
POINTS
So we can see that word-of-mouth is very powerful, and that it is the traditional (face2face) version which is still more influential than emails.

While internet technology may contribute to marketing a product through word-of-mouth, it would be considered more productive if the IT circumstances could end up in a face2face situation at some point because then that message will have a higher chance of being received and acted upon.
WTGR

GFK stands for Growth From Knowledge. GfK has home offices in Nuremberg, Germany, The GfK Group is among the top-three market research organizations in
the world.

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Companies
specializing
in
Viral
Marketing
www.matchstick.ca is a Canadian marketing company which has developed a good reputation in word-of-mouth launches

Matchstick was hired by Ford Canada to help launch the Zephyr line of cars through creating situations were people could drive one of the cars for free if they agreed to talk about it with their friends.

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University of Toronto experts on Viral Marketing and Word-of-Mouth Marketing include Dr. Andrea C. Wojnicki who teaches at Rotman and has a Harvard PhD in which her thesis was word-of-mouth advertising.
.
Famous
examples of Viral Marketing mixed with web-based content
Terry Tate, Office Linebaker - a series of TV commercials sponsored by Reebok, which were very popular, and encouraged people to go to the reebok.com site to see more of the commercials online
 
While the concept of a big linebaker running through an office proved to be very amusing and kewl, the bottom line is "did it sell more product for Reebok?". Several media sites suggested "it was difficult to determine the ad's effectiveness because the commercial lacked a strong connection to Reebok's brand."
 youtube.com/watch?v=RzToNo7A-94 (up-to-date Feb 19th 2010)
 http://espn.go.com/sportsbusiness/s/2003/0129/1500934.html

The point being, it is great that people think your commercial is kewl, but it has to have a relation to buying the product otherwise you're just spending money on entertainment.

Terry Tate's real name is Lester Speight, ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lester_Speight) a former pro football linebaker who now has his own site at www.mightyrasta.com/

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Examples of Viral Marketing mixed with web-based content
 
Nicole J. at UTM student in MGD415 in March 2007 sent an email with a good example of Viral Marketing being used by the movie industry in combination with web-based distribution
Nicole emailed to say
Hello Professor Richardson,... I thought I would share this article I found on viral marketing... the article shows how viral marketing is being used as an effective business strategy. Particularly, I found this article that states the motion picture industry, Hollywood to be exact, has found a new way to market their movie trailers and DVD ads by posting these mini web videos on popular sites such as YouTube. This way they are exposing their key demographics of teenagers and young adults, who frequently utilize these entertainment venues, to their range of product offerings. Paramount Pictures is one example that has used YouTube to now post at least three trailers per month. In this article http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9588_22-6091540.htmlit clearly explains that this is a strong marketing strategy in order to get the word out.

The move to promote DVDs through viral video sites is part of an overall shift to Web marketing by the studios.”

Nicole concludes
I think this is an interesting article as it helps us to see how businesses are utilizing viral marketing to get the message across to a broad range of their consumer base. I think given the new developments in the web entertainment arena, it is essential that they find ways to keep ahead with what their audience is interested in so that they can incorporate their product(s) accordingly. 

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Audio clip (podcast) made by University of Toronto (UTM) students
Betty (Wan-Tzu) C. and Margaret (Tzu-Chiao) H. for
"Witiger Radio Show" in March 2008
http://people.senecac.on.ca/tim.richardson/audio/RadioWitigerClassParticipationMarks.wav Click on the girl's faces to hear the full clip in English and Mandarin - it contains some funny and amusing comments about earning class participations marks and their comments also about the course

As Betty explained in an email March 30th, 2008
"We made this podcast called Radio Witiger for viral marketing  strategy. By using two languages, Mandarin and English, we establish  our target audience and attract both cultures’ attention, as the other  “foreign” language acts as a clue for them. We assume audience only  knows one language and by listening to snips of words in their  language, they will be curious to know the rest of the puzzle,  figuring out the context of the dialogue. In order to do so, they will  have to ask their friends who know the other language, thus, spread  the word of Radio Witiger and Professor Richardson. "

http://www.witiger.com/ViralMarketingExampleFromUTM2008MarchEnglishAndMandarinScript.pdf Click to the left to read the English / Chinese (Mandarin) script of the audio clip 

(but do this after you listen to the audio clip)
- it is funnier to hear the clip first


 
Things that spread Virally through YouTube

Politics
and
viral
marketing

2008

 In the 2nd week of Feb 2008, one of Prof. Richardson's students suggested that one of the best examples of Viral Marketing is the videos posted on YouTube about Obama
Obama girl  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekSxxlj6rGE

YouTube story about the original "I got a crush on Obama" and origins of Obama Girl vs. Guliani Girl"
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77yNLuji-rE&feature=related

Washington Post commentary on the Viral Marketing aspects
 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/15/AR2007071501378.html

cc
ETHICS
of
Viral
Marketing
Gary Ruskin of Commercial Alert  www.commercialalert.org  has been quoted as saying "buzz marketing perpetuates large-scale deception upon consumers when people recruited to promote products by word of mouth don't disclose that fact"

commercialalert.orgdiscusses Manipulating Teens
 http://www.commercialalert.org/news-archive.php?article_id=816

www.tremor.com, a Procter & Gamble Web site that has enlisted a quarter-million teenagers as "word-of-mouth" marketers.

"Tremor is part of a burgeoning trend in marketing: using "real people" to create a buzz for products and services. But teens who join the Tremor Crew aren't required to acknowledge the gig to anybody - even to their own parents." says  Jeff Gelles of the Philadelphia Inquirer

"Tremor and other such marketers are under scrutiny because of a complaint by Commercial Alert,...some of their tactics may violate laws against deceptive advertising. Commercial Alert has called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate such practices." says Gelles

Gelles says "Tremor offers a marketer's dream: a large pool of well-connected teenagers, influential among their peers, who will talk up the products and services of its clients."

Richardson received email from Ruskin of Commercialalert.org November 14th 2005 giving permission to link and quote. Copies of emails are in the permissions binder.

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* logo designed by Kevin Ho
 
 
KHNK This page (http://www.witiger.com/ecommerce/viralmarketing.htm) was originally created by KHNK in 2005

Pronounced "Kink", this dynamic team,  was made up of two students Kevin Ho and Naila Khan who were in MGTD06 at University of Toronto in the Sept-Dec 2005 session. Kevin and Naila researched some of the main points in this unit, and created the logo at the top of the page. 

Since 2006, many other students in classes at U of T Scarborough, U of T Mississauga and Seneca College have made contributions to this page - which are shown herein.

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