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Viral Advertising

Rob Miller | Wednesday October 22, 2014

Categories: GCSE, AQA GCSE, OCR GCSE, Eduqas (WJEC) GCSE, WJEC GCSE Media Studies, A Level, AQA A Level, AQA AS, OCR A Level, OCR AS, Eduqas (WJEC) A Level, WJEC AS, WJEC AS Media Studies, Advertising, Viral Advertising, Key Concepts, Audience, Genre, Ideology, Hot Entries, New Media, Digital Media, Internet, Social Networking, Making Money, Synergy

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Viral advertising spreads messages, ideas and associations about a brand quickly, commonly using digital technology – in many ways viral advertising relies on the consumer to pass on information with the producer either seeding videos via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or on many other interactive digital platforms with the consumer at the point, knowingly or unknowingly spreading the communication – viral advertising spreads like a cold virus, often quickly and efficiently affecting a large number of people. With advertising, even a negative reaction to a brand communication is considered to be impacting on a potential consumer in as much they have remembered the brand. I can remember many awful adverts from years ago for brands whose name I can remember, the visual images of which I can still see in my minds eye I the same way I can remember many of the viral ‘mash-ups’ of the Cadbury’s Gorilla advert from 2007.

In 2007, Cadbury’s responded to a Salmonella scare which dramatically affected it sales by asking advertising agency Fallon to sequence a 90 second, high production value advert as the centerpiece of a cross media campaign – importantly, this was not an example of viral advertising but what happened soon after was. A version was uploaded to file sharing site YouTube that received 500,000 hits in its first week. In terms of measuring success, public perception of the brand had noticeably improved after its release addressing the previous negative publicity the brand had attracted. Hundreds of alternative versions of the advert were produced by YouTube users including the Gorilla drumming to the Eastenders theme, with a primary objective being to create comedic videos but with the secondary impact of virally communicating ideas about the brand using simple file sharing:

The impact was such that the advert became the hub of a digital marketing strategy that included online games,...

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