Viral Marketing

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One of the more impressive things about the digital revolution is the length that advertisers now need to go to in order to capture our attention. With the rise of DVRs that can fast-forward through commercials, and instant streaming available at our convenience, advertising agencies have to resort to more creative methods of promotion. That’s where viral marketing comes in to the picture. Companies are starting to realize that the old methods are no longer effective. People expect more content from digital versions of products. A print ad is not as persuasive on a website, as it might be in a magazine. It’s easier to ignore. So many advertisements are now including an interactive feature to their digital pop-up ads, a way to actively engage the audience.

Some advertisements are also focusing on creating more of a narrative structure within the ads. Story lines are necessary that will stand out and stick in a consumer’s mind. A recent commercial for Audi was released just before Star Trek Into Darkness opened in theatres, and featured Zachary Quinto, the new Spock, and Leonard Nimoy, the previous Spock. The commercial was two-and-a-half minutes, released exclusively on Audi’s YouTube channel, and featured a complete storyline of the two actors competing in various ways against each other. Even with the limited Internet release, fans sought out the video for it’s full and entertaining narrative, and strategic timing before the popular sequel opened. Audi had a 14.2% increase in sales from the previous year.

Another viral marketing campaign was launched today for the next big superhero movie. Gillette is partnering with Man of Steel to promote the movie through voting over the question, “How Does the Man of Steel Shave?” Gillette’s YouTube site includes videos from celebrities such as Bill Nye the Science Guy, Kevin Smith, Mayim Bialik from The Big Bang Theory, and Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage from MythBusters. In each of their videos, they discuss the fact that Superman has a beard in part of the Man of Steel trailer, so obviously he must shave at some point. They each give their own theories on how Superman can shave, ranging from purely scientific ideas, to the more fantastic comic book situations. Viewers can watch each video and vote for their favorites.

My name is April Whaley, and I’m a grad student at Full Sail University. I’m working on my masters in Entertainment Business, and I love science fiction, fantasy, and anything weird. You can read my full blog at

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