Six of the Best Special Edition: The 2008 Virals (Part 3) ~ Brand Mix

Friday, December 19, 2008

Six of the Best Special Edition: The 2008 Virals (Part 3)

The final part of the SOTB three-parter on virals. Today's six picks are viral marketing campaigns. Where the virals from Part 1 and Part 2 came from the world of advertising, today's selections have their roots in promotion. The list includes games, interactive "build-your-own" cards/videos and microsites where people can share stories.

As you might expect of these more promotion-oriented campaigns, they generally have more of a call-to-action than the ads already featured although that call-to-action is sometimes limited to clicking onto a link or spending time on a microsite. Making the connection between the viral idea, the brand and a consumer action that might sooner or later drive business is a challenge that even these campaigns on the "best of" lists don't quite manage to achieve.

The blue star (*) is for virals that made it into my (heavily-defended) inbox.

1. Elf Yourself *: OfficeMax's holiday website continues to be extremely popular. It's back again this year with new dances including disco and country. Has it anything at all to do with OfficeMax? Not really. (Review here)
2. Mistletoe Makeover *: Sephora's answer to the Elf. (May be a better look for women.) A set of lashes or a mini-lipstick as a free gift with any purchase. (Review here)
3. The Accent Game: Language Trainer's Group. Nominated as best of 2008 by techipedia (with review). I only got 23 points and even got one of the "England" accents wrong.
4. Tested Tough: Columbia Sportswear invites people to tell them what they have done or would do you to put its gear through the paces for a chance to win gear and other prizes.
5. Vibe Verses: An online rap music contest to get young and hip viewers to visit an urban music and culture website. Best videos were on by the VIBE community. The contest captured 60,000 new members.
6. Pink together: General Mills' battle against breast cancer taken onto MySpace. Visitors could share stories, comment and download badges and backgrounds for their own pages. The campaign reached more than 2.7 million people.
7. Northwestern Mutual Insurance shows that it can be done even with more unlikely businesses. Visitors to this interactive page could select concerns, such as financial troubles and dispose of them via catapult, rocket, submarine or hot air balloon.

My favorite of these six: Vibe Verses

Why? Because of the strong connection between the competition and the brand plus the metrics which show that it was successful.

Links to: Part 1 and Part 2 of the series and, as a bonus, a link to the new Burger King Fire Meets Desire site for their incredible new body spray: "The scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat." Selling like hotcakes!

1) Top 10 viral ads of the year: Organ Grinder Blog @ The Guardian
2) Top 10 Virals of 2008: Campaign
3) Top 100 funniest virals of 2008 The Sun's Funny Ad Clips
4) Viral Hall of Fame: Marketing Sherpa's 2008 list via "The Browser"
5) ViralBlog: Viral Ideas. Trends. Inspiration

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