Viral advertising: examples, effectiveness, promotion

Viral marketing has nothing to do with viruses. It’s difficult even to call it advertising, but rather a complex of various techniques. The main goal of the product is to provoke a response from the audience, increase user interest and motivate to purchase a product or service. Consider examples of viral advertising, its features, variety and effectiveness.

What is viral promotion?

Areas of application of viral advertising

At a time before the Internet, news about goods, products, companies or services was broadcast via word of mouth. This principle is used in such a field as viral marketing. But the process is more complicated, since it requires the creation of a certain strategy aimed at a specific target audience, as well as a professional approach.

Simply put, viral advertising on the Internet is a mix of advertising and marketing moves used by companies to increase brand, product or service recognition. On the one hand, it looks simple, you just need to interest a person. But in order to do this, colossal work must be done to study the trends of the modern market, as well as the goals and moods of users.

The essence of viral marketing is that information is transmitted voluntarily from one person to another. Thus, the involvement and interest of as many people as possible in the product, company or service is achieved. Advertising, which is filled with media and the Internet, is imposed on people and is very tiring; there should not be such an effect from the viral transmission of information.

Viral advertising a priori should be and perceived by the target audience in a natural way. It is used in various fields. Most often distributed through the Internet, social networks and online games. Its main task is creativity, the uniqueness of the idea, the naturalness of conveying information in order to encourage a person to voluntarily share what he saw or read material.

Viral marketing: artificial or natural?

best examples of viral advertising

Virus advertising in the browser is unobtrusive, but has a high degree of involvement. In itself, this phenomenon is natural, but it is applied with certain skills and abilities, that is, it is created artificially. Despite its high efficiency, with the right report, a tool like viral marketing is the cheapest option for advertising a brand, product or service.

To create a viral advertisement does not require large funds, you only need to be able and know how to properly convey information to a specific target audience. People tend to believe not in advertising, which is filled with the Internet and the media, but in people, that is, the personal recommendations of some familiar user.

Benefits of Highly Effective Viral Marketing:

  • the involvement of a large number of users online;
  • low cost compared to regular advertising;
  • increased recognition of a company, product or service;
  • individual approach or personal appeal to the user.

To achieve the effectiveness of viral advertising, it is worth carefully planning it, building a certain tactic, strategy and creative thinking.

Scope of application

To date, viral advertising (examples are presented below) is used by almost all world brands, companies and corporations, regardless of their field of activity. The user does not perceive it as a traditional advertisement, but rather as a recommendation or advice from a friend.

The main task of companies in this case is to create such unique content that a person wants to share it with his friends. Therefore, the main thing in creating viral promotion is not the product, service or brand, but the content of the content. Most often, companies use audio, photo and video materials, less often informative texts, news or flash mobs, as viral marketing. It is important to evoke certain emotions in a person and preferably positive ones.

Types of Viral Marketing

How to run a viral ad?

Looking at examples of viral advertising on the Internet, regardless of the mechanism that was used to create it, you can divide it into several types.

Types of viral marketing:

  • pass-along (transmit) - looks like an informational message, but it is not used often (funny videos that are exchanged by more users are better perceived);
  • incentivised viral (incentive) - a certain reward (costly but effective method) is supposed for disseminating information about a product, product or service - a successful example of viral advertising of this type was demonstrated by Unilever to promote Dove soap (a woman who brought a discount coupon could indicate the addresses of several friends who sent soap as a gift for free), which increased the number of sales by 10%;
  • undercover (secret) is an effective but complex type of viral marketing, as it implies an “investigation effect” (a life example was demonstrated by, which a month before its opening prompted users to discuss and be interested in it by placing the slogan on billboards “life is in full swing here ");
  • buzz (rumors) is not a very correct method that is used to attract attention at all costs (examples of such viral marketing are shown by Hollywood stars trying to increase popularity or not to lose the number of fans).

Pros and cons

Varieties of viral advertising

Viral advertising has a number of advantages and disadvantages that are worth evaluating before you deal with this type of promotion of your products, services or brand.


  • Significant cost savings - information is transmitted from person to person, no need to spend money on the distribution of materials;
  • the formation of a positive attitude due to the effect of non-intrusiveness;
  • unlimited validity period - viral marketing does not have an expiration date, a product or brand advertising can go from hand to hand for years through recommendations;
  • emotional component - the product or product that the user shares causes a certain emotion from the user (most often positive).

Despite the obvious advantages, there are also disadvantages. No professional can give a 100% guarantee that viral advertising will be successful. You can’t even roughly predict the results. Predicting user behavior is difficult.

The disadvantages include the cost of viral marketing. It is not enough to come up with a good idea; it is important to bring it to life. And it’s better to use the services of professionals, the cost of which may be high for the company.

How to start?

Viral advertising examples

Viral marketing is carried out in stages. Judging by the examples of viral advertising of world companies, they did a tremendous job before launching.

Stages of creating a viral promotion of a product, service or company:

  1. Analysis of the target audience.
  2. Strategy development and content delivery. It is important to work out the material in detail.
  3. Spread of information. It is important to attract not only new users, but also encourage the company's customers to make a new purchase or order a service.
  4. Control and monitoring. Possible through feedback.
  5. Rating. The marketer must calculate and provide information to the customer about the number of views, demographic data of the audience, the peak of user activity, as well as the number and quality of comments.

It is important to understand that scandals, shock, humor, and mimic animals are very common on the Internet. These are the factors that cause certain emotions in people.

Examples of successful viral advertising

Pros and cons of viral advertising

It is impossible to understand the phenomenon of viral marketing without examples. Only they clearly demonstrate what and how marketers use to increase brand awareness, as well as promoting its products on the market.

Best examples of viral ads:

  • Halo Top (ice cream maker).

While most companies position the product as a treat for the whole family, the brand decided to remove dystopia. In the video, the robot feeds an aged woman an ice cream, and the words are heard: "Those who are no longer dear to you, there is only ice cream." This caused a storm of emotions among users, and the video instantly spread across the network, as it stood out noticeably against the background of gray and homogeneous mass. Sales of ice cream companies have grown significantly.

  • Brand Kentucky for Kentucky (different products).

Previously, companies produced and supplied their goods only in the state of Kentucky (America), but once they advertised in a large magazine, making a small grammatical error. Despite the fact that the mistake was made consciously, the brand was discussed throughout America, which helped the company go beyond one state and increase not only recognition, but also the number of customers.

  • Gravity Blanket (blankets).

The company produces heavy blankets, weighing from seven to 11 kg. In their commercial, they did not talk about the features of the product, but delved into scientific facts and statistics. They collected statements and data from scientists who proved that weighted blankets can get rid of stress and insomnia. The brand used this in its video without dry facts and boring statistics.

Original Marketing Examples

Sometimes, judging by the examples of large companies, viral advertising may not be completely standard, which indicates, first of all, the creator’s creativity.

To promote the Russian Vodka brand abroad, users of the social network were invited to play Russian roulette and either win a trip to the Russian Federation or close their account. To begin with, a person must invite three friends to the company’s website, and then play “Russian roulette” on an electronic drum. Of course, no one was obliged to close their page, but under the conditions it was necessary to at least leave a farewell inscription in the tape in order to receive a bottle of alcoholic drink as a gift.

The company does not disclose data on how the popularity and brand awareness of foreign consumers has increased through this viral marketing. It is only known that this advertisement is an example of originality of solutions.


Stages of Viral Marketing

To use and get a good return on viral marketing, you need to carefully plan it and think through all the details. From the viral promotion of goods, you can make big profits, although before the start of implementation it is impossible to say with 100% guarantee whether the advertisement will be successful.


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