Heineken pranks just 1000 Football Fans, but gets Millions to talk about it

If you want to create a viral campaign, you first of all have to come up with something that is highly relevant to your target group. And if you want to have a really good campaign that something has to be able to function as a starting point for conversations around it. Here is a great case from Heineken for how to do this right:

Brilliant underlying idea and surely something any football fan AND their girlfriends are talking about with each other and their respective peers. Only caveat: let's hope they don't forget which brand was behind the whole thing. If you can ensure that you have a great viral campaign...

Btw, I haven't found a lot about this stunt online except this video and many blog posts about it. But nothing about the actual event or mentions in traditional media. So maybe the campaign is just the video above? Just a thought! ;-)

How efficient can Viral Marketing be ?

When I try to sell viral marketing projects, I always avoid the word "cheap", because when a client hears "cheap", he tends to understand "free". And viral marketing certainly isn't free. But very often it's extremely efficient ! Here are two nice tidbits that show, how efficient it can be, when it is successful:
  • BMW Films: the brilliant film clips from BMW Films were downloaded 67 million times. Because of this success BMW was able to reduce the US ad budget by 40%, while keeping sales at a steady level.
  • Subservient Chicken: the budget to build the subservient chicken site was about 15.000 US dollars. How many hits did Burger King get for that ? 396 millions !
Okay, okay... I know... just anecdotal evidence... and the success of any viral marketing campaign is hard to predict. But then, how predictable is the success of any conventional campaign ? I mean really !?

Btw, I got these numbers from the Culture Buzz Blog of Emmanuel Vivier and he overheard them at this strange little conference, where apparently not everyone felt welcome !? Does anyone here attended this event ? If so, how was it ?? (via Bernd Röthlingshoefer)

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Viral Advertising in 2005 - Top 7 Tactics, How-Tos, and Measurement Data

MarketingSherpa has released part one of a very interesting report on viral advertising in 2005:
Summary: Viral ads are super cool right now -- but do they really work? In Part I of MarketingSherpa's Special, you'll discover: -> Top 7 viral ad tactics how-tos -> What's *not* a viral ad (and what is) -> How to measure viral campaigns Includes exclusive data from 2,431 marketers and viral ad agencies
Part two will contain "a big dose of inspirational creative samples and stories of campaigns that worked". Thanks Justin for the pointer !
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Business 2.0 Article on GM's Fastlane Blog

Interesting article on Business 2.0 about General Motors Fastlane Blog, where GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz started blogging in January:
"This blog was an attempt to get GM more involved in the dialogue and to get people talking to us. We see this as a direct line to enthusiasts, supporters -- and detractors." It's working. The site, which focuses on topics such as GM design, new product launches, and business strategy, averages 4,000 to 5,000 hits per day from people around the world. Those consumers are talking back, and then some: Each posting receives between 60 and 100 comments, a mix of positive and negative reactions to Lutz's thoughts. (...) It's hard not to admire a corporate blog that can spark that kind of passion. Fast Lane works because GM has found the right public voice. Lutz is an auto-industry rock star who, over a 42-year career, has held senior executive positions with GM, Ford (F), and Chrysler. The man can talk the talk because he's a real car guy, not a bean counter from GM's all-powerful finance department, where it grooms top execs. His weekly postings are open, honest, and insightful -- just the kind of stuff that attracts readers. (...) GM is willing to accept and post criticism. Smart move. Nobody wants to read a sanitized blog.
(via Modern Marketing)
Btw, if you are looking for additional background information on GM's blog activities, check out the Hobson & Holtz Report - a really great business podcast ! A couple of weeks ago, they had an 18 minute long interview with the person responsible for GM's blogs - Michael Wiley, Director New Media, GM Communications (here is the Transcript).
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How to crack a $90 Kryptonite Lock with a simple Pen

Looks like a new negative buzz case, like "iPods dirty secret", is developing around Kryptonite's high-end locks. It started last weekend with a posting on Bike-Forums.net:
"As you guys might remember, I recently had the nicest set of wheels I've ever had stolen from me. Today I was hanging out with a friend and we got to talking about that - he said his friend showed him just recently how to open a U-Lock with a ball point pen. Of course I didn't believe it. That is until just thirty seconds ago when I opened my own Kryptonite Evolution 2000 with a bic ball point pen! This has to be the most absurd thing I've ever seen. Try it. Take the end off the pen, jam it in the lock, wiggle around and twist. Please tell everyone you know and make sure they do something about it right away."
When I read about it for the first time, I thought it might be a hoax. But they backed up their claim with video clips and over the week, the story spread quickly through the Blogosphere. Then on Friday the whole thing finally turned into a real PR disaster for Kryptonite, when it ended up in more traditional media outlets like NPR, CNN or the New York Times...
The trick works because the pen has the right diameter and is rigid enough to hold its general shape but pliable enough to mold into a sort of key that opens the lock. Mr. Tobias said the vulnerability of such locks was well known in security circles. "These are cheaply manufactured locks with serious design flaws," he said. "You can't possibly think your bike is safe with one of these locks." The uproar appears to have started on Sunday, when Chris Brennan, a cyclist in San Francisco, posted an urgent message on the bikeforums.net bulletin board after he was able to pop open his lock with a pen. Like many people, he had been skeptical, but doubts were quickly dispelled when users like Mr. Running started posting digital video clips of the trick. By yesterday, 125,000 people had downloaded it from, his site, thirdrate.com, he said. Meanwhile, nearly 170,000 had seen Mr. Brennan's posting, starting a full-fledged panic.
Kryptonite has now reacted and is offering a free upgrade for the defective locks. But the damage has already been done. Seems like the company knew about this problem for quite some time, but did nothing to solve it. Then a single customer puts it in an online forum, weblogs start writing about it and a few days later, millions of people - all over the world ! - can read things like "cheaply manufactured locks with serious design flaws" or "You can't possibly think your bike is safe with one of these locks" describing the most expensive lock brand in the market ! What a nightmare !! I guess, Kryptonite now wishes, it has dealt with this problem a little earlier...
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Beta-7: Sega's Viral Marketing Best Practice wins a Clio

Last month Wieden + Kennedy won a Grand Clio in a new category called Content & Contact with a brilliant campaign for Sega's ESPN NFL Football game. It looks like they used the whole arsenal for this one (from AdWeek):
Disguised as one man's anti-Sega crusade, it was in fact a marketing machine run with military precision and Swiss-like timing. The project involved three Web sites (the original, with posts from the campaign's 24-hour-a-day protagonist, and the two real fan sites that sprung up), viral videos and voicemails, big-time commercials that aired on cable networks, tiny classified ads in places like The Onion, "physical stunting," chat rooms, mail (beta copies of the game were sent to a few testers, then bogus legal letters demanded them back), massive emailings and flier distribution. (...)
They even had a weblog ! If that sounds interesting to you, you might want to check out this 10 minute long documentation (Quicktime, 73.6 MB) about the whole thing !! Impressive...Beta-7 Sega Viral Marketing Campaign
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Jung von Matt/Fleet promotes Coffee Drink K-Fee with (a little bit of) Viral Marketing

Last month German ad agency Jung vonMatt/Flett launched a nice new campaign for the canned coffee drink K-Fee. It consists of a series of nine spots, which all share the same underlying idea... It's really fun to show these clips to other people - especially if you are able to watch them, when the crazy guy at the end scares the living hell out of them... ;-) So obviously, these ads make great viral agents. The agency certainly realized that and made some of them available on the website. But unfortunately they did a lot of mistakes when it came to the online part of the campaign and this will probably prevent these clips from reaching their full viral potential. Here are just a few of them:
  • The start page of the product's website fails to mention that it is possible to download the clips. Instead it asks the user to come back in a few weeks to get the exact time when the ads will be aired on TV !? Sorry, but how dumb is that ?
  • If this doesn't deter you from wanting the clips, you really need Indiana Jones - like qualities to find them, because they are buried deep within the navigational structure: 4 clicks away from the start page (Hint: Don't forget to scroll down after the second click...)
  • If you finally get to the download page, you quickly realize that it doesn't have any Email-to-a-Friend function. To make things worse, it is also not possible to link directly to that page. Why ?
  • On the other hand, the clips don't mention the website at all !? So I guess, a real integration of TV and online media was never really intended.
  • I also think, it's pretty safe to assume that Jung vonMatt/Flett forgot to do any planned seeding for the clips or any tracking of their success (for example through putting hidden HTTP-calls into it). Both vital parts of any viral marketing campaign.
In the end, this looks like just another example for how a brilliant agency, which creates great offline campaigns, totally drops the ball when it comes to digital media. That's really sad, because most of what would have been needed to make this also a great viral marketing case, is already there....
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Interesting Background Information on Volvo's Online Branding Campaign for the new S40

An article on Brand Republic reveals some details about Volvo's recent spoof campaign, which featured a reall village in sweden, where a "strange phenomena" supposedly made everyone buy the same car. Looks like it followed a very elaborate and complex script (via Adrants & Heiko):
"The advertising was backed with a longer version of the documentary featuring interviews with residents of Dalaro talking about the spooky phenomenon. It was supposedly directed by a Venezuelan filmmaker called Carlos Soto. This was backed by a viral campaign directing people towards Soto's personal website where he outlined his suspicions that he was part of a set-up by Volvo. But Volvo has now revealed that it is Spike Jonze, the director of the films 'Being John Malkovich' and 'Adaptation' as well as the legendary Beastie Boys video 'Sabotage', who made the documentary."
Nice Idea - but how successful was it ?
"The Swedish car maker said that hits to the Volvo UK website have more than doubled since the launch of the campaign, and that 435,000 digital viewers of the ad have selected the red button option to view the documentary via interactive TV. Carlos Soto's spoof website has been visited by 77,000 people across Europe and the Volvo Dalaro site has had 440,000 hits, including 96,000 from the UK."
Really an interesting case for how to combine classic advertising with online branding, viral marketing and a lot PR !!
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The iPodrace - Viral Marketing by Accident ?

This one looks like a typical example for viral marketing by accident: probably before Christmas last year, a small German advertising agency created a nice, little Quicktime clip showing Santa riding an iPod - star wars style...ipodraceIt's pretty likely that there was not much traffic coming to this site after Christmas was over. But suddenly last Monday a Norwegian weblog reported about the clip. A few days later it was also mentioned in the de.comp.sys.mac.misc-Newsgroup. Now Technorati clearly shows that people are writing about the iPodrace on weblogs worldwide... I really would like to know, how much traffic this site gets right now and if the creators of the clip have realized what's going on !?
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Ford brings British Viral Marketing Clip to Germany

Using viral marketing to push their products is nothing new for car manufacturers - at least not in Britain or the US. In Germany nobody has really done it yet. But now it seems like Ford is trying to change this. To go viral here, they are using a localized version of last Septembers "pigeon - clip" from the British Evil Twin campaign. First success: yesterday, the German news magazine DER SPIEGEL reported about some pigeon lovers who are appalled by the spot and the disrespect it shows towards poor, innocent pigeons... Although not really new (Ford used this "scandal tactic" in the UK, too), it is still a nice PR job - but only for starters ! So what's next ?? Well, not much, I am afraid. Take a look at the website for the clip - dull, boring, generic - and compare it to the site Ford has build in Britain. Can such a half-hearted approach work ? I hardly doubt it ! Just releasing a nice clip onto the internet isn't enough to make a viral marketing campaign successful. It rather needs an elaborate concept for things like seeding the viral agent or tracking the actual results. To be really successful the clip should lead the viewer to a well designed microsite, which is able to turn a curious random visitor into a profitable customer. A standard, CMS-driven corporate site won't do the trick ! I am also not sure if it is possible to "recycle" old viral agents from other markets in the way Ford is trying to do here. Unlike TV spots, viral clips cannot be contained to a certain country or region. Instead they are being send around the world at internet speed if they are successful. People now will probably yawn at the "new" German clip, because many already saw the English version a few months ago. If this is the case, they won't pass it around, which could mean the end of the viral phase before it really started !! So, nice first try, Ford Germany... but let's hope for a bit more courage and fresh ideas next time... Update: Okay, the online part still looks pathetic, but on the PR side this thing becomes more and more a best practice. Ford was even able to get its "pigeon scandal" into the main German TV news show Tagesschau (Realmedia-Stream). Not bad !!
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