Companies strive to create viral campaigns. Achieving high exposure towards your product launch or brand across all social media platforms is all a company wishes for. With great popularity comes several opinions and marketers can not control the reaction of viewers or their comments towards it. Therefore marketers must influence and shape consumer discussion through their campaign, and ensure that it resonates with the brand’s image and the organisation’s mission.
With the numerous tactics organisations use to make a campaign go viral, there seem to be 7 consistent steps that are followed in order to achieve great success (click the link for a detailed description). The public has seen that even by following these steps, a campaign could have a completely different meaning to the viewers than that of the company. There have been many marketing campaign fails, which the majority of the public will be very aware of. The one campaign that sticks out immediately would be the Pepsi advertisement featuring the one and only Kendall Jenner. This campaign caused such a controversy that Pepsi Global removed the advertisement from the public, but the damage was already done. The most frightening part of potentially creating a viral campaign is that when it is taken the wrong way, the talk about it will spread like wildfire across many social media platforms. As the use of online media increases, the electronic word of mouth (eWOM) moves faster and gains a greater reach than traditional WOM (WOM+Exponential growth = Viral marketing – Kaplan & Haenlein 2011). Pepsi had to apologise for the content of the advert (that’s how you know the level of exposure this received).
What was supposed to be a campaign of people of all different cultures coming together by sharing a Pepsi, drastically turned into something different, sparking people’s interests in creating (memes) some content of their own, to add to the conversation (they’re actually hilarious).
The Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC), should be utilised in conjunction with digital media, as this ensures that the message is coherent, consistent with the brand image and complementary. The message should be clear and concise and ultimately link with the company’s culture (shared values and beliefs), so that marketers do not spark a negative outrage similar to what Pepsi encountered. It is sometimes difficult to depict the reaction of the public hence marketers must acknowledge that it is out of their control.
With all this being said, there are many advantages to online campaigns and not all of them went viral for the wrong reason. Through the correct use of integrated marketing a crosswalk will be established linking online marketing approaches to that of a more traditional method of marketing. There have been many successful online marketing campaigns , one of which went viral on YouTube and gathered over 66 million views (and counting), this was the #LikeAGirl campaign. This organisation (Always) helps boost confidence in females, especially during times of puberty. This video gained a lot of attention and ultimately communicated an empowering message that linked strongly with their organisation.
Do not always believe that virality is the greatest form of success.