Viral Ads and Coke’s Big Game Ad Campaign

I can’t tell you the number of marketing and business plans I’ve read that say something like “Insert viral video here.”  Viral is hard.  Even people who have had viral success may not have had it on the first try, or on subsequent tries.  One viral video does not another make. Viral is tough, nay impossible to plan for.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t add the elements of viral success to your marketing plans.  Let’s look at something like Coke’s new Big Game Ad Campaign — it’s got a lot of good elements to help it “go viral.”

The campaign is a variation on the Choose Your Own Adventure books we read as kids.  A man and a camel in the desert see a giant Coke bottle shimmering in the distance.  As they start off in that direction, they are overtaken by three groups, a busload of showgirls, a group of cowboys and “The Badlanders” (Mad Max/Mel knock-offs.)  The giant Coke turns out to be a sign – 50 miles ahead.  Who will get there first?  You decide.  Vote and share.

  • Give people the means to easily share your content.  This campaign has well placed share buttons — Facebook and Twitter, and in multiple places. Make it easy with pre-populated buttons but don’t be too heavy handed.  (I could edit the tweet and the Facebook update.)
  • Give people a reason to share your content.  Aside from the engaging (OK, silly) material, you get points in your My Coke Rewards account if you share.  The entire campaign is built into the My Coke Rewards platform.
  • Make it interactive.  Give people something to do! Even if it is just clicking on videos, clicking on buttons to vote and sharing.  In this case, you are voting to decide the ending of the commercial during the Super Bowl.  Pretty cool.
  • Have a ready-made community.  One place this campaign is being rolled out is in the My Coke Rewards community.  Brand fans lurk around every corner here.  (The Coke Rewards program gives you points redeemable for prizes when you enter codes from bottles caps.  Just beware, if you let it go too long between visits your points evaporate.)
  • Add some surprises.  In this campaign, evidently there are ways to sabotage the “other guys.”  A series of clips show the delays you can throw at the teams you didn’t select.
  • Have partners.  Coke incorporates Domino’s Pizza into some of the sabotage clips, and  has additional offers you can access through the campaign.  Get more groups/people involved. Even if the other groups aren’t involved in promoting it, they are still signaling that this is “popular.”  (We’re all really still middle schoolers at heart.)

(As of this posting, the basic video has been viewed more than 444,000 times.  Check it out…how many when you read this?)

P.S. Why couldn’t I vote for the guy and his camel…they saw it first.  Give them the win!