5 Viral Marketing Examples That Will Inspire Your Marketing

Going viral can happen by accident, or it can be strategically planned by forward-thinking marketing professionals looking to boost the reach of a particular brand. Viral marketing can be important for your business because it’s essentially free advertising. 

You can’t always predict what the internet is going to grab onto and run with, but you can help make sure your content is prepared for the ride. In this article we are going to dive into the science behind going viral, talk about ways to make your content more susceptible to virality, and discuss 5 viral marketing examples that will inspire your marketing. 

What is the Science Behind Going Viral?
Viral Marketing Example 1: Dove Real Beauty Sketches
Viral Marketing Example 2: Always “Like a GIrl” Campaign
Viral Marketing Example 3: Dollar Shave Club
Viral Marketing Example 4: Budweiser “Someone Waits for You at Home” Video
Viral Marketing Example 5: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Conclusion

What is the Science Behind Going Viral?

While going viral doesn’t typically happen for most brands, there are a few tactics for increasing your chances of having your content to go viral.

Tactics for Going Viral
Buzz marketing techniques
Create something that people will want to show their friends
Advertise in a way that is different from your competition
Play to people’s emotions

Buzz marketing is a marketing strategy that uses viral content to create word-of-mouth marketing that spreads like wildfire. The idea behind buzz marketing is to have consumers circulating the content for the brand, whether through news articles, blogs, or on social media.

Recommended Reading: What is Buzz Marketing? Strategies and Examples

The second tactic behind the science of going viral is to create something that is worthy of people wanting to show their friends. Whether it’s funny, clever, or pulls at your heartstrings, your audience has to want to show this content to their friends. If it’s not engaging enough to want to share with others, then it’s not engaging enough to go viral. 

Another important aspect of creating content designed to go viral is to do something different than your competition. When it comes to your advertisements, be creative in the types of ads you create, the platforms you publish them on, and the content of the ads. Making your advertisements unique in and of themselves is one way to help them go viral.

Recommended Reading: The Best Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

Viral Marketing Example 1: Dove Real Beauty Sketches 

The Dove Real Beauty Sketch campaign employed a forensic sketch artist who would draw two different sketches of the same person. One sketch was drawn in the way people would describe themselves, and the other sketch was drawn in the way that an acquaintance would describe that other person. 

viral marketing examples
(viral marketing )

The result was an emotional sensation, showing how harshly people view themselves compared to the favorable way strangers view each other. The campaign video has more than 69 million views on YouTube, and the campaign received more than 4 billion media impressions. 

The campaign was so successful because it played to people’s emotions and was worthy of sharing with friends. This viral marketing campaign is one of the many reasons consumers associate the Dove brand with self-love and body positivity. Not only was it viral, it also landed as the brand intended it to. 

Viral Marketing Example 2: Always “Like a Girl” Campaign

The video expertly shows the different way older generations, boys, and men view the concept of doing something “like a girl.” The video then shows a younger generation of women, around 10 years old, doing things “like a girl,” but in a completely different way. The younger generation is running quickly and throwing fiercely, while the older generation is not. 

viral marketing examples

The video has more than 69 million views and was successful in solidifying Always a brand that empowers women. The campaign was successful in going viral because they looked at creating an advertisement that was completely different from its competition in every sense.

Viral Marketing Example 3: Dollar Shave Club

Our third viral marketing example that will inspire your marketing is a great example of how smaller brands can use this technique. Dollar Shave Club produced a relatively inexpensive video to help launch their brand. This bluntly hilarious video got straight to the point of explaining what makes Dollar Shave Club different and better than its competitors. 

viral marketing examples

Recommended Reading: 7 Guerilla Marketing Examples That Will Shock You

Dollar Shave Club’s YouTube video garnered more than 27 million views, and the brand’s website crashed multiple times after the ad was published due, and they gained 12,000 new subscribers in 48 hours. When combining cleverness, creativity, and humor, a simple product video can become a viral sensation. 

Viral Marketing Example 4: Budweiser “Someone Waits for You at Home” Video

Budweiser pivoted their previously spicy commercial tactics to create a video that sparked an emotional response in people. Their viral commercial showed a young man bonding with his puppy as they both grew older together and ended with the notion that his owner might not return home safely after a night of drinking. 

viral marketing examples

Budweiser understands that many people feel strongly that their dog is truly a member of their family, and they used this concept to elicit a strong emotional response about the dangers of drinking and driving. This campaign was successful in going viral because it used a topic that pulls on people’s heartstrings almost unequivocally: dogs. 

Viral Marketing Example 5: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

If you were on social media in 2014, you are most likely familiar with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. This viral fundraising sensation was created to raise awareness and funding for the ALS Association. Participants had to dump an ice-cold bucket of water over their heads, donate to the cause, and nominate three people to do the same in less than 24 hours. 

viral marketing examples

The sense of urgency, obligation to nominate three more people, and video component to the challenge contributed to its virality. Participants posted funny videos of their pained reactions to the ice-cold water, playing on the emotions of participants and the desire to share the content with friends. 

Celebrities like Bill Gates, Tom Cruise (pictured above), and Cristiano Ronaldo participated. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a viral success. It raised more than 11 million dollars for the ALS Association, which was more than ten times the donations they received the previous year. . 

Conclusion

While going viral might seem like a longshot for your brand, the techniques discussed in this article are designed to help increase the likelihood of your content going viral. We hope that reviewing these 5 inspiring examples of viral marketing will help inspire some creative ideas for your next viral campaign.