2. Poke have launched a super thing for Orange. It's a never ending webpage. But more than that it's beautiful, good fun and they've been very clever about the sharing aspect. It's really easy to share (promote, pass round) the site on Facebook, blogs and emails.
1. Belle Du Jour's Facebook Profile(not sure if these Facebook links will work) Belle Du Jour is the pseudonym for the author of Secret Diary Of A Call Girl, the TV series, of the book, that started as a blog, so Facebook makes a natural addition. Belle has a profile on Facebook (obviously I can't be sure it's actually one person and not ITV's marketing department) but it's updated regularly and it's feels authentic and unsanitised.
The little status updates are fun and there's some attention to detail in the Info bits. It's not just a profile, there's a funny little application called FantasyMatch too.
They also previewed the TV series a week early online (although they don't support Mac).
All very simple, all on brand, all effortless and all OK. All good things.
2. National Theatre Facebook Profiles The National Theatre have a whole series of profiles on Facebook; NT London, NT Watch This Space and New Connections. I love these. Social Networking feels like the perfect place for Arts organisations to be and this is simple, cost effective (you know, almost free) useful and unobtrusive.
Add NT London as a friend and every now and then you see a little status update like, "NT is unbelievably excited about War Horse opening on Tuesday. And even more unbelievably, we're offering £5 tickets for the show next week!"
That's a nice, friendly thing, isn't it?
And it's updated frequently, which is key, and they also post videos and reviews and do special Facebook offers. Very simple, very unintrusive and very good.
4. Simpsons Character Generator There isn't a blogger in the land who hasn't heard about this, but I wanted to add it because it's a really good example of when the blindingly obvious is often the right thing to do.
It also helps that it's very well executed. Painstaking attention to detail.
It's a game created by Chevron and The Economist. It's a bit like Sims, you decide which fuel sources to use to power your little city and the game projects what might happen over the next few years. You then modify your decisions as the game goes on.
Again it's very simple, the illustrations are very nice, I learned something and I didn't have to register with my birth weight to play. Simple, well executed, good. City Of Sound talks about Energyville here.
I just heard this on the TV and it seemed to make so much sense. If people stopped thinking of viral as... well, whatever they think of it as... and started thinking of it as just a distribution channel, then everything would be better. Wouldn't it?
We do lots of virals here. We've even won awards for them.
Clients quite often want a viral campaign. If they ask for one and they haven't had one before we normally tell them 3 golden rules. I'd like to share them with you.
1. A viral is not a video that gets emailed round. Technically that could be a viral, but starting from that point isn't viral.
A true viral campaign is an idea that has a life of its own and spreads in the same way a virus does, prolifically and exponentially. Email is an obvious way to do this, but it doesn't have to be email it just has to spread. Take Google for example, it spread virally - yes word of mouth, yes email, yes PR etc.
2. Virals need to be funny, rude or useful. Very funny, very rude or very useful. Web 2.0 useful.
Rude - the trick here is to do stuff you can't do on TV. So swear, show nudity, offend people, all the stuff you wouldn't normally do. You'd be surprised how reluctant people are to be rude. Britishness I suppose.
Funny - remember that being funny is very, very difficult. Ricky Gervais is funny and Steve Coogan is not. Disagree with me? Agree with me? Then you understand the problem.
3. Virals need to be simple. Simple, simple, simple.
You can't say to your mate in the pub, "It's kinda like this but not like this and a little bit like that and..." You can say, "it's called WinWorldCupTickets.com".
So why am I writing all this now? Well yesterday I saw a good example of a viral campaign and it reminded me of a bad viral campaign for the same sector.
Good Viral - Zootube Zoo is a watered down Maxim is a watered down Playboy is a watered down Razzle. Zoo are currently running a TV ad that says, 'our boss gave us £10k to make an ad but instead of doing that we thought we'd hire Keeley and film her underwear shopping.' (Keeley is a model, Page 3 style.)
Ignore the obvious problems (what sort of ad would £10k get you, you're doing an ad anyway silly etc) and you've got a great viral effect. The average Zoo customer will think - going against the boss, going against corporate, model, underwear, tits. Brilliant.
All we need now is a catchy url. How does Zootube.co.uk sound? See how simple that is?
Rude (or rather stuff you can't do on TV) = topless model
Funny = zootube.co.uk and men with camera and topless model in underwear shop
Zootube actually uses You Tube to display videos. There's a blog and you can watching the making of the video and other delights such as strip crazy golf and the Zoo chaps flying a fighter jet - you get the idea.
On brand, correctly targeted, uses the medium properly. A good viral.
Bad Viral - (judge for yourself)
Now here's a bad one. Same audience, practically same mag, certainly same content, it's simple (tick) it's rude (breasts = tick) but it's just not as clever. You can judge it for yourself.