Viral marketing continues to vex plenty of big brands who don't seem to understand that merely having a "viral" campaign (or just saying
your campaign is viral) won't make it successful. The WSJ has a nice post on one recent viral miss
from Trident gum for a new product that is supposed to strengthen and rebuild teeth. The campaign involved fake web videos being exposed as fake on a fake TV show -- a concept which sounds much more confusing than compelling. But perhaps the problem is that the company and its marketers went into the exercise set on creating a viral campaign, and treated it as such, even trying to seed it by sending emails to dental hygienists and posting in online dental forums. Compare that to the comments from the creator of some of Burger King's successful viral campaigns
, like the Subservient Chicken: "People go into brainstorming viral, and you can’t go into it with that intention. What you can go into it with, though, is the idea of making a great ad. If you do make a great ad, people will talk about it. The viral part will sort of be a consequence." Marketers have to understand that, perhaps even more so than in other types of ads, the content of viral campaigns has to be able to stand on its own as content
. The focus has to be on making great content; if the content sucks, all the viral intentions in the world won't help.