A lesson in viral marketing

by James Duthie on July 18, 2011

I must say, when a client tells me that they want to create a viral campaign, my first reaction is to cringe. Viral marketing is an incredibly risky proposition, and for every hit there tends to be 99 misses. But that doesn't mean I can't appreciate a good viral campaign when I see it, especially when it's produced locally. So when Arthur Koulianos sent me the MyCarBudget case study I thought it was definitely worth featuring. What I like about the campaign is the fact that they've created an entertaining piece of branded content that has accrued over 125,000 views for what is essentially a boring product. First, take a look at the video, and then check out Arthur's commentary on how they went about creating the campaign…

 

Arthur's commentary

MyCarBudget is a product launched by FleetPartners earlier this year. It is essentially an employee benefit that we market to medium to large employers that can then be offered to their staff/employees. It provides an easy way to budget for the cost of your car expenses as well as access great savings on fuel, roadside assistance, servicing and tyres.

The sale process with these types of programs initially happens at the employer level (HR) and once approved, the bigger task of marketing to employees begins. The challenge with marketing within an employer environment is getting cut through. Whilst it might seem that you have a captive audience, in fact having employees read an email or a poster/flyer or even attend a presentation is quite difficult. If you think about the amount of material and information that passes your desk or work area in a given day it can be significant. In a white collar environment, the emails, paper and screens that you see all day mean most things just blend in. In a blue collar environment access to communication is really limited to breaks (tea and lunch).

Therefore our challenge was to develop something that could get cut through. We wanted it to be digital so that it could be viewed at work or at home. It didn't need to talk about the product but it needed to have a vehicle flavour to it. We also wanted it to generate discussion within the workplace, so that once the other material came around (email, posters, flyers and invites to a presentation) employees were more likely to read it. Finally we wanted it to have the potential to go viral.
 
We used a company called Snapper Screen Productions to create the video for us. They presented a few concepts and this is the one that looked to have the biggest impact. It was shot in Melbourne (near Queen Victoria Market). Within a day of the shooting, one of the extras had posted excerpts on YouTube "Day in the Life of an Extra". On seeing this we thought why not have it go viral.

The idea with going viral is really about generating leads and building some brand awareness. We started with distributing it to staff (our staff) and allowing them to have YouTube access for two weeks so that they could view it and send it on. We posted it via our Facebook and Twitter accounts. We also sent it to as many online vehicle magazines as we could find (all over the English speaking world).

The biggest impact came when we employed Rippling Media to help us. The video has been posted on several video sites and through the various video syndication networks that they are connected with.
 
The challenge now is to focus on local Australian viewing, as this is where any relevant leads will come from. Developing a "non corporate" video is a first for FleetPartners. Wanting it to go viral also raised a few eyebrows. Personally I think video can be very powerful in explaining complex stories and I hope our work can be used with other products that are offered.

We do have plans for a part 2…

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pligg.com
July 28, 2011 at 6:14 pm

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Catherine @ Affiliate Marketers College July 19, 2011 at 6:07 am

Hi James,
Well I have to say it – the guy in this video is like my husband on a bad day! lol. Very clever. I’m glad I wasn’t at the Vic markets on that day – Can’t wait for part 2!
Wouldn’t we all in internet marketing love a viral video!
Thanks
Regards
Catherine

James Duthie July 19, 2011 at 9:03 am

Remind me to never get on the bad side of your husband Catherine!

Arthur K July 20, 2011 at 1:24 am

The actor they found for the video was ideal, he was also quite a character on the day. In fact he actually did some of the stunts himself (not all). As an update the video has actually achieved close to 1 million views (across a few video platforms), so as an exercise it has been great for us and certainly gives us something interesting to talk about when we launch at employer sites.

James Duthie July 20, 2011 at 6:42 am

So the burning question is Arthur… did the actor actually do the body slam himself? :)

Art July 21, 2011 at 8:16 am

Interesting viral video. A bit aggressive, but I think that is what holds the viewers attention. Anything extreme has a good chance of going viral. Take for instance the guys that started "Jackass". Extreme was their ticket to creating millions online and through movies. Looking forward to seeing part 2.

Arthur K July 21, 2011 at 11:25 pm

He climbed the truck (we had a few takes of this scene) and that was all. The big stunts where performed by a professional.

Online Marketing July 30, 2011 at 5:02 pm

I agree with you that It is essentially an employee benefit that you market to medium to large employers………
 
Thanks,

Eugene Feldman October 19, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Wow,thats a cute short video!
Hope to see more of that…

Paving Canberra July 27, 2012 at 12:38 pm

The video is good, but I think it's a bit too agressive. I agree that extreme things tend to go viral very quick, but they also tend to get many dislikes. In my oppinion, a little extremeness is ok, but all has its limit.

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