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Virals: let the creative do the talking

Blog
08 October 2010

As a producer, and from a purely indulgent perspective, virals are incredibly satisfying to create. There is no other channel where you can so tangibly measure success and literally spend hours reading what the global audience thinks of your work.

But they also represent a great creative opportunity – not only does this constantly evolving medium provide an exciting and stimulating working environment, but in order to truly ‘go viral’, the focus must be on entertainment and too much messaging can’t be allowed to compromise its appeal. In essence, most of the shackles are off.

But what’s in it for brands? A viral that is inspired by a genuine understanding of its audience and is true to the values and qualities of a brand can cut through the clutter of traditional marketing and capture hearts and minds.

Successful virals do far more than create awareness; by creating a talking point they join the conversation, requiring people to invest part of themselves and consequently encourage a relationship between brand and individual – something which traditional commercials struggle to achieve.

And the way they spread, through a kind of digital word of mouth, means they reach their audience in a highly credible and therefore valuable way (providing earned rather than paid media). Furthermore, seeding can provide a targeted audience and the ROI can be genuinely measured, allowing you to see who is sharing your viral and what they have to say about it.

Thousands of virals are loaded up every month, so brands clearly get that there is an opportunity. However, the vast majority disappear without a trace or worse create a negative brand experience. Brands must realise that, in order to capture hearts and minds and inspire a passionate following, virals must have great creative at their heart.

This fast evolving format has gone beyond shock and sleaze in order to make an impact. It is those brands which are prepared to be brave and let the creative do the talking that will have the opportunity to create a truly successful brand experience.

Adam Norris is VP, head of moving image, at Jack Morton

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