Sure, Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up has turned into an online phenomena, viewed more than 12 million times. But how did it get there?
Razorfish has launched a new patented slice of code that can track the exact paths things take when they go viral online. Think of it as a GPS tracking system for your message, monitoring movement online from generation 1 to 2 to 35 and mapping the key social influencers within the web most helpful in distribution. For example, the recent JC Penney doghouse ad sent a jewelry promo via video to millions of guys who usually buy stupid presents for their wives or girlfriends. It was funny. We got it from our father-in-law and laughed. But how does JC Penney know how important we are in the chain or how many friends we sent it to ourselves?
The Razorfish Incrementing Action Tag solves this by tracing a family tree for every person beneath you, just like your future children, who downloads and passes along your communication gene. The tag uses an anonymous cookie on the computer and does not capture user personal information; but marketers can pinpoint clusters of behavior inside the viral dissemination — you know, the cool kid in Des Moines who at contact level 4 suddenly made your message reach 10 million people.
Based on this knowledge, you can then fire your marketing director, hire the cool kid from Iowa, and use him to advertise in the future for free. Or something like that. Anyway, Razorfish, nicely done.
Yesterday visiting the blog of Shiv Singh, über-strategy dude for Avenue A | Razorfish, we admired a new viral campaign they had launched for Intel’s microprocessor the Core i7. Viral marketing gets a lot of unjustified buzz, frankly because it’s damn hard to pull off, but Singh & Co are seeding their campaign with a contest asking gamers and designers to race each other.
Clever, we thought. Razorfish is stroking the egos of hardcore computer users who view themselves as experts. We’re not gamers or designers, but even we felt the itch to climb aboard this contest and strut. If seeding a viral campaign requires first engaging thousands of key influencers, this might work.
JC Penney strikes a similar chord with a men-are-dogs theme that cracks up any guy who’s bought his spouse an orange juicer machine. (Just sayin’.) The video tossed around the web links back to a microsite Bewareofthedoghouse.com, which in turn has what you expect — funny scenarios of men in hot water, what to do when you’re there, and how to get out. Climbing out, of course, means buying sweet expensive presents from JC Penney.
If you are trying to go viral, the first step is engaging people with relevant content. You can’t reach the masses unless you tempt the first round of contacts to grab your material and launch it through their networks. Egos and guilt are two ways to get noticed. Just whatever you do, don’t get these campaigns confused and buy your wife a hot gaming computer with an Intel i7 processor chip. Trust us — we’ve seen the doghouse.
(JC Penney tip via Bob Weekes.)