New Media for Viral Marketing

February 26, 2009

Viral marketing can be defined as a technique that encourages people to pass along a marketing message with the aim to create a potentially exponential growth in the visibility of the message and generates word-of-mouth marketing. This method relies on snowball system distribution that is characterised by a high pass-along rate between individuals. The overall growth is strongly linked to the amount of recipients and the percentage of those who forward the message to a large number of friends.

New media deliver a variety of great technology for viral marketing, given the immense speed a message can be delivered and spread around the globe.  Social networks and communities are an especially welcome target for such campaigns, due to their user concentration and information exchange rates.

In the area of B2C this strategy is often applied by start-up businesses in order to create awareness and build their corporate image. However, given the high degree of competition and creativity out there it is very difficult to succeed with such a campaign.

A prime example for the successful viral marketing application is the free web mail service Hotmail, now provided and owned by Microsoft. Each time a message is sent, Hotmail promotes its corporate commercials in the e-mail notes of the user.

Another way of viral marketing was provided by Nike in 2006. They broadcast the football legend Ronaldiño trying on a new pair of trainers and delivering an absolutely fantastic showcase of football tricks. At this time the clip has 27,496,830 views on YouTube and despite how old the video is, there are still discussions going on about it. In my case, the latest post for that video was 32 seconds ago.


Blogstorm present a top 10 ten list of viral marketing campaigns where the Nike clip takes the leading position.

Cadbury’s are another organisation that are very successful with their campaigns for “Diary Milk” chocolates which listed as made by “A Glass and a Half Full Productions“. In reality Cadbury’s success is due to London based agency Fallon, who have done an exceptionally great job in marketing the brand. I suppose we all know the clip in which a gorilla hits the drums with such incredible passion with Phil Colins’ song In the Air Tonight (this song has been deleted form the video due to  Copyright reasons by the way. Nevertheless, the clip is now available in various other remix versions, implemented by creative non-corporate individuals). The currently new clip of Cadbury’s shows two children with freaky eyebrow moves. Initially broadcasted on TV the clip now enjoys rapid distribution on the World Wide Web and currently has 2,282,533 views.


Not only businesses know the true promise of viral marketing, but also individuals use it in order to increase their success. The British op singer Lily Allen produced a spoof of the Cadbury’s adverts that was shown on Channel 4. It is also posted on YouTube and has currently 587,106 views since the 9th of February 2009 (see video).

The inspirational comedian Judson Laipply hit the mark with promoting his show case “The Evolution of Dance”, an incredible achievement. With reference to Readwriteweb in 2007 his video was the most viewed one on YouTube and in 2008 it still reached the second position. Right now it lists 114,755,890 views. In his context, new media and social networks helped him to make his career worldwide.



  1. exactly..social networking is the easiest way companies have to reach large audience without spending much..word of mouth is a great tool for any company whether its large or small..

  2. Love the Ronaldinho clip. I’ve seen it go around a few times and each time is just as good as the last. Tap into something the masses love and you’re onto a winner. Not able to view it on the website mind you.

  3. I love the ronaldinho clip. There are a few reasons i think this clip has worked so well. Firstly, you have one of the most talented footballers in the world (past his best now), then you have the fact that it does not feel like an ad and lastly, it raises questions, how many goes did it take, is it even genuine? These questions make it even more desirable to send to a friend. Its the sort of thing guys at work would talk about on their fag break.

  4. I completely agree with all of you – it’s an impressive way to spread a message. It also shows, that it’s not necessary to spend millions on a high-tech advertising campaign…a simple amateur video can make the job as well!

  5. Wow, that Nike video looks very impressive and I also like the “evolution of dance” I haven’t seen it before! Maybe that is because I am only starting to browse around on the web! It is very interessting to see what the power of social networks can achieve.

  6. the impression of the simple amatuer video has even more advantages than only the fact, that it reduces the production costs of advertising to a minimum! it gives the product an authentic touch to it, even though (in the nike clip) the shoes play a secondary role >> Rolandinho totally steals them the show!! However, the feeling of something being real is totally what our generation is seeking for (don’t we all watch stupid reality shows??). I’m even asking myself, if we belong to a generation that has lost its believe in messages communicated through tv, internet, advertising,..? It seems as if were (desperatly?) trying to bring some realness back into this fake market which was brought to us by new media. for me it’s all about credibility! maybe viral marketing is the right strategy to bring it back..

  7. I can’t believe, first time I saw Ronaldinho’s video was around 20M, the number has grown massively. He plays OK, not as good as me though. Nike has managed to engage their audience and more they have built a strong community around their brand.

  8. thanks, your article is very informative. : )

  9. great post!
    your post about viral marketing acutally reminds me of the epic “epic 2014” flash movie, released in november 2004.


    evolution of dance is awesome! i’m gonna post it on my facebook-profile
    what a surprise… =)

  10. by the way: I have never seen the “Diary Milk” clip before but it did remind of a crazy art project I have seen before on youtube.

    in this clip the movements are for real!! check it out..

  11. […] Media and Brands « New Media for Viral Marketing How to Succeed with Viral Marketing? March 5, 2009 As already discussed in my previous […]

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