Viral marketing is essentially the “word of mouth” spread of a marketing message by an organisation through the use of some sort of media – typically it is shared through online social media such as You Tube, Facebook or Twitter, but it could also be text messages or email. Using video or something interactive is the most common vehicle for the campaign and it must be entertaining. It will be targeted at a particular market who are likely to share it with others because of it’s amusement value (not because of the brand or message).
Developing the right viral campaign is a bit of an art because you have to be careful not to make it too manufactured, it needs to be genuinely funny and the brand or message involved has to be visible but not dominating – potentially the more outrageous and cheeky it is the more success you will have. People will either love it or hate it – but that’s OK, so long as it gets exposure.
How can tourism use it? Very creatively hopefully! This is a superb way to create interest in a destination or particular tourism product in a different and memorable way. A couple of current examples of viral marketing campaigns for New Zealand tourism organisations are:
Air New Zealand – Who Would You Spoon?
A funny video featuring comedian Di Henwood with the campaign centred on the Air New Zeland Facebook page. They have even produced a Facebook application for the spooning campaign so fans can select some of their friends to spoon and enter a competition to win a weekend away…the marketing message for this campaign? It’s all about their new Economy Skycouch which allows passengers to lie down during flight to sleep, and presumably spoon if travelling with a close friend…
Destination Northland – Northland For
A clever couple of videos have been produced and placed on YouTube with the star of the show being the likeable Bazza from Oz. Targeted at Australians to visit Northland, these 2 videos (A language Guide and an Outdoor Guide) are being spread virally through You Tube, Facebook and Twitter. Bazza has his own Facebook page and Twitter account so you can follow his travels through Northland.