Last week, we discussed an engaging and captivating topic from our week 3 readings: Viral Marketing ‘Two hearts in three-quarter time: How to waltz the social media/viral marketing dance,’ by Andreas M. Kaplan and Michael Haenlein.
The authors illustrate how viral marketing utilizes social media, videos, and other person-to-person methods to rapidly spread information about a product or service instead of using the traditional marketing methods e.g. radio, newsletters and television advertisements.
What is Viral Marketing?
Viral marketing refers to something going viral, spreading at a rapid pace and extensively from one person to another. Many businesses are using social media platforms to produce exponential increase in brand awareness as this method proves to be a more cost effective and efficient way in comparison to traditional marketing.
Word-of-mouth (WoM) is articulated online and reaches a large network at a rapid speed, substantially influencing customer attitudes and behaviours to a particular brand, product or service. This can be highly beneficial for a business or can damage their reputation. Depending on the content that’s gone viral and how consumers reacted will determine on how a business will respond appropriately.
Over the last 10 years there has been a major shift from traditional marketing as society is being inundated with new technology such as smartphones, tablets, applications and more. With so many new ways to market products and services reaching a broad audience instantly and being accessible for consumers to purchase or interact at anytime has created the need for society wanting to always be “up to date” with all the latest products and services (Kaplan and Haenlein 2011).
There are three factors that can impact a viral marketing campaign:
- The Messenger: Choosing the best way to execute an ordinary message into a viral one e.g. social hubs, market mavens and salespeople.
- The Message: Making the message memorable and sufficiently interesting enough so it’s passed onto others infectiously.
- The Environment: The right time is critical for a successful viral marketing campaign and its crucial for the timing and context of the campaign launch to be right.
An example of Kaplan and Haenlein (2011) Triumphs for a successful viral marketing execution was Burger King creating a new Facebook application titled Whopper Sacrifice.
Burger King decided to use Facebook as a social media platform to promote their whopper burger. The task was to unfriend 10 Facebook friendships in order to receive coupon for a free Whopper. Users had download the “Whopper Sacrifice” on their Facebook profile and will then receive the coupon once 10 friends have been sacrificed.
Over 200,000 people participated in deleting their friends in the first week of the “Whopper Sacrifice” campaign. Burger King used slogans like “Now is the time to put your fair-weather Web friendships to the test”. Ultimately, once you’ve deleted your 10 friends for a free whopper it will show up in their activity feed on Facebook saying “Vanessa sacrificed John Smith for a free Whopper”.
I believe this is a fantastic and interactive campaign for Burger King as it went viral fast and entices people to come into Burger King to try their whopper burger. Creating more awareness of their brand and offering a sample for consumers to come back wanting more.
BURGER KING: WHOPPER SACRIFICE FACEBOOK CAMPAIGN