Video virals are the rage. It’s easy to find a viral video definition; it’s much harder to figure out how to get onto the list of viral videos of the year. But a blog posting today tells how one company made the now famous reconstruction of the “Miracle on the Hudson” water landing join the list of video virals. If you love viral marketing and aspire to see your video join a list of viral videos of the year, this is a must read article.
First, here's a viral video definition from...
Wikipedia.org. “A viral video is a video clip that gains widespread popularity through the process of Internet sharing, typically through email or Instant Messaging, bogs and other media sharing web sites.” These are often humorous clips, sometimes from television shows such as Saturday Night Live. It’s interesting that this viral video definition places most of its emphasis on new media. Yet the makers of the Hudson River water landing reconstruction video found success through more traditional methods: beer and the Wall Street Journal.
This viral video started simply enough: a company that produces graphics for the legal industry needed something that could draw attention to their booth at a tradeshow. Inspired by Sully Sullenberger’s now famous water landing, they decided to create a video reconstruction. However, since they didn’t know anyone attending the show, they decided to hold a Superbowl party in their hotel. One staff member searched Twitter.com for references to the show and invited people to the party. While only 15 people showed up, these people collectively had thousands of twitter followers and they spread the word. So far, the company had spent only $50 for beer.
The company spoke to perhaps 900 people at the show and about 15,000 people viewed the video on Youtube.com. Initially, word of the video spread via email and twitter, but that’s not how it went mainstream. My favorite quote from the article is “Most people, most normal people, don’t have twitter, or watch YouTube. But journalists do.” His point is not that journalists—and others on twitter and YouTube—are abnormal, but that the majority of the population still finds out about things through traditional media. In this case, it joined the viral video list after it was mentioned in the Wall Street Journal and on cable TV news. Within a week, it had been viewed more than 1 million times.
Perhaps the key viral marketing message here is that traditional media is still very important. But an equally important learning is “although about two million people have now viewed the video, we’ve only had a dozen or so serious leads.” At the end of the day, it’s not the number of eyeballs that are important, but the number of people that buy the product.