Youtube – Best and Worst Viral Advertisements

With the rapid growth of the internet, and particularly ‘Youtube’, the ‘Promotional Mix’ among many organisations has become distorted towards online advertising. Not only is this cheaper than T.V, given the long-term decline of television advertising and infinite life-span of online content, it may actually prove to be more effective. Also, unlike with television advertising, the advertisement can be delivered to the consumer through various media channels – like social networking and emails. But viral advertising is not fool-proof; given the uncertainty over fast-paced technological change, viral advertising requires more creativity and skill to be successful.

Although not an advertisement from a business, Gordon Brown’s speech, above, posted onto Youtube shows perfectly how easy it is to fail at viral marketing, even when simply trying to marginally boost PR. Firstly, it is in no way, shape or form creative or innovative – it is simply Gordon Brown talking for a few minutes; although this cannot be done thorugh traditional T.V advertising, that does not mean its ok to do it online. In fact, viewers are more likely short-termist when using the internet. Furthermore, it undermines the viewers’ intellect by assuming they can be easily won-over, which in fact makes them even more resistent to the marketing objective. Lastly, the message lacks production value: for instance, Gordon Brown’s smile was infamously fake, there is a generic setting and Brown makes several mistakes. This is a common fault among viral advertising – just because it is a cheap medium, does not mean it can be exploited without investing time or resources.

However, when done professionally, Youtube can produce some amazing viral advertisements – for instance, EA Sports’s above. The key to it success? exploiting innovation. Only through an online advertising channel can a major company respond to an individual consumer, which, as it can allow consumers to voice their opinions can often be a double-edged sword. Such an approach just is simply not possible with other media outlets. Moreover, contrasting Gordon Brown’s message, there are stella production values: celebrity endorsements, special effects and straight-to-the-point focus. EA Sports have recognised that, to reach a particularly young online viewer, using the correct advertising medium is not enough, there needs to be a large commitment, even to achieve small PR tactical gains that are only peripheral to the long-term marketing vision.

Ultimately, despite the relatively simple aim of viral advertising, the short-term tactics to produce that given aim are in fact complex. Creativity is paramount.

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