When Viral Marketing Goes Viral

By Trevor Gilbert , written on April 11, 2012

From The News Desk

It looks like there's a new trend in the marketing world, to design advertisements specifically to go viral.

Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.

First, let's look at one that is entirely designed to go viral, featuring "Community" star and "The Soup" host Joel McHale. Nintendo hired McHale to perform in an ad about the Nintendo 3DS. The effort was bold, but it turned out that going viral isn't so easy.

Judge for yourself, but I think we can all agree that the attempt falls on its face for this particular example.

Now contrast that with this video, an ad that TNT put out to advertise that the drama-specializing network is launching in Belgium. The ad is crazy, so just watch it.

As you can see, this ad, while clearly designed to go viral, is one part committed to that specific task, one part hilarious, one part well produced, and topped off with whipped cream and cherry.

Now, extrapolating from these two videos, it's clear that marketers have finally caught up with the viral world. The headline may have given it away, but the actual act of viral videos seems to have gone viral in the marketing world. Of course, designing an ad to manipulate the social world is one thing, but pandering to it is another. One works, the other doesn't. Just look at the page views of the respective videos to see which is which.

[Sidenote: I pretty much wanted to feature that second ad again, because it is freakin' hilarious and I wanted an excuse to watch it again today.]