Friday, September 19, 2008 - The Jennifer Jennings Band - PALATINE, Illinois - Country / Americana / Rock - - The Jennifer Jennings Band - PALATINE, Illinois - Country / Americana / Rock -

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mother's Day Flowers

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Our viral marketing video case study: Mother's Day Flowers

Pre-production: It’s all about a story

It always begins with a goal and a message. Our goal was to create a video that would teach our fellow students about the steps to creating a viral video. We knew it had to teach. Yet, we also understood the ultimate goal of any viral video is to entertain. This is when we realized the importance of subtle selling with exaggerated entertainment.
We determined the best way to illustrate the steps to creating a viral video was to create a hypothetical selling goal. We discussed many options. We had to choose a theme that all members of our audience could relate to. This would encourage our audience to share the video (which is the key to a successful viral video).

Ultimately we chose Mother’s Day as our theme and selling truck-loads of flowers as our subtle sell. Everyone knows a mom and most people recognize the mother’s in their life with a card, an email, or flowers. Our hope was that they would send our email as a part of their greeting.
Make people feel something

Again we had to select captivating images that would maintain the viewer’s attention. Research tells us that the most appealing and relatable image is a child. This was a great fit with our Mother’s Day theme. We decided to ask the children what they like most about their mom. We searched the Web thoroughly and could not find any examples of this idea. And so we proceeded.

We hoped that our audience would feel moved by the sincere expressions of love from the children. We were surprised to hear the children’s responses and decided the video would twist in another direction, humor. In the end, the story was that the young children were honest. Yet, their honesty told the story of the difficulties of being a mom and pleasing everyone. What we found most endearing was the deep sentiment of love that the older respondents had. As we understand that viral marketing is about emotions, we hope we achieved both humor and sentimentality.

Do something unexpected

With our audience and ultimate goal of educating our classmates in mind, we wanted to include something that our classmates would find unexpected and fun. We chose to interview Professor Caywood. His mother was so amazing and his love for her so evident, the juxtaposition became a nice ending to our Mother’s Day story.
Do not try to make advertisements

The homemade quality of the video gave the viewers a feeling of being a voyeur into a private life. Its roughness assured the viewer it was not a sales pitch. With the thought that it was a real viral video for ProFlowers, we purposely held off from mentioning the product or the call to action until the end.

Production: media technology

We created the video with a digital video camera and used Microsoft Movie Maker to edit. The most difficult part of the process was integrating the music crisply, so that it did not spill over onto the next scene.

Make sequels: Never leave people standing with nothing.

We sent the original video out several days before Mother’s Day. However, we found that some of the children were difficult to understand. So, we added subtitles to clarify the video and to incorporate additional humor. It also served as a sequel and an additional reminder of Mother’s Day.

Allow Sharing, downloading and embedding
We posted the video onto YouTube and to our blog It will also be viewed in a Second Life tour. We welcome sharing, downloading and embedding. We encourage comments and have responded to all of them. Access was not restricted in the least.


Using YouTube and Google Video to publish a series of short videos, we can measure the number of times they were viewed, the ranking or rating of the viral video, how many click-troughs were generated, and how many site visitors converted to subscribers, etc. At the time this was written, we had over 500 viewers and a five-star rating. The video was shared all over the world including such countries as Ireland, England, China and Korea.

Our competition

Although we conducted a search for a mother’s day viral video that was created by a flower company, we found none. Yet, when we went to post our video we discovered 1-800-flowers did create a Mother’s Day themed viral video. At first we were disappointed that our idea was not more original. Upon viewing their video, we were encouraged. It reinforced our message even more: The key to a successful viral video is subtle selling with exaggerated entertainment.

The 1-800-flowers video was poorly executed. The photography was clearly done by an expert (it lacked the homemade feel). They guided the children by asking them to compare their mother’s to flowers, a completely unnatural request. The result was forced answers that were not humorous or moving. The setting is a sterile computer lab and the company logo appears throughout the video in the lower right-hand corner (reminding the viewers it’s a commercial and they are being sold to). Just when you thought it could not get worse, the CEO ends the video with “Kids, I couldn’t have said it better myself.” It was a commercial from the beginning to the end and it lacked any of the qualities of a successful viral marketing video.

1-800-Flowers - A horrible example of viral marketing

What is Viral Marketing

The term “Viral marketing” refers to how people pass on and share interesting and entertaining content via the internet. Viral commercials often take the form of funny video clips, or interactive Flash games, an advergame, images and even text. It’s been noted that viral marketing is popular because of the ease of executing a marketing campaign, relative low-cost (in comparison to direct mail), excellent and precise targeting that leads to the high and rapid response rate. The main strength of viral marketing is its ability to obtain a large number of interested people at low cost. Through the use of the internet and the effects of e-mail or internet advertising, the business-to-customer efforts have a greater impact than many other tools of marketing.

Viral marketing is a technique that avoids the annoyance of spam mail. This in turn encourages users to tell a friend of a particular product or services, which serves as highly effective word-of mouth advertising.

Researchers are convinced that this concept is a viable and effective marketing tool. There’s proof to backup their claims. Apparently the brain makes decisions in just a 20th of a second of viewing a webpage, confirms a study, published in the journal Behavior and Information. According to statistics, recreational Internet surfing has overtaken television as the largest recreational activity. Apparently, by the end of this year it is estimated that more than 6 billion people will be using the Internet. Note that it took more than 50 years for television to get to this point. It’s certainly an innovative medium that has captured the interest of the person searching for answers behind a PC,and the individual hoping to score with a marketing strategy.

YouTube and other distribution channels
One of the greatest ‘vessels’ of the viral marketing concept is without a doubt YouTube, a popular free video sharing website that utilizes AdobeFlash technology to display video and allows users to upload, view and share video clips.

After one year in business, YouTube was acquired for approximately $1.65 by Google. YouTube is now receiving more traffic than MySpace, and Ebay combined. This is certainly a testament to the growth of video and its viral nature. The wide varietyof site content includes movie, television clips and movie videos, as well as amateur content such as video blogging. The company was named TIME magazine’s “Invention of the Year” for 2006.

What is Viral Video

According to Wikipedia, viral video is video clip content which gains widespread popularity through the process of the Internet shared typically through email or IM messages, blogs and other media sharing websites. Viral videos are often humorous. There are millions of short video clips on the web, produced by amateurs and professionals. The amateurs publish videos for fun and professional publish their clips to drive traffic to their websites and to sell more of their products or services. With the introduction of the latest camera phones technology, this means that many videos shot these days are done by consumers on these devices. Cheap video editing and publishing tools allow video shot on mobile phones to be edited and distributed virally both on the web, by email and between phones by Bluetooth.

How effective are viral videos at driving traffic?

Video clips are used to generate click-throughs and subscriptions. Videos ranging in length and promotional content are placed on video sharing sites like YouTube and Google Video. The Video specifies a URL, indicating that there’s a website that may be interesting or relevant to the viewer. A link is also provided on the same page as the video, which potentially drives traffic back to the main Website. Videos can be sorted into various categories such as Personal Blog (global issues, spirituality, current events) and Comedy (spoofs, skits, celebrity parody), to mention but a few.

The intention is not to produce a professional looking video that you’d expect from an advertising agency, instead in many instances, video clips are shot in an "amateurish" way and carries though a very ‘unprofessional’ image in their approach and production. This is done deliberately as a professional image would most definitely inhibit the viral potential of videos and set the videos apart from the ‘ordinary’ videos created by individuals on the web. A point worth mentioning is that although promotional, viral videos normally do not contain a sales message, there may be product placement or a sales pitch on a landing page.

Note that entertaining or provocative videos can quickly become viral, being shared by tens or even hundreds of thousands of viewers, most of them connected through online social networks. However, it is important to understand the nature of the environment in which video clips are most widely distributed and shared. If you simply add a video clip to your site or blog, and to YouTube, you will be taking advantage of only a small fraction of the opportunity that exists. In the same way that you optimize your web sites and blogs for the major search engines like Google, Yahoo! and MSN, you also have to optimize the presentation of your video clips in order to be found through searches within social network community sites.