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31 Jul 2009

Viral Videos: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

How valuable is traffic to you? Let’s say, hypothetically, you received a million visitors to your site in a couple days. Could you benefit? Your answer is likely a resounding, YES! One of the avenues businesses are exploring to accomplish this feat is through the aid of viral video marketing

Recently Evian’s "Roller Babies" commercial was released with both US and UK versions, yielding 15 million+ views collectively on YouTube….in less than a month. With proper planning, marketing, and development they created an internet sensation. Their "Live Young" campaign has been a hit, and their dedicated website to this campaign is already a PR 3.



Businesses can profit from videos they don’t even produce or submit! Today on YouTube’s Biz Blog they mentioned the infamous "JK Wedding Entrance Dance" that has exploded on the web and the successes seen since the viral video’s launch on July 19th. They reported that the song featured in the video, Chris Brown’s "Forever", was claimed by the rights holders and utilized for monetization purposes. They placed Click-to-Buy links over the video, leading viewers to iTunes and Amazon to purchase the track. This has translated to a #4 spot on the iTunes singles chart and a #3 spot on Amazon’s best selling MP3 list, over a year after the songs original debut. By the way, the JK video has received over 12 million views in 11 days.



Businesses can also be hurt by viral videos, which is why brand management is so important. Take for example Dave Carroll’s video, "United Breaks Guitars". One day after the video was released United contacted Mr. Carroll, but it was too late. Within a short four days he had over a million views on YouTube, had the video featured on CNN, and had over 19,000 blog mentions. In this time span he successfully changed the SERPs for "United Airlines" in Google, taking over 7 of the first page slots.



Carroll and his band are said to be profiting quite nicely from the publicity received on the video, and others have taken advantage of the video as well. Worth noting is what Taylor Quality Guitars decided to do. They provided a video response to Carroll’s video, hopping on the bandwagon and receiving 100,000 views just simply by expressing their concern and giving a plug to their site that provides guitar travel care.

As you can see there are many good, bad, and ugly repercussions in regards to viral videos and many lessons to learn from the above videos. 1) Have good brand management, 2) content truly is king, and 3) unique ideas can and will flourish on the internet.

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