The campaign became successful and viral with over 17 million people participating in the challenge worldwide. Many celebrities including Bill Gates, George W. Bush, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, Mark Zuckerberg, Rihanna, Tim Cook, Rafael Nadal, and Cristiano Ronaldo took part in the challenge. Below video shows the Ice Bucket Challenge taken by Bill Gates:
Takes advantage of other resources. The most creative viral marketing plans use other resources to get the word out. Affiliate programs, for example, place text or graphic links on other websites. Authors who give away free articles, seek to position their articles on other web pages. A news release can be picked up by hundreds of periodicals and form the basis of articles seen by hundreds of thousands of readers. Now someone else’s newsprint or web page is relaying your marketing message. Someone else’s resources are depleted rather than your own.
A short study of this web site reveals that a hugely important factor for success in startup companies is finding ways to acquire customers at a low cost. In the Business Models section, we looked at the perfect business model: Viral customer acquisition with good monetization. However viral growth turns out to be an elusive goal, and only a very small number of companies actually achieve true viral growth.
The introduction of social media has caused a change how viral marketing is used and the speed at which information is spread and users interact. This has prompted many companies to use social media as a way to market themselves and their products, with Elsamari Botha and Mignon Reyneke stating that viral messages are "playing an increasingly important role in influencing and shifting public opinion on corporate reputations, brands, and products as well as political parties and public personalities to name but a few."
Bob Gerstley was among the first to write about algorithms designed to identify people with high "social networking potential." Gerstley employed SNP algorithms in quantitative marketing research. In 2004, the concept of the alpha user was coined to indicate that it had now become possible to identify the focal members of any viral campaign, the "hubs" who were most influential. Alpha users could be targeted for advertising purposes most accurately in mobile phone networks, due to their personal nature.
Exploits common motivations and behaviors. Clever viral marketing plans take advantage of common human motivations. What proliferated “Netscape Now” buttons in the early days of the web? The desire to be cool. Greed drives people. So does the hunger to be popular, loved, and understood. The resulting urge to communicate produces millions of websites and billions of email messages. Design a marketing strategy that builds on common motivations and behaviors for its transmission, and you have a winner.
Old Spice is still the king of viral marketing with its humorous and out-of-the-box ad campaigns. It came out with its brand character, the Old Spice man who appeared in “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign in 2010. The Old Spice man Isaiah Mustafa created a stir with his ad, which was created to appeal to the female audience and give a subtle message to men to buy Old Spice. The ad video got amazing positive reviews and YouTube views, garnering more than 54 million views to date on YouTube.
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Among the first to write about viral marketing on the Internet was the media critic Doug Rushkoff. The assumption is that if such an advertisement reaches a "susceptible" user, that user becomes "infected" (i.e., accepts the idea) and shares the idea with others "infecting them", in the viral analogy's terms. As long as each infected user shares the idea with more than one susceptible user on average (i.e., the basic reproductive rate is greater than one—the standard in epidemiology for qualifying something as an epidemic), the number of infected users grows according to an exponential curve. Of course, the marketing campaign may be successful even if the message spreads more slowly, if this user-to-user sharing is sustained by other forms of marketing communications, such as public relations or advertising.