Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Onion - Not Trying to Be Viral - Just Doing It

Consistently better comedy than you'll find on TV - and now it's coming to TV January 21st on IFC, the Independent Film Channel. Hope that doesn't kill the mojo.

It's like Mad Magazine for adults, The Onion almost always does great humor, the kind you pass around to friends, making it....oh what's that word everyone wants to be...ah yes, VIRAL! But too many marketers don't understand that you can't just "make" a viral item, be it a video, cartoon, image or whatever. It has to have a reason to be viral, like humor or thought or intrigue. And all too often someone's idea of what should be viral is not the public's idea. If you try too hard you won't succeed. Remember that old phrase they tried to kick to the curb, "Content is King?" It's true.

There are agencies out there that will claim they can create viral buzz for your brand. Most of the time, they can get all their employees to tweet and blog about something they did for your brand, and they might bump you up the Digg rankings, but in the end a media push gets sniffed out and people don't fall for it. Here's a guy writing a column about how to create a viral buzz. The first commenter comes along and nails it: viral just happens, you don't create it. Yeah, that's what I said.

See below for a good example of what could be viral, at least for a two-day stretch in late November in the US.

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