Use Viral Marketing like Batman’s Utility Belt
A lot of people hear about stuff going “viral” on the web. What does that mean though? Why do videos, images, stories go viral? Is it good when something goes viral, or is it bad like a virus? Although the term “Viral Marketing” is derived from this negative biological entity, it can be a very useful and innovative tool for a business.
Viral marketing is the a technique utilized by business to increase brand awareness, sales, or recognition through the use of self-replicating or self-promoting content through word of mouth or the sharing capabilities of the internet. We’ve all seen some of the most iconic YouTube videos such as David after Dentist or Miss Teen USA 2007, or the Saturday Night Live Classic D*$% in a Box. These videos can be great for publicity, but they most likely were not originally created to go viral. For a business, it’s no easy task to create content that will spread through the interwebs like these videos but the reward is truly great if you succeed.
Warner Brothers was innovative in the viral marketing campaign for their 2008 summer blockbuster tent pole The Dark Knight as they played off of the titular character the Joker and the agent of chaos he was. Their goal was to increase hype, awareness, and excitement for the movie by getting their target market involved in rallies, collecting prizes, and going on hunts in real life cities. Here you can see an overview of the “Why So Serious” campaign.
- Can you implement some of these tactics for your business?
- Does this spark any ideas for viral marketing tactics that haven’t been used before?
This viral marketing campaign helped The Dark Knight become one of the highest grossing movies of all time and it still resides in the top 5. It’s no surprise that as the follow up The Dark Knight Rises is about to hit theaters on July 20th, Warner Brothers has again began to implement their viral marketing techniques. Being an avid fanboy, I have been following their efforts with a keen eye. Yes WB has the usual partnerships with companies like Mountain Dew, but they have put together a very in depth website with promotional capabilities. The DewGothamCity.com site is asking their fans to engage with their site in many ways. Users can enter codes found on mountain dew products to unlock secret content in the Batcave section of the site, to collect badges, submit entries into sweepstakes, and can even customize their own virtual Batmobile. They don’t offer just one reason for people to come back, but many different aspects that appeal to people.
Warner Brothers has developed some newer tactics as well to get people involved and ready for the movie, including online games, interactive in-theater displays, and even a virtual Gotham newspaper.
- The online video game is simple enough for kids and aligns itself with the story of the movie. You can find it at TheFireRises.com and you log in using facebook. If you level up all the way you get to add Catwoman to your team.
- The interactive theater displays allow you to record a message in the voice of Batman, Bane, or Catwoman and share the message with your social media.
- The Gotham newspaper has helped connect the story from the last movie to the current one as well as hint at upcoming stories and sub-plots for the movie (RykinData.com).
Will these viral marketing tactics increase the awareness and excitement for the new Batman movie? It’s hard to tell as my awareness and excitement for the movie has been maxed out for 4 years. I know there are a ton of kids that might not be as aware of the new movie though, and these viral tactics surely reach them. It’s a good bet they will be dragging their parents out to the theater come July 20th for the final chapter in this Batman trilogy. I think Warner Brothers will again end up very satisfied with the results of this viral marketing campaign.
Viral marketing has become increasingly popular and useful as the technique has gotten more thoroughly established. It’s not just for big business studios either, there are many ways to utilize these techniques with small to medium businesses as well. Do you think this can be a new tactic for your business? Bring viral marketing ideas into your next big marketing meeting and you might get some much deserved praise. Please tweet and share this article, it would be awesome if this this went viral too.
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