Quality & Originality: The Keys To Viral Success

A turd isn’t viral. One of the mistakes that most people make when promoting viral content is that the material isn’t viral, they are putting out lackluster, half-baked turd-like content in order to be “social.”  That’s not how social media works.

What do I mean? Well, generally you get results that equal the amount of time you put into something. This works for business, relationships, fitness and of course,viral marketing.  Too often you will find a Top 5 list or a handful of stolen pictures in a “viral” content push. Those are fine, but expect results that match your 15-30 minutes of effort.

Do an experiment with your next viral campaign and instead of your next top 10 list, turn it into a top 100, add an awesome twist that resonates with the Internet community — just do something that hasn’t been done before and do the pants off it.

A few recent examples came out and really made me think “Wow, this is a brilliant idea” and I wanted to share them to hopefully inspire some people.


In case you haven’t heard of the band OK Go before, they got popular on the Internet and landed a record deal. What you may not have known is that after landing that record deal, they opted to split with major record labels a few months ago over embedding issues and created their own independent label to give it a whirl on their own. They have always had great success promoting their quality music through outstanding videos and thought they could continue on their own which brings us to their newest video, ‘End Love“:

YouTube Preview Image

Clearly this video is more than just good, it is the very definition of viral. Are you thinking about tweeting this now? Did you IM this to your friend already? Will you like it on Facebook? Does it deserve a link? The answers are all yes.

Now what was the real production costs of this? Time and effort. And as much as you may sit there saying “I could do that!” … you didn’t. OKGo is going to continue their success due to their creativity, music and most importantly their work ethic and commitment to quality.

Bros Icing Bros

Recently, the worst (or best?) drinking game “Bros Icing Bros” took the country by storm thanks to a website (currently on hiatus) BrosIcingBros.com that built a superhuman presence. Basically, the premise of the game played off the “Jersey Shore” and ”Douchebag” mania that is rampant across the country and mixes in a Smirnoff brand product. The rules are simple and can be performed by anyone of age:

  • If someone sneaks you a Smirnoff Ice, you have to drink it
  • If you counter with a Smirnoff Ice it is an “Ice Block” and the original “icer” has to drink theirs

That’s it. There is currently a debate raging on this viral promotion as to whether it was it was corporate or not, but the verdict is still out.

Bros Icing Bros

Photo Credit: Flickr/Dennis Crowley

Due to the simplistic rules, pop culture tie-ins, amazing name, and excellent web presence this fad is sweeping the nation. Rappers are getting iced. Bands are getting iced. There are petitions to ice Ashton Kutcher. Even Mark Zuckerburg is icing bros. In a quote from the New York Times, a vendor stated “It started last week. People buying Smirnoff Ice like crazy.”

The site was shut down last week along with all of the other social accounts. No word on why has surfaced yet, but the website featured different categories of bros getting iced, including celebrities, attire, an upload section along with huge social presences on Facebook and Twitter that were updated regularly. User generated content was an integral part of the site and each photo was watermarked with the URL. The maintenance and effort behind the site was one of the main reasons that this meme really became so viral. Even if the website stays down, the meme is still thriving.

Whether or not Smirnoff was behind this or not, this is an amazing viral example that really caters to a very niche audience, is a lot of fun for people to watch and is fun to be a part of (as long as you weren’t getting iced, bro.)

So if you are truly looking to put together something viral, find out what the community likes and really commit to put in as much effort as is required and you may soon be influencing the very trends and content that the social masses will consume. That is, unless you want to stick to the easier route of turd-creation.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Search & Social


About The Author: is the Chief Marketing Officer for Cypress North, a company that specializes in social media and search marketing services and web-based application development. He has been in the Internet marketing industry for 6+ years and specializes in Social Media Marketing. You can also find Greg on Twitter (@gregfinn) or LinkedIn.

Connect with the author via: Email


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  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com George Michie

    Great post, Greg. The old rule: crap in => crap out applies to social media efforts in spades. And, anytime you can use “turd” in a sentence, you probably should :-)

  • Greg Finn

    Thanks George! I was debating my choice of words to describe bad content, but really wanted to emphasize my point and it fit quite well :P

  • senthiledp

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