Monday, November 8, 2010

Design Studies: Airwalk, Virals - And An Afro Ninja

As I chose to go more deeply into the Airwalk Case Study section of the book, and as I had quite a keen interest in that field of advertising anyway - here is my related poster in response to the first part of Assignment 2, as documented in my "Design Studies: Storms a' Brewin'" post.

After our brainstorm and subsequent discussion afterwards, I looked more deeply into what starts of a word-of-mouth type viral advert. Firstly, to explain, a viral advert is an advert that does not necessarily depict the product to which it intends to sell, however gains popularity for it's funny/interesting/off the wall content. Via this, it gains momentum - often these days through the internet, and subsequently acquires  attention and publicity for the related (or quite often non related) product - thus selling high quantites as a result. Bingo! Easy really...

Well. The issues (as Airwalk and Lambesis found out) can be that it is very difficult to kick start something like that. I included an example of a successful Airwalk advert in a previous post. 

These days the world is littered with YouTube "stars" - off the top of my head I can name at least 10:

and most recently: Bed Intruder Song

Out of all of these my favourite is still Dramatic Look .

Now I am not for one second saying any of the above are talented, or indeed entertaining (well maybe a few) but for one reason or another they gained notoriety, thus becoming an "internet phenomenon". People often parody these, which although can also be entertaining, only add to the original's popularity all the more. These are exactly the types of things advertisers aim to replicate in order to gain publicity for their products. A few notable examples of this are:

 - with follow up Eyebrows Ad

None of the above have any examples of the product, they purely feed off entertainment. They do however, come in more forms other than video marketing. There have been Viral Ad Campaigns in the form of various other media, such as promotional games, websites, images, and obviously videos laced throughout the internet, which then are picked up on by unsuspecting viewers. Subtlety is also an issue, as sometimes it works in a brands favour to allow it to seem like an unrelated source, to which it builds up and is released as the advert. Clever, huh? 

Time is another aspect to which is crucial in making these work. For example, websites that are only online for a set length of time, with for example a count-down timer to release etc. builds interest as it is limited - you have to get on quick to know whats going on. This works well for films. Websites that are quirky and unusual are also known to be successful - such as which tests BlendTec's blending power - by blending whichever product the public request. Engaging the public works well, as if the status of the advert is to progress, people are often enticed to return to catch up with the latest. 

Alternate Reality Games (ARG's) have also been used numerous times as viral adverts in order to promote several things, however they often relate to film and video game release. Cloverfields - which was released in 2008, had clues throughout their trailer that you had to work your way through their sister ARG at

I've linked in the trailer and related ARG site - so feel free to have a go!

I could honestly talk about this aspect of adverts for hours, but I shan't bore you all with my endless examples I have come across in my time. As viral ad's are not restricted to displaying or conveying the product in question it is entirely possible to use these as a way to attract attention to your project/company. Throwing boxes and boxes and boxes of stickers of your company's logo from above Times Square for example would work in the same way - aim attract confused attention. People immediately question what is going on and as we are inquisitive creatures, approach the commotion to find out what it's all about. I would however of course suggest contacting the local related authorities before clambering up the sides of buildings in the name of advertising.

So thats it really. Cause a stir, a commotion, a ruckus - and people will come flooding.

And well, the rest is history I guess! As easy as that!


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