One of my biggest professional pet peeves is the misuse of the term “viral.” While we can strategize on how to ignite sharing and viral-ability through compelling content, we can’t just say “let’s make a viral video” and go with it. Today I just might eat, or should I say drink, my words. SmartWater made a video of spokesperson Jennifer Aniston that is all about getting her to make a “viral video.” It brings in some of the latest YouTube phenoms like Keenan Cahill and old school tricks that have been known to generate high views – the stuff that tends to make it on Tosh.0 – like cute animals, babies behaving badly and of course, the money shot.
While it just went live this morning and hasn’t reached “viral” status yet, it is definitely on its way there. I posted it on my personal Facebook page and within minutes, several others had shared the same link. That said, my positioning on making a viral video remains the same. If it goes viral, it won’t be because they used the term viral in the content. SmartWater used the right talent and a clever strategy to optimize visibility for the video. Why did it make me want to share it? It was fresh, funny and a little risky for the brand at the same time.
One more important thing to consider – even if it is a “viral” success, will it move the needle for SmartWater or simply get visibility for the brand that dies off in a day or so? I guess we’ll have to wait for their next move…
Special thanks to Jim Sias for the link!