« What creatives should learn from a media test | Main| No, we're not becoming a semi-weekly show »

August 26, 2005

When is viral not really viral?

One of SHS' favorite reporters is a fellow by the name of Gregg Cebrzynski from Nation's Restaurant BoxshotNews.  This week, he wrote about the trend of viral marketing in the restaurant industry.  Of course, he cited Coq Roq but he also mentioned a new "viral" site for the burger chain  Fuddruckers.  It seems you can feed your cravings for beef with the new Beef Relief patch.

What we at American Copywriter -- or more specifically -- Neil at AC is wondering is this: Are these sites even viral anymore?  Both Coq Roq and Beef Relief, while funny and entertaining (well at least Coq Roq is) clearly don't attempt to hide the parent company who is really behind either site.  And that makes me less inclined to forward along to my friends.  That would be like me forwarding a commercial to my friends.  And I'm not going to do that.

The article also quotes a couple of marketing execs from major fast feeders who feel that within the next four years non-traditional media spending will outpace traditional. We can all agree with that.  But are those execs really going to spend the money and energy on a non-branded site that truly has the potential to be viral sometime down the road but doesn't offer any immediate payoff or coupon download?  With every ad dollar being scrutinized as to how it is spent, I'm going to say, no.

And here's another problem that Cebrzynski points out at the end of his column.  "As more viral sites crowd the Internet, marketers will have to deal with a traditional problem: cutting through the clutter to make their sites stand out from all the rest." 

Outside of a handul of marketers, most companies seem to be throwing anything up online just to claim they have a viral site.  Has viral jumped the shark?  You tell me the next time your friend sends you a link to that wacky, hilarious viral site, Shrimp Buddy.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference When is viral not really viral?:



Old Navy is doing it too. Not food but hey.

The Old Navy spots were directed by our new friends The Perlorian Brothers. The make-a-movie viral I thought was pretty damn cool and, to Neil's point, still somethng worth remarking on and sharing.

The comments to this entry are closed.

The Latest Podcast

Ad Age Power 150

As Heard On

Radio Talent Zoo


Audio Comments

Record a comment from your computer right now. Be pithy.


Recent Comments

Podcasting Links

Sites of Note

Talent Zoo Column

Everything I need to know about advertising I learned from Star Wars