In Class Launch
Use after Unit 1, Lesson 11
Viral marketing works like this: An organization wants to get the word out about something or increase awareness of something. They share a message (like an image, video, or interactive tool) with a certain number of people and make it easy for people to share the message with their friends.
Ask students to think of examples of viral marketing campaigns that they have noticed. We aren’t allowed to include external links in these materials, so we recommend doing an internet search for “examples of successful viral marketing campaigns” ahead of time so that you have some ideas. Consider showing an appropriate video to the class that is a good example of a viral marketing campaign. Here are some examples of viral marketing campaigns:
- the Metro Trains Melbourne “Dumb Ways to Die” public safety video campaign
- the Ice Bucket Challenge (raised money for ALS research)
- the #NoMakeupSelfie and #Movember (raised money for cancer research)
- “the truth” anti-smoking campaign conducted flash mob events and then shared video of the events on social media
Display these questions for all to see. Give students a few minutes to think quietly, and then invite a few students to share their response:
- Why do you think it is called “viral” marketing?
- Why would an organization want to use viral marketing?
- Viruses (the kind that make people sick) spread when those with the virus come into contact with those who do not yet have the virus. Then those people come into contact with more new people, and on and on. Viruses that are easily transmitted from one person to another (like influenza or ebola) are dangerous, especially in places where lots of people live close together, because many people can become sick over a relatively short period of time. It’s called “viral” marketing because the message is like a virus that people spread by sharing the message with new people, and then those people share it with other new people, and on and on.
- Advertising is expensive. That is, it costs a lot of money for an organization to place their message where people will see it. When viral marketing works, the organization only has to pay for a small number of people to initially see it. Then, they rely on these people sharing it with their friends and those people sharing it with their friends. So, many people end up seeing the message but the organization only has to pay to produce the message (e.g., designing the graphics, producing a video, etc.) and transmit the message to that relatively small, initial number.