Advertising is everywhere, where you’re aware of it or not, and marketing and advertising has certainly come a long way in its’ lifetime. With the development of technology, advertising and marketing has developed as well to match that of the currently used product. The recent creation of portable laptops, iPads, tablets, and cell phones with internet capabilities, advertising has now reached all through various forms of social media.
With the development of these devices and social media, so has the concept of viral marketing. Viral marketing is “any marketing technique that induces websites or users to pass on a marketing message to other sites or users, creating a potentially exponential growth in the message’s visibility and effect.” Essentially, viral marketing takes advantage of the immense use of social media nowadays to further translate and transmit their messages, or brand.
There are six types of viral marketing including 1. “Send it” or direct messages to consumers such as a text message, 2. Viral, or Incentive Marketing where a consumer gets money or some type of reward for sharing information with a friend; for example, if you get your friend to download the Lyft App, you yourself will get a $5.00 credit to your account. The third is masked marketing, which takes advantage of consumers curiosity by sending a mysterious or ambiguous message which makes the consumer want to learn more. A store may send you an e-mail with nothing more than a simple line such as “get the best deal of your life today!”-we, as consumers, are curious to find out what this deal is and therefore respond by clinking on the link and visiting the website. The fourth is known as rumor marketing, and one I find particularly interesting because I had never been made aware of this technique before taking my Journalism class this semester. Essentially, we will hear wild, interesting rumors about something or someone involved in a product or service right before it comes out. For example, actors may do something to get everyone talking about them before a movie of them comes out. The fifth is social database which is a service that offers a data base so companies can get contacts and lastly, invitations which are usually from companies like Google.
And now we look at the absolute star of Viral Marketing-Ashton Kutcher.
Originating as an actor in Hollywood, Ashton Kutcher has used his wide public reach to start one of the most important media companies in the United States. Through the use of viral marketing techniques, A+ has become one of the most visited news websites in the world, far passing TMZ and Fox News in monthly visits.
Ashton knew that in order to reach people he had to create noise. He did this first by promoting A+ through his millions of followers and fans he already had. With his 18 million likes on Facebook, along with his 16.7 million Twitter followers, there was already an audience waiting for him. In addition, he used his connections to get other celebrities to endorse his brand. He brought in celebrities such as Lil Wayne, and Nicki Minaj to further spread A+. Among other celebrities, Lil Wayne would tweet links to A+ stories with intriguing captions such as “You don’t see this everyday.”
Ashton was bold in his approach. Originally stating his goal was to tell “stories that make a difference and create positive change“, it quickly changed to wild interesting stories that would get a lot of attention. “Lets put the wild stuff on the wall, let’s do it all, let’s deal with the backlash as we go!” was Kutcher’s attitude, according to one.” was accordingly Ashton’s attitude according to one of his staff members.
Evidently, this attitude led to literal word-for-word plagirization from other news sources, which A+ would copy and post to their site. In August of 2014 the company experimented with a piece of technology “”that would identify content that was going viral from around the web.”” It would then automatically rip the article’s content and put it in a queue to be rewritten by a team of freelancers, before being added to the site.“” However, the last step of the rewrites from freelancers never occurred and instead were posted to A+ exactly as they were found. As a result, the company made headlines, and although it wasn’t positive, they used this news attention to demonstrate that yes, they had made a mistake but they were rebuilding and coming back better than ever-and most importantly they had people talking about them. They brilliantly used viral marketing techniques such as masked marketing, rumor marketing, and of course Ashton Kutcher’s already immense fan base and connections, to create one of the top 50 most popular websites in The United States. And that was in just one year alone. I’m sure there is much more to come.