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iSnack2.0? I say call it iSpreadIt2.0 – the viral spread. #vegefail

September 29, 2009

If I hear the word ‘viral’ again I may have to consciously go and contract a virus so that I may curl up and die. Ok, perhaps I’m being slightly melodramatic….

Everyone I speak to wants their video to ‘go viral’. Back in my day, you’d ask the cute girl’s best friend if she wanted to ‘go steady’ with you. Now the kid in the playground SMS’s their friend a message saying how much they like the cute girl. The kid knows full well that the ‘friend’ can’t keep a secret and has a ‘quick finger’ (aka a postmodern big mouth). The apparent friend then forwards the message to their friend and so on. Before you know it the kid is now ‘going viral’ with the cute girl. They never meet behind the school playground for a pash – how eek! They might contract a virus! Instead they link up on facebook and announce that they are now in a relationship with each other – and all without even saying a word to each other.

How the hell does the above anecdote relate to Kraft and their naming of the new Vegemite as iSnack2.0 you may well ask? Well, it doesn’t entirely……

(A quick note to those non-Australians reading this: Vegemite is the black tar spread that Aussies love to lather on their toast for breakfast. Most non-Australians tend to want to throw up or have other similar reactions to its taste. But for generation after generation, it has been a staple, so much so that everyone in Australia knows it happy little jingle, ‘We’re happy little Vegemites, as bright as bright can be, we all enjoy our Vegemite for breakfast, lunch and tea’)

So Kraft ran a competition to decide on the name of their new spread that basically combines Vegemite and cheese in the same jar. (Brilliant – why has anyone thought of this earlier? Nothing like a bit of processed cheese mixed in with Vegemite. I’m already drooling.) Out of some 40,000 entries they chose the new name iSnack2.0.

Within hours Twitter and the usual social media suspects were inundated with disgusted responses to the name. Some commentators claimed it was a conscious decision to get free publicity. Either way, I hate it too – the whole iPod name ripoff has gone waaay too far. It’s not even like the product is a snack – it’s a spread. That’s why I’m calling for it to be renamed iSpreadIt2.0 – it’s a spread, and it’s gone viral. Or more simply:

iSpreadIt2.0 – the world’s first viral spread.

In digital media, it’s always got to be ‘the world’s first’.

Which actually leads me to finally make a point – the apparent ‘viral’ phenomenon is nothing more than the overuse of a word. If you truly want something to go viral, follow a couple of simple rules:

1. Make great content.
2. Make content that people will react to – either in a positive or negative way. The key factor is to provoke a reaction. People share information when it provokes a strong emotional response in them.
3. Stop trying to make something viral. Make something great and then use the broad range of new tools such as social media and online video networks to spread your content.
4. Forget one-off gimmick videos: If you really want to create a message that will stay in people’s minds for longer than the one second it takes to click away from your content – start thinking about engaging episodic content.
5. Don’t limit yourself to one platform or type of medium – blogs, video, websites are all packages of information – try combining them to tell your message. Investigate other ideas such as ARG’s, games, microsites, augmented reality or a combination of all of them etc.
6. Don’t forget about the real world – the best way to make a long lasting message is to make content that reflects and engages people in the real world.

And who knows, you may well be the world’s next great online viral, sounds charming doesn’t it? And if all else fails, at least you’ll have made something you’re proud of.

One Comment leave one →
  1. roselinke permalink
    September 30, 2009 5:44 am

    great take on viral marketing. you might like this story over at the naming & branding blog ‘on the button.’ have a look:

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