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The Art of Going Viral

The Art of Going Viral

Viral: The word itself has practically gone viral these days. But what is “Viral Marketing”? How does one create a surefire viral video these days?

In truth, there is a nearly limitless supply of incredible content on the internet these days. Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Imgur and countless other websites play host to millions of great ideas every day. There are select few items that go viral, so much so that it is on everyone’s lips within days of being shared. While it is nearly impossible to dictate what will go viral, there are ways to make sure your idea gets the attention it deserves.

There is a law, Metcalfe’s Law, which calculates the value of a network. Essentially, the network effect says that the value of each potential sharer is proportional to the number of individuals he or she can connect to. This is important for marketers because by creating and joining strong networks, they are given opportunity to see incredible Return on Investment through the use of viral marketing. Though there is cost associated with promoting content, the ROI on a truly viral video or photo will outweigh the cost exponentially.

There are two key ideas to see content go viral:

1. The content must be worthy of going viral.

2. The content must be shared on a wide range of strong networks to reap the benefits of these networks.


Are you truly desperate to create content that will go viral? Your content should meet at least one, if not more, of the below criteria:


1. It makes people stop and think.

2. It is different or isn’t something that mainstream media would generally cover.

3. It agrees with most people’s world view.

4. People will smile when they see it.

5. It contains drama.

6. It is embarrassing.

7. It’s sexy (though still safe for work)

8. It is incredible or simply unbelievable.

9. It gets in touch with people’s emotions.

10. It is down right hysterical.

Here are some examples of some outstanding Viral Marketing campaigns in recent history.


Old Spice.


Old Spice started a campaign a few years back that touched on many of the key ingredients to viral success: It made people smile, it was sexy, it was different from typical advertising and it was incredibly funny. With the success of these commercials, Old Spice continued to make new, original content, including these outrageous commercials with Terry Crews.


Old spice continues to enjoy great viral success to this day with their marketing and has brought a fresh face to their product that has the attention of a new generation.


This past Holiday Season, WestJet created a video that turned into a viral sensation. Watch the video if you haven’t yet seen it.


This powerful video also contained many of the above criteria. It made people stop and think, it was different and had not been done before, people smiled when they saw it, it contained drama, it was truly incredible and got in touch with the emotions of everyone that saw it. This was easily the most talked about video this past holiday season.


So there you have it. You’re well on your way to creating your very own viral content. Don’t be upset if your video isn’t viewed by 10 million people in one week, there is no true formula to becoming a viral sensation. Though with some effort and some luck, who knows what you can accomplish.

We’ll leave you with this week’s most viral video. Enjoy Hero Cat!



Does it Matter if Celebrity Charity is a PR Stunt Or Genuine?

Does it Matter if Celebrity Charity is a PR Stunt Or Genuine?

By: Eve Bembridge

Tracing the virtual footsteps of celebrity social media users is no new phenomenon – the past few years have seen a revolution of free press with all its tints and shades exposed, with millions of followers flocking to the tweets of their favourite stars as well as emerging sensations gaining their own mass of fans. Yet whether it’s a savvy partnership of Google and multiple services such as YouTube capitalizing on publicity and celebrity or Twitter’s latest mass of uploaded selfies, the ever-changing world of media has been fixated not only on the tabloid-esque tales of scandal but on the “do-good” aspect of the world’s most famous, bringing into question a series of ethics.

Altruistic Facade or Genuine Ethos?

After her rapidly rising status as accomplished A-lister, most-desirable woman and garnering a reputation for adopting multiple children, Angelina Jolie has become famous for her ambassador work for the United Nations as well as other charities and organizations covering issues across the globe. A passionate advocate for women’s health and education as well as producing her own creative ventures which deal with some of these issues, she has worked with some of the world’s most prominent political figures and activists in her endeavours.

Yet despite Jolie’s efforts, celebrity involvement in political and social issues is regarded with scepticism – many believe that celebrities are pushing their own PR, and that while they donate considerable amounts of money to charity, they still return to gleaming mansions at the end of the day (this isn’t to say that Jolie’s work isn’t genuine, but other celebrities have often been sent into climates where they are not well-schooled in the actual environment at hand). Disclosing another startling perspective, Monte Burke and William P. Barrett question the efficiency of celebrity-influenced charities, noting how a considerable amount of the money goes toward the overhead alone. “Celebrity foundations that use sports fundraising are often among the least efficient,” they suggest – implying that celebrities actually probably have little oversight into how their own ventures may be run.

Raising Awareness

Yet without a doubt, celebrities have shaped the charity PR circuit considerably, despite how limited or extensive their actual hands on work might be – whether it’s Leonardo Dicaprio and the World Wildlife Fund fighting for tigers or the human rights activism of George Clooney, dubbed by Look to the Stars as “one of the most charitable hearts in Hollywood.” In fact, fronting a charity seems to benefit the charity more than the celeb to some degree, and this arises from both positive and negative circumstances. Celebrities have drawn attention, advertently and inadvertently, by raising the profile of their circumstances. Toronto-based actress Lisa Ray – known for prominent roles in films such as Deepa Mehta’s Waterruns “The Yellow Diaries” on her website, a community where cancer sufferers and survivors can seek solidarity with one another. Created after being diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare cancer which causes white blood cells to produce antibodies, Ray has fought to spread awareness about the illness as well as research to provide healthy alternative treatments. Ray’s journey has been one of genuine courage and compassion, which has definitely helped to raise the profile of this often devastating disease.

Tragically, sometimes this awareness comes when it is too late, but in its wake comes, once again, a greater understanding or at least an opening up of dialogue about the issue. Vancouver-born Glee star Cory Monteith’s death became the latest in a series of celebrity deaths related to substance abuse, what the Coalition Against Drug Abuse terms “a serious public health concern.” Monteith was candid about his struggle with the substance, and despite the tragedy of his early death, acting coach Andrew McIlroy hopes that something positive comes out of the situation. “If one of Cory’s beautiful fans thinks twice about that pill or joint or drink, then let us consider that a great ‘step one’ measure of our respect for his legacy” he stated, according to CBC News. With “a substantial minority” of Canada’s youth becoming increasingly at risk according to a 2007 report by the Canadian Centre of Substance Abuse, a certain degree of openness in cases like Monteith’s are critical.

The Best Form of Hope

Rightfully, people question just how damaging this level of exposure can be to families whose loved one’s struggles are suddenly publicized on major media networks, particularly when the subject is taboo. High-profile charity events are not geared towards substance abuse, and it still has a certain degree of stigma attached to it which tabloids thrive on for scandal. But sometimes the best closure comes from opening up discussion on a subject and media can be used in a positive way to do this. And thanks to a large democriticization of the media with social networks, celebrities may not have more control with how they are portrayed by the mainstream, but they have the power to put out their own voice. Now more than ever, celebrities and the media form a big part of the charity circuit, from leading pro sports teams to actors, musicians, and public figures, and will continue to do so for years to come. It may not be as transparent and as efficient as the public would wish, but it is a start, and one which has the potential to do great good.


How Social Media Changed The World: Part 2

How Social Media Changed The World: Part 2

Google was the brain child of two Stanford students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Larry, 22 at the time and Sergey, 21, began to bring their idea to life with a search engine named BackRub, that operated on the Stanford servers for more than a year. On September 15th, 1997, Google was registered as a domain name, and internet search engines would never be the same again.

This is how Google looked in its early years

Much  more than just a search engine now, Google has changed the internet, social media and the world for the better. As early as December of 1998, “PC Magazine” reported that Google is the search engine of choice in the Top 100 Web Sites of 1998. In October of 2000, Google AdWords is launched, introducing keyword targeting in online advertising and in July 2001, Google Images is launched allowing people to find specific images online.

Since then, Google has launched Google News, Gmail, Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Analytics and Google+, their own social networking website which works in tandem with Youtube, an acquisition of Google’s in 2006. Google is a global powerhouse, to such a degree that the Google homepage receives 7.2 billion views per day.  Over 6 billion hours of video are watched on Youtube each month! These numbers are unprecedented and they continue to grow!

Psy's "Gangnam Style" has over 1.8 billion views
Psy’s “Gangnam Style” has over 1.8 billion views

There is no doubt that Google will continue to flourish throughout the world. It has become a household name that people trust and rely on every day for work, school and personal use and has truly been a key player in the evolution of Social Media.

Stay tuned for part 3 of “How Social Media Changed The World”.



How Social Media Has Changed The World: Part 1

How Social Media Has Changed The World: Part 1

Let’s take a moment to think back 10 years ago:  Jean Chretien is the Prime Minister of Canada, the New Jersey Devils are the Stanley Cup Champions, nobody had ever heard of Justin Bieber and less than 60% of the population owns a cell phone. Google announces a new content-based advertising service, Facebook is still an idea in Mark Zuckerberg’s head and a tweet is a sound a bird makes.

Looking back at it now, Social Media has come a very long way in a short amount of time. It has revolutionized how the human race communicates, how companies advertise and has made the world smaller in general. Part 1 of “How Social Media Has Changed The World” focuses on Facebook.

Facebook, originally known as “The Facebook” was launched in February 2004 as a means for students at Harvard to find other students at their school, figure out who they shared a class with, and look up your friends’ friends. Eventually widening to all schools in Boston, Facebook continued to expand across North America and Canada until finally, in September of 2006, it was made available to anyone 13 or older with a valid email address.

Facebook at it looked in 2004.
Facebook at it looked in 2004.

Today, Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with nearly 1 billion users. Users can interact with one another, post photos, create events, join fan pages and much more.  On top of this, Facebook has created an advertising system that allows corporations to target their ads specifically to people of a certain age, gender, demographic, location, etc. This advertising format allows companies to access the type of person they want, and allows them to advertise in this person’s living room or even in the palm of their hand. Huge multi-nation corporations have devoted millions of dollars toward advertising via social media, a type of advertising that hardly existed up until ten years ago.

Facebook as it looks in 2013.
Facebook as it looks in 2013.

Where will Facebook go from here? Only time will tell, but Facebook has been a true pioneer of Social Media and will likely continue to do so for a long time to come.

In part two, we’ll explore how Google has brought information to the world’s finger tips.




In this age of Do It Yourself, things have spun a little out control. Everybody wants to save a couple bucks but unless you’re a Master of your Domain you’ll be doing more harm than good in the long run. Whether you’re adding an addition to your house or designing a logo for your business, just remember the expression: you get what you pay for.

Designing banners, ads and logos with comic sans and Microsoft word probably isn’t going to win you any awards. Professionals spend years analyzing typography, graphic elements, lines, space, etc. just to learn the perfect way to design.

Here are some examples to illustrate this point: 

Good Design vs. Bad Design –

Good vs Bad Design

When a designer has experience they know how to make everything more visually appealing, as shown in the example above.

Whereas these just hurt your eyes to look at them:





However this is what you would call good design;

Make it better from Sebastianbap on Vimeo.

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Design Has Changed Our World

Design Has Changed Our World

Design Has Changed Our World

Based off the book, Do Good Design by David B. Berman “Logos have become the closest thing we have to an international language, recognized and understood in many more places than English.” -Naomi Klein. (Do Good Design, by David B. Berman.)

It has been said that the average human “can only identify 10 plans but recognize over 1,000 corporate brands.”
It’s also estimated by researchers that “most people are exposed to over 200 logo designs or brand marks per hour.”

For most companies, a logo plays a very crucial role in the success of their branding. Think about it. Your logo or company name goes on all your collateral- usually it’s the first thing people see and sometimes the only marketing tool they have to identify you with.

At the risk of over stating the obvious, proper branding is essential for a business to be successful.

Below are a few different logos that have had the colour removed and only shows a small part of the symbol. Can you name the brands?

Design Has Changed Our World

Thirty Years of Nike Advertising

Through advertising Nike has managed to create an ultra-stylised image that glorifies sport, contest and victory. Defining itself as an integral part of the worlds fitness and sporting regime; Nike has become a constant presence in our shops and on our televisions.

Nike was founded in 1964 by running enthusiasts Bill Bowerman and Phillip Knight in humble fashion. Selling sports shoes out the back of their cars; the duo sought out celebrity endorsements as their first marketing technique. The first sports person who endorsed Nike was Romanian tennis player Ilie Natase.

The modern sporting climate is littered with athletes endorsed by Nike. Almost every professional sport is represented by Nike endorsement from track & field to basketball to soccer. Global superstars such as Tim Tebow, Cristiano Ronaldo, Steven Stamkos and Tiger Woods are just a few who are currently endorsed by the sporting powerhouse.

Move to Television
In 1982, Nike changed their advertising direction and made the move into the more traditional television advert. Their first advert which aired during the commercial break of the New York Marathon was made by Wieden & Kennedy. The eponymous Dan Wieden was the man who in 1988 went on to coin the now famous Just Do It mantra.

The decade that followed saw Nike’s market share rise from 18% to 43% and global sales increase from $877 million to $9.2 billion. With a strong product and an equally strong marketing campaign, Nike became the behemoth of the sporting apparel. The Just Do It campaign was central to this successful campaign. The strength of this advertising is perhaps best measured by the by this remarkable statistic: 80% of Nike sneakers sold in the USA are never used for the sport for which they are designed.

This was a risky ploy; Nike were gambling that the public would see their products as fashion items rather than just sports equipment. This gamble paying off meant that they were able to target a much wider share of the market. Now rather than just appealing to athletes, sports enthusiasts and wannabes; Nike could market their wares to every corner of the market. It is now not uncommon to see an elderly lady in her Nike sneakers walking with her young grandson in his Nike sneakers.

Rather than concentrating on their product, the advertisements focused heavily on the customer and the individual wearing the product. Seldom were the sneaker’s or apparel’s virtues explained and displayed rather the prowess of the athlete wearing them. Making themselves customer orientated, Nike attained an approachable, achievable image. No longer was sports attire just for the sporty, it was for everybody.

Sporting Heroes & Beyond
Nike’s advertising has long depended on sports stars whose celebrity spans further than their sport. Bo Jackson, John McEnroe and Michael Jordan were three early examples; household names who were known beyond the fans of the sport. Even those who didn’t play basketball wanted to wear the same sneakers as Michael Jordan.

Nike didn’t stop there, they ventured into endorsing movies, TV series and music. By creating partnerships with professionals in many mediums they furthered their appeal more so. Many of the biggest names in the arts have been attributed to Nike. Glee, Back to the Future, Eminem, Billy Ray Cyrus and Lady Gaga have all been endorsed by Nike and their appeal stretches across all demographics and audiences. Again these advertisements do not focus on the products, rather those endorsing them. Only the biggest stars are endorsed by Nike, their profile is so consuming now it can only be managed by the approval of the globes sporting, acting and musical royalty. Rather than using flat fee recruitment, Nike gives the biggest stars the most airtime and the larger royalties.
Groudbreaking Techniques
Since their inception, the Nike television adverts have consistently been highly stylised and visually stimulating. Groundbreaking director and Monty Python alumni Terry Gilliam directed the sumptuous Secret Tournament focusing on 24 of the planets most famous soccer stars competing in a dystopian tournament. Sin City director Robert Rodriguez is one of the most celebrated directors of the past 20 years, his works have been praised for their visual impact and detailed storytelling. He leant his skills to Nike, directing Kobe Bryant in The Black Mamba to the tune of rap superstar Kanye West. Three men at the top of their respective games brought together by Nike.

Nike have manufactured a separate world. A world where sports, arts, the visual and the sub-textual belong together, coincide and perpetuate the subtle message that Nike makes dreams and their customers live them.

Can You Name The Logo?

We live in an era where branding is everywhere. We can’t escape it. Resistance is futile.
Some logos have become so ingrained in our minds that they are more instantly familiar to us then some of our friends or family members.

Coca-Cola came out with a new design for the diet coke can for their 125th birthday. Now we all know Coca-Cola’s branding has been around for a long time and is easily recognizable, that’s one of the reasons this new design works. With such strong branding, they designed a can that displays a cropped version of the words Diet Coke.

I found this to be very creative and intriguing. It makes you want to pick up the can and look closer.
I also found the case design to be quite clever. When you stack a few of the cases together it completes a picture of the can. Although this started out as a limited edition, it’s still a very cool concept and will stay on the shelves if sales continue to rise.

Check out the link below for graphics on the new design.
Now go, enjoy a Diet Coke!

10 Successful Advertising Campaigns in the Last Century

Everyday we are bombarded by advertising. But exactly how many of these images and messages will make a big enough impact on us to the point that we’ll remember them years from now?

Here is a collection of advertising campaigns that have left a lasting impression on society in the last century:

These campaigns have employed tactics such as presenting straightforward honesty, establishing a specific image, integrating the product into a desired lifestyle and much more. Despite the fact that many of these campaigns were launched before some of us were born, we still witness a handful of them to this day as they stick in our minds.

To create an advertising campaign that can stand the test of time is a huge challenge, so these companies are to be commended for their long-lasting accomplishments. We can definitely all learn a lesson from these examples.