Showing posts with label Marketing-Viral. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marketing-Viral. Show all posts


Instagram Giveaway| Sunny Co Clothing

Clothing retail startup “Sunny Co Clothing,” founded by two college seniors at the University of Arizona, figured creating a swimsuit giveaway would be the best way to get the word out there about their new brand. 
By reposting their photo with a specific hashtag, social media users would be entitled to a “free” swimsuit in exchange for their post — in addition to the company donating $1 to the Alzheimer’s Foundation for each one.
Overnight, their Instagram following jumped from 7,000 to 784,000. More than 346,000 people took up their offer, forcing them to cap the promotion at 50,000 units.

Let’s do the math: 50,000 units x $12 = $600,000.

No, that’s not a typo. The campaign grossed over $600,000 in 24 hours.

It was so unexpectedly popular they had to issue almost $73,000 in refunds because they couldn’t meet demand.

This spawned a slew of articles calling the campaign a failure. One writer even thought that it belonged in the same category as the infamous Fyre Festival.

But if these publications had just paused to think, they might’ve realized they were missing the big picture.

Inventory issues aside, the real story was that two college students generated more revenue in one day than many businesses do in a year. And they did it with effectively $0 in ad spend.

They’re not losing any money — they’re making it

Of the thousands of people posting all over the internet about this matter — the majority of them failed to give the site a visit and realize you still had to pay handling charges, although the item itself is technically “free.” While this is certainly a gray area of marketing ethics, it’s nothing new.

The folks over at Loretti Watches have been running their entire business on this model for over a year. Pay a small shipping and handling fee, and get the product for “free.” In fact, many of the top clients we produce scroll-stopping creative and strategy for at VAXA Digital follow this same business model.

What most consumers don’t realize is that these products are manufactured so cheap they can be produced and shipped for less than the shipping “cost” they’re charged. This is especially true in the clothing industry, where items (such as bathing suits) can be easily manufactured overseas for nothing more than a few dollars. This absurdly high margin is then used to cover advertising, overhead, and wasted product at the end of a season/trend.

In this specific example, Sunny Co Clothing charged their customers a $13 shipping fee after applying their promo code to reduce their $70 bathing suit down to $0. From a marketing psychology perspective, the consumer feels as if they’ve gotten such a discount that this nominal charge is normal and worth it.

From that amount, subtract $5 to manufacturer and fulfill the item, $6 to actually ship it, $1 for the Alzheimer’s donation, and they’re left with $1–2 of net profit for every suit sold — which brings me to my next point: how many did they actually sell?


Truth is, there’s a lot to learn from their campaign, so let’s mine some nuggets of wisdom.

In this article, I’m going to break down key lessons you can apply to your own marketing strategies. Then, I’ll provide a template you can use to recreate their success.

Nothing Sunny Co did was revolutionary — it was simply well executed. And if you follow the principles they used, you too can become an overnight sensation.

How Much Was Profit?

First, let’s take a closer look at the numbers.

Unless you manufacture your own goods, the only way you can promise a swimsuit for $12 is by buying in bulk to keep costs low.

In light of this, it’s likely Sunny Co sourced their product from an overseas supplier.

I did a quick search on Alibaba and found a similar swimsuit that costs $6.10/unit (when ordering over 100).

Let’s assume they were able to negotiate down to $3/unit, given they ordered 50,000 pieces.

In 2017, you could ship a seven-ounce package across the U.S. for about $3 via USPS First Class.

Factor in $0.50 for packaging/branding and $0.70 for payment processing fees and that brings total costs to $7.20.

Estimated profit = $12 - $7.20 = $4.80/unit.

We know they ended up issuing roughly $73,000 in refunds. But assuming they could tell the future and adequately planned their supply chain, they would’ve raked in over $240,000 in profit in 24 hours.


Why It Worked

Three key factors:
1.“Free” turns heads

Want to command attention?

Offer something for free.

Caveat: as we saw above, Sunny Co used the word “free” fairly liberally. In any other context, $12 shipping for a single swimsuit is outrageous.

Nevertheless, it’s likely many customers realized this and still wanted in, especially when compared alongside a $64.99 retail price.

The real takeaway here is that people love the idea of “free,” even if it’s merely framed as such.
2. Urgency sells

If “free” grabs the audience’s attention, limited time offers give them no choice but to respond.

Sunny Co took advantage of this by restricting their campaign to 24 hours, which persuaded their audience to jump on board right away.

There’s nothing worse than missing out on a chance to grab something for free because you waited too long to act.
3. Relevant content converts

This campaign went viral for a reason.

Points 1 and 2 are critical, but they would’ve fallen flat if the Instagram image wasn’t appealing to their audience.

That wasn’t an issue for the Sunny Co team, because they chose an image that:
Looked like an Instagram post their target audience would typically make (not a spammy ad).
Incorporated their target audience’s interests (warm weather and swimming pools).
Used colors associated with excitement (ie. red).

These elements ensured their campaign got noticed.

Template: How to Make $600,000 in 24 Hours

Here’s how you can recreate Sunny Co’s success.
Step 1: Source a product on Alibaba.

Find a product you can:
White label and rebrand.
Charge the unit cost + shipping cost + desired profit as “shipping.”

To figure out the second part, first, determine your total costs.

For example, these blue light blocking glasses cost $1.80 per unit. You can ship them anywhere across the U.S. for roughly $3 via USPS First Class. That puts your total cost at $4.80.

Next, determine the maximum amount a customer would pay for shipping on the item.

If you sell the benefits properly (ie. blue light blocking glasses prevent headaches), I think you could persuade an audience to pay up to $8 for “shipping.”

That leaves you with $8-$4.80=$3.20 in profit.
Step 2: Order samples. Inspect for quality and reliability.

This step is a must and will save you from the terror of issuing mass refunds due to quality complaints down the road.

Pay attention to the supplier’s reviews regarding fulfillment times. Make sure they can handle large order volumes in a timely manner.
Step 3: Set up a Shopify store. Create an eye-catching image for social media.

As we discussed earlier, it’s important that your image doesn’t look like an ad and is relevant to your audience’s interests.

I strongly suggest including a human being in your image. After all, humans relate best to other humans.
Step 4: Set up a time-limited repost campaign. Ask everyone you know to post about it, or buy shout-outs from large themed accounts.

Your campaign should look something like this:

“For the next X hours, everyone who reposts this image on Instagram and tags us in the post will get a free [product]. Must be following us to be eligible.”

Sunny Co ran their campaign for 24 hours. You can run yours for however long you want.

Just keep in mind: shorter campaigns create more urgency, which yields better results.

If you have an existing following or an active social circle you can leverage, you may be able to pull this off with $0 ad spend.

If not, DM themed accounts on Instagram and buy at least $500 worth of ads.
Step 5: Go viral and profit.

There are a lot of variable components here, like how good your branding is, how appealing your product is, and how attractive your images are.

So it goes without saying your results will vary.

But as Sunny Co demonstrated, knowing your audience stacks the odds in your favor. Hit on all the right points with your branding and messaging and there’s no reason you can’t experience a similar level of success.

Understanding the Framework

At the end of the day, the key is understanding the power of the “free for a limited time” model.

In the brick and mortar days, companies used this method to get visitors to their store. Their goal was to get customers to also buy other items while they were there, which is how they made money.

In today’s global economy, however, it’s now possible to make money directly off the product you’re “giving away,” because many products can be sourced from overseas for pennies on the dollar.

The entire Internet just advertised for them — and still is

Most of us have heard the adage, “No publicity is bad publicity.” While there are some cases this certainly isn’t true (looking at you, United Airlines), that’s not the case with this situation.
Within 24 hours of starting the contest, thousands of major Instagram/Twitter influencers were posting about this — whether paid shout-outs or simply memes making fun of everyone else posting.
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Before long, hundreds of major news accounts began covering the story, and hundreds of thousands of comments were being left about the giveaway — both good and bad. Regardless, this company was certainly now in the spotlight of both consumers and other massive brands (and maybe even the FTC), meaning ridiculous amounts of traffic were being sent their way.
Regarding the potential FTC attention, the one area Sunny Co Clothing poorly executed was delivering a clear and consistent set of terms and conditions for the contest, as some screenshots suggest they changed their terms multiple times during the giveaway process:
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Take a look at Rule #3, stating “…we reserve the right to cap the promotion if deemed necessary.” Given this was not clearly stated at the beginning of the contest, this could certainly raise some questions from the feds, especially after the FTC’s recent announcement to crack down on unethical social media advertising practices.

Targeted demographic data and followers will be invaluable

Potential fines aside, it’s clear that the real win here for Sunny Co Clothing wasn’t in the relatively small amount of money they made, but rather the data they collected from a highly targeted niche of women interested in buying clothing online — specifically swimsuits.
Considering that the going rate in 2017 for targeted email lists is between $200–400 CPM (cost per mille, or thousand impressions), with even 50,000 email addresses collected they’re looking another $10,000 minimum for every business they sell those to. When dealing with large retail brands, such as Victoria’s Secret, this cost is something marketing teams are willing to pay at the drop of a hat.
Now, what about that massive Instagram following? While “shout outs” and influencer marketing promos have been around for a few years now, they’ve certainly become popular with massive brands more recently — raking in some massive cashflows for those in charge of these accounts.
Given that the going rate for an “influencer” page to create a post promoting someone else’s product or service is about $1 per 1,000 followers (based on my experience in the industry), the folks over at Sunny Co Clothing are looking at a minimum of $700 for EVERY single promoted post. Even if they only posted one a day, that could equate to over $250,000 a year.
Worst-case scenario, even if Sunny Co Clothing somehow goes under as a result of this stunt, there’s nothing stopping them from selling their Instagram account on the “black market” (given it’s against Instagram’s terms of service) for an outrageous amount of money. Knowing their engagement and number of active followers, they would easily be able to pull in anywhere from $30–50k for an account of that size.

In the end — was it a win?

While they’ve yet to stand the true test of time and begin fulfilling these orders, Sunny Co Clothing certainly has the potential to pull off a massive “W” as a result of this scenario. Even if they were to be hit with massive FTC fines and forced to close their “doors,” they’re set up now with a large number of cash-positive exit strategies resulting from their massive social media following.
The major takeaway here is that viral marketing and growth hacking social media is certainly not dead — you just need a bit of strategy and good luck. Even with major follower-building tools such as Instagress recently shut down, digital marketers are still left with plenty of opportunities to grow their brands’ followings.
With that said, don’t be surprised if you see a large number of strategy copycats popping up over the coming weeks, such as this towel company (who were smart enough to cap the number of giveaway items at least):
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In the Wild Wild West of Instagram, it’s not surprising they even stole their photo:
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As mentioned earlier, this marketing strategy is nothing new, and certainly presents opportunities for retailers with cheaply produced goods to creatively target new consumers. However, bear in mind that a good number of people will now realize that pair of “luxury” sunglasses you normally sell for $79 only costs you a few bucks to produce.


Take This Lollipop

For several days, circulating on the net " Take This Lollipop , "an interactive film seems very disturbing that warn about possible dangers arising from our unbridled desire to share.
What hides behind this exciting teaser campaign?
The thesis is that more can be supported in promoting a horror film. In my opinion, may lie instead with a social initiative.

Jason Zada has released a haunting live-action interactive site,, a chilling warning to people who upload personal information to their Facebook profiles. With permission from a Facebook user, Take This Lollipop trolls through their photos, friend lists, news feeds and other personal information. The site then plugs the data into a web video starring a sweaty, disheveled degenerate, (played by Bill Oberst Jr.) who sits in a shade-darkened room staring at a computer screen. To a swirl of haunting sounds and suspenseful music, he logs in to Facebook under the user’s name to troll through reams of their information, including, at the end of the video, their location. With an ominous gleam in his eye, the cyber-stalker takes to his car, exiting at an indistinct location that could very well be almost any place, even right around the corner from where you are now… The action then fades to a countdown clock and the name of one of the user’s Facebook friends, stating that they’re next.
The site has attracted over 5 million unique hits and more than 600,000 ‘likes’ from around the world.
“I’m a huge fan of horror and of Halloween, and I really felt like this was a great opportunity to focus on Halloween and mix it with the underlying fear of privacy that we have nowadays with Facebook and other social networking sites,” stated Zada.

Take This Lollipop


The Take This Lollipop project was developed by director Jason Zada at Tool of North America with executive producers Brian Latt, Oliver Fuselier, executive producer digital Dustin Callif and developer Jason Nickel.


Hell Pizza New Zealand|Deliver me to Hell!

Pizza and zombies - not a combination that immediately leaps to mind, but then Hell Pizza is not a company that adheres to the conventions of its category.
Recognising that consumers spent more money online, Hell Pizza have wisely created strong content to pull customers into that environment. Adding vouchers to the end of the video journey was a brilliant way to link video activity to sales.
Brand names in the pizza delivery sector tend to be fairly uninspiring. Outside of the big brand names like Dominos and Pizza Hut, most cities around the world are home to at least one pizza delivery firm with a vaguely Italian sounding name. Hell pizza had already marked itself out from the crowd with its unusual name, but when it came to engaging its consumers it still needed something different.
Most food delivery companies focus on their products. TV and online activity tends to be little more than another expression of the outlet's menu, but Hell Pizza recognised that online orders tickets were on average 30% more than telephone orders  - so devised a purely online strategy to shift consumers from their phone to their laptop.
What separated Hell Pizza's viral video was the interactive element. In "Deliver Me to Hell", viewers watched as the brave Steve attempted to cross a city full of zombies to deliver his pizza. At the end of each clip, viewers were given a choice of what should happen next, sometimes sending Steve and his consignment of pizza margaritas to a gruesome end.
Anyone who could successfully direct Steve safely through the zombies received a voucher for free bottles of Coke, and they were entered into a draw to win a year's supply of free pizza - powerful incentive to complete the mission!
"The first point of the campaign was to make a wicked innovative adventure online that had never been done before, and the second was to drive sales", said a Hell director Stu McMullin. "Hell Pizza has always been a tech forerunner and we employed good local kiwi talent and directors. In NZ we are one of the largest online companies.  We average 22% online for total pizza sales and 35% of that is in town centers. Our web average ticket is 30% more in value - so we are all about getting customers online."
Since the campaign started Hell have seen a strong spike in sales online and of those people that were ordering and using the free coke vouchers, 43% were new customers.

BRAND:Hell Pizza
REGION:New Zealand
DATE:July - July 2010
MEDIA CHANNEL:Branded Content,Online,TV


Volkswagen’s Viral Video Serie: The Fun Theory

In September, Volkswagen launched, an creative initiative to test if fun could change the behavior of people. The campaign has become a huge success in the last couple of days with a tremendous amount of views for the videos that Volkswagen subtly seed with this campaign.

Read on for the full statistics on the campaign and my personal view on this already strong marketing case in social media.

Last Friday, Niels wrote the following summary, here on ViralBlog:
With this new campaign, developed by DDB Stockholm, Volkswagen turned a subway staircase in Stockholm, Sweden into a giant piano as part of their ‘Theory of Fun’ campaign. The effort is just one stunt that appears on the carmaker’s website, which showcases efforts to get people to change by simply making things more fun. The Giant Piano clip got over 500,000 views on YouTube in just over two weeks.
The videos are aiming to change peoples lazy behavior by showing them the fun side of acting environmental responsible. As for the carmaker’s own contribution, “Volkswagen’s answer to the theory will be presented at a later stage on a separate website amongst other media,” says DDB Stockholm creative director Andreas Dahlqvist. “The site will display their whole range of environment technologies and cars—many, many fun ways to do something for the environment.”
Let’s take a look at the already launched videos:

Piano Staircase

The video received 1.200.000+ views in 4 days. Plus various copies with over 500.000 views. Minor detail: The original Swedish version - Pianotrappan - - “only” got 680.000+ views in 20 days.

The World’s Deepest Bin

This video received a bit less views, 88.000 views in 4 days. Minor detail: The original Swedish version - Världens djupaste soptunna - - “only” got 129.000+ views in 20 days.

Bottle Bank Arcade

About the platform

The platform bundles the videos and encourages people to submit their own ideas. The winner will be granted with a cash prize of 2500 euros. I sure do hope that Volkswagen promotes these actions and let people vote, share and encourage others with micro interactions. This way, the behavior change also comes from the people within.

Statistics on the videos

Lets take a look at the conversation market. What did the campaign do to the conversations? To check this out, we’ll have a look at Twitter.
Trendistic statistics on the word “piano”

It’s incredible, when you look at the statistics, you can see a minor trend on the word piano, just shortly after the launch of the videos. This means that people started to talk more about pianos then before the campaign. Next to all the regular conversations about pianos, a lot of the ones including a link direct to the advertisement page. Source: Twitter Search.
Trendistic statistics on the word “fun”
Another nice detail is that Volkswagen is being associated with fun a lot on Twitter. Looking at
these results, you can see that Volkswagen is being mentioned several times per hour with the word fun and a link to the campaign.

YouTube statistics on Piano Staircase

Unfortunately, the extended statistics have been disabled for both the Swedish YouTube videos, so we couldn’t find out whether these videos spread globally as well as the English ones. However, the English versions did show the extended statistics. Let’s check out the ones from the piano stairs video to see the popularity in a global perspective.
YouTube statistics on the video: viral growth
Even though the image above is from such a short period, its still incredible to see the large growth in such a short time. Also the amount of ratings, comments and favorites show people like the video.
YouTube statistics on the video: global reach
When you look at the global reach, you can see the video has worldwide popularity, which is an interesting fact. Humor and interests aren’t human aspects that have the same values on every person on this planet. It’s good to see the video has been liked in America, Australia and Russia.

Comparisation with Ray Ban

Earlier this year in April, I wrote about Ray-Bans success with their Never Hide campaign. The strong viral videos, starting with the videos of “Guy Catches Glasses With Face” from NeverHideFilms had a few strong elements that made it a viral success.
Looking at the aspects of the Volkswagen videos, it leaves no doubt that the Never Hide films gave some good inspiration to DDB Stockholm, the agency behind the films. The films are also not based on the core message of the brand, they could be a start of consistent line of communication, are highly entertaining, aren’t just about the product and could have been done by average Joe.
Could it be that Volkswagen is following Ray-Ban’s successful footsteps by creating successful, fun and creative videos to feed the entertainment market? I certainly love this campaign of Volkswagen and hope they’ll receive the viral success they deserve!
Make sure to also check out the article on, which includes an interview with the creative director from DDB Stockholm and take a look at the fun behind the scene photos on Flickr.


Top 10 Australian Viral Videos

10. Teenage Affluenza - World Vision

9. Where the bloody hell are you? - Dan Ilic

8. Beached Whale- Handsomity Institute

7. True History of Australian Football - Aktifmag

6. Get into any nightclub - Sprite Truth Hunters

5. Corey Delaney, Party Liason - ACA and Crikey Media

4. ChkChkBoom - Nine News

3. Free Hugs - Sick Puppies

2. Trent from Punchie - Trent

1. The Big Ad - Carlton Draught


Photos of Lady GaGas Third Leg

The rumors may possibly be true. Photos have been leaked which show Lady Gaga sporting not two but three legs.

7 tricks to Viral Web Marketing

Viral marketing (word-of-mouth marketing) is a really cool thing. Just think about it... instead of spending an insane amount of money on newspapers ads, TV commercials or banner ads, you spent nothing - and let your fans do all the work for you.
With viral marketing, your campaigns will suddenly get a life of its own - and start to spread like a virus. Everyone want to see it, and when they do, they all want to share it.
It is immensely powerful, usually having 500-1000 times greater impact than what you get from regular advertisements.

But how?

There are a lot of tricks to viral marketing. Here are 7 important ones:

1: Make people feel something

The most important trick of all is to create a very strong emotion. You need to have an opinion, to express an idea with commitment and dedication. You want people to:
  • be filled with love or hate.
  • be very happy or insanely angry
  • be an idiot or a genius
  • be deeply compassionate or an egoistic bitch
You want people's blood to be pumping of excitement.
Forget neutral, trying to please everyone, supporting several target groups or any of the many ways to be unbiased. Viral marketing is 100% about emotions.

2: Do something unexpected

This one explains itself. If you want people to notice you campaign, you have to do something different - something unexpected. Forget about trying to promote your products as just being great - everybody does that. Forget about trying to make it look cool - everyone else has "been there, done that".
Remember the bear being attacked by a man? That was unexpected - and it is one the most effective viral advertisements ever.

...and above all - never be a copycat.

3: Do not try to make advertisements (that sucks)

One of the biggest mistake companies make is when they think viral marketing is just advertisements that people share - it is not. Traditional marketing is about promoting your product, showing how good it is, giving it center stage - and generally being incredibly selfish (and possibly using supermodels or movie stars). But guess what, nobody cares about you!
Viral marketing is all about a good story. When BMW put out BMW Films, the main ingredient was not the cars, but the story. Replace the car with another one, and it would still be great. When Sony made their Bravia TV ads, the product was not even seen - yet everyone remembers it.

Forget about you, your product or your company. Focus exclusively in creating a good and interesting story. Sure, you can add you product into the mix, but it must not be the most important thing.

4: Make sequels

People have just seen your campaign. They think it was interesting, unexpected and their emotions has reached a high level - you have their complete attention.
Now what do you do?
If you do like most companies you will simply do nothing... and that is a big mistake. When you got people's attention you need to act, and one the best ways of doing that is to give them more - make sequels. This can be many things;
Never leave people standing with nothing.

BTW: Forget about countdown releases - i.e. releasing a new episode every 2 weeks. People's attention span does not last that long. Give them everything now!

5: Allow Sharing, downloading and embedding´

Sharing is what viral marketing is all about. Everything you do to make that easier is going to improve your campaign. That means that you need allow people to:
  • Download the content, in a usable format (videos in MPG, pictures in JPG etc.)
  • Allowing them to easily embed the content on their own sites (Note: remember bandwidth issues)
  • Sending it to friends, either using a link or by sending the content directly.
  • Publishing it on varies social networks - Digg, YouTube etc.
  • Allow people to add it the bookmarking sites
Note: This also easily be overdone. You do not want to clutter up your page with a zillion "share me, dig this etc." icons.

6: Connect with comments

Another important element is to connect with your audience. Remember you got their attention, they are excited and now they want talk. Comments is one of the most effective ways to do this.
Keep in mind that the best viral marketing campaign is one that creates a strong emotion. This means some people will really like it - while others will get very angry. You have to accept both in your comments, and you have to welcome both opinions. But, at the same time you must prevent individuals to wage war against each other.
It is not a sin to delete comments from people who attack another person, or if the comment is off-topic. But, it is a sin to delete comments from people who just have an negative opinion.
And, most importantly. Connecting with people through comments means talking back. Do not add comments if you do not want to participate yourself.

7: Never restrict access!

Viral marketing is also about your campaign getting a life on its own - spreading like virus. In order to do that, in order to become "viral", it needs to be free.
Never add restrictions to the mix.
  • Do not require people to register
  • to become members
  • to download special software
  • to enter "unlock" codes
  • ...or to do something in order to get the right link.
Viral marketing is never about exclusivity. It is about getting it out there for everyone to see.

There is a common message in all of these tricks. It is that you need to make it right - or not do it at all. Only the best viral marketing campaigns make it - the rest literally sucks.
If you have any tips of your own, I sure would like to know about them! Also, If would very like to see any cool viral advertisement that you might know.

Other cool "virals"

The Smirnoff viral

One of the first really successful viral campaigns in the "YouTube age"

Berlitz language

Not originally designed for viral, but stupid Germans and fridays quickly changed that

Some biscuit company

Again, not designed for viral, but the unexpected elements made people share it

Dove Evolution

A true viral campaign, showing artificial beauty - and it worked!

The Escalator

Another true viral campaign. worked too!

Copy Goes Here

A very funny movie by Coudal Partners, making fun of advertising companies.


A movie I made to promote my report on "Actual Browser Sizes". It was seen by about 800 people within the first few days - but with only limited viral effect.

HP FingerSkilz

Viral campaign from HP

Small Business SMM

If you own a small business, it seems like everyone is trying to get you to use social media. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twit...