Viral Marketing Examples
Our Top Ten

Want Viral Marketing Examples? Then you are at the right place.

viral marketing exampleIn case you're not clear, the definition of viral marketing: is a fast and inexpensive way to get the word out about your business.

In the cyber world, for instance, when existing website visitors, customers or subscribers refer your site to others, or when webmasters send traffic to your site, you will be able to generate web traffic. This can translate into more brand awareness and sales.

There are definitely tens, if not hundreds, of successful viral marketing examples out there. Here, we have found ten companies that have taken a viral marketing campaign and, because of their excellent implementation, have created major buzz and major bucks.

Here's of top10 (for now) of these memorable viral marketing examples to get your creative ideas flowing:

1. Hotmail

 One of the first free web-based email services, is a classic example of viral marketing on the internet and it’s definitely up there among anyone’s top 10 list of great viral marketing examples. The premise was simple:

Give away free email addresses and services


Attach a simple tag at the bottom of every free message sent out: "Get your private, free email at"

In December 1996, Hotmail had 500,000 registered users. Less than a year later, the figure has ballooned to 12,000,000 users! That is internet viral marketing at it's best.

2. Coca-Cola Zero

Coca-Cola secures a spot in our 10 Best Viral Marketing Examples with its “Zero is More” viral campaign. Posters saying “Zero is More” and “Zero will give you life as it should be” started to mushroom in Northern Europe in the Spring of 2007.

The date April 1 was given, as well as a link to a website hosted at zeroismore.xx (xx being the corresponding TLD of the countries the posters appeared in). The public’s attention was hooked, and people started wondering what was going to happen on April 1. Discussions about the meaning of “Zero” appeared in forums and blogs all over the internet. This much anticipation and buzz heralded the debut of the new Coca-Cola flavor.

This type of internet viral marketing used humnan's inante sense of curiosity to reinvent Coca-Cola once again.

3. Will It Blend?

A clever mixture of humor and absurdity made Will It Blend? clinch a spot in our 10 Great Viral Marketing Examples.

Just imagine feeding anything to the blender, from Barbie dollas to iPod, and you get the picture: This blender has potent blending abilities that will be worth the consumers’ time and money. Blendtec founder Tom Dickson said the campaign took off instantly and has had a great impact in Blendtec’s sales.

Blendtec now sells Will It Blend? souvenir items that include a spoof shirt with the slogan "Tom Dickson is my Homeboy."

4. All My Life for Sale

This campaign is about a guy named John Freyer who advertised on eBay that literally everything he had was for sale, including an unopened box of taco shells and a half bottle of mouthwash. The items sold during Freyer’s All My Life for Sale project are now featured at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the University of Iowa Museum of Art, among others. The campaign also turned into a website and a hardcover book.

It's nice to know that even a regular guy can benefit from a viral marketing campaign. Way to go Jon!
And just in case you thought he was our only regular guy out there who can make big bucks with interent viral marketing...get ready, because we have a few more for you.

5. One Red Paperclip

Here’s the crazy idea that got Kyle MacDonald’s strategy into our 10 Great Viral Marketing Examples:

He posted a seemingly senseless offer on Craigslist to trade a red paperclip for something "bigger and better." Well, what do you know! He has since traded up 14 times and has obtained a two-story farmhouse. He reportedly gets about 200,000 visits on his site daily, earning thousands of bucks for those Google Adsense ads he’s got running on his website.

A paperclip. Who woud've thunk it.

6. The Million Dollar Homepage

Another crazy but brilliant idea to add to our 10 Great Viral Marketing Examples is the pixel viral strategy by Alex Tew.

In 2005, Tew came up with a brilliant idea to sell a million pixel ads on his website for $1 each to help raise money for his university education. He never really counted on the possibility of anyone wanting to buy pixels, but he went ahead thinking he had nothing to lose. Well, Tew has since earned a fortune and his success story has inspired many others to follow suit.

Think your crazy idea doesn't have a chance? Think again.

7. Batman – The Dark Night

Warner Bros’ clever viral marketing campaign for the latest Batman flick is definitely worthy to be included in our 10 Best Viral Marketing Examples.

The campaign started out with a simple teaser page featuring the image of a lone bat almost a year before the movie hit the theaters. When fans clicked on the site, they were redirected to a page that featured a District Attorney Election promotional poster for a known character from the Batman Universe named Harvey Dent. Clicking on the page sent fans to another page with another promotional poster of a mocking Harvey Dent. Now, the image is defaced and the users were asked to enter their email address so they could be given a code that would reveal a few pixels of the hidden image.

Word about the campaign immediately got around and within hours, the page became a hit on various networking sites and generated blogs and newspaper coverage. The full image was eventually exposed to reveal Heath Ledger in all his creepy glory as The Joker.

Never underestimate the curiosity factor. If done correctly, it's a sure winner.

8. Radiohead – In Rainbows

One of the most popular bands in the world today, Radiohead scored high among the most effective viral marketing examples the world over with an out-of-the-box internet viral marketing strategy.

They announced that they would be releasing an album outside of a record label and then shocked everyone when they said fans could download their album for free through the band’s website. Fans were then given the option to donate any amount. Within two weeks, Radiohead had “sold” over 1.2 million albums and got almost $9.6 million in gross sales. Each buyer had paid an average of $8.00 to download their music. The figures are phenomenal for a viral marketing campaign sans budget and expensive media blitzes.

You are never too big and you are never too small to take advantage of internet viral marketing. All's fair.

9. Life Hacker

This viral marketing campaign uses a list has been passed on by over a thousand people. One trick of the trade when you decide to use list as a viral marketing campaign: Make sure your content has a wide mass appeal. It must be relevant to a lot of people. That makes the campaign very easy to be incorporated into the marketing plan and can be just as effective as video or other promotional media.

10. Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

When you combine zombies and quizzes, what do you get? An unlikely, albeit successful viral marketing campaign strategy considered by many as one of the well-executed viral marketing examples. Not many people believe in zombies, and this scenario can be a bit of a stretch, but you would be surprised how popular this quiz on how prepared readers can be in case zombies start roaming the earth is among teens. 

Zombies? The Classics  are different, depending on whether you are from Gen X or Gen Y. Never underestimate the power of the younger population.

As you can see from the above viral marketing examples, viral marketing is not only relatively inexpensive compared to traditional advertising; it’s more fun and interactive, too. Before you start generating that buzz, however, make sure you define your viral strategy first.

Determine who will be your target audience and what your marketing goals are. Then, zero in on a particular medium you want to use for your campaign. It would also help to check out more viral marketing examples to really get the feel of how the system works.

Example #11....a bonus

A corporation that has done an excellent job of using a viral campaign to spread their message is Starbucks Coffee Company. The Starbucks marketing strategy was implemented in a subtle yet highly effective way that has influenced other up and coming companies.

By using a viral marketing campaign to promote and expand your business, you create unlimited publicity potential for your brand. So, turn that virus loose now!


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