Viral ads – you need to protect yourself

Have you seen Chevy Tahoe viral campaign? It’s not very new but it’s perfect example to ilustrate one important aspect of viral marketing. Marketeers – protect yourself! Don’t trust your customers. It may not sound very good but is really must. Lets start with couple of words about Chevy campaign.

The idea was great. There was website with cool interface that allowed visitors to build ads for Chevy Tahoe. You had choice of nice scenes starring Chevy – it’s glamourous interiors, amazing features as well as muscular exterior – in beautiful landscapes, at seaside, in top mountains, in sunset and sundusk. Endless beauty! There was also rich choice of music to accompany these picturous scenes. All this could be combined with text of your choice to make another cool ad for cool car. What’s more – there was competition for nicest of such ads. The winner would see his ad shown on tv in prime time. Visitors could pass their creations to each other advertising the car and the campaign. Sounds like perfect way to promote good car. Right?

Wrong! Some customers used it to pass message on how crappy and polluting the car was. Combination of professional looking ads with beautiful landscapes and music with such negative messages created really fun ads. And then the viral effect really started – people passed to each other these funny and negative ads. You can see example of such ad here below:

I don’t know whether anyone was fired for this campaign but I’m sure it was very hard lesson for Chevy marketeers. Lets learn from this lesson to.

Bottomline is don’t trust customers. If you make campaign where people upload photos or movies so everyone else can see them. Make sure that someone looks at them prior to displaying on the site. If visitors can put text that they pass to the others – consider preparing choice of such texts instead of free form. All this may be discouraging for visitors so needs to ba balanced. But… Keep in mind Chevy Tahoe case.

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2 comments so far

  1. davidbdale on

    Great example.

    Please, please, don’t warn our two monolithic national political about the dangers of this sort of campaign-building methodology.

    I am salivating at the thought of adding my own copy to slick graphics of national political candidates!

  2. davidbdale on

    make that: “national political PARTIES”


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