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How to create a viral word of mouth campaign

AARP has put together one of the most fantastic viral campaigns of the political season.  Click here to see it. (I won’t spoil the surprise by describing it.)

This campaign works because it hits all the best practices for an effective viral campaign:

  1. It’s personal
  2. It’s genuinely surprising
  3. It’s easy to forward
  4. It’s easy to forward to lots of people
  5. It has a call to action

A call to action is the point of the viral campaign, such as selling product or, in this case, getting people to sign a petition. The difference between a viral stunt and a measurable word of mouth marketing campaign is a clear marketing objective that can be tracked.

AARP gets all the essential viral tools right: tell-a-friend forms, widgets, an easy-to share URL, and a clear call to action.  The only thing missing is the ability to embed the video on your site, but that’s probably a good call on their part, because it would send fewer people to their site to sign the petition.

AARP 08 Video
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  1. Henrik October 22, 2008 at 11:33 am #

    Very good tips!

  2. Ivan October 22, 2008 at 12:16 pm #

    I kinda saw that coming from it requiring me to enter my name but it is still bloody brilliant! Both from a technical and marketing perspectives.

  3. Evette October 22, 2008 at 9:13 pm #

    Here’s something similar. Same message, same execution, ABSOLUTELY different vibe (it’s the bias, I think):–

  4. Paul Chaney October 24, 2008 at 3:04 pm #

    That was too cool. Viral? Oh yea. Spreading it around the office and via twitter.

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