We’ve gone viral – but can you explain how we did it?

How many of us have been in meetings, either as an agency, or client, demanding – We need a viral campaign?

Gavin Tadman Joint MD

Gavin Tadman20.10.2014

Fine, we’ll just knock you one up. One that will guarantee success….you hear yourself cynically muttering in your head. Because you know that there is no way that an idea is absolutely sure to be picked up and be shared and passed on by your customers and their customers and their friends and their relations and their friends and on and on, until you have that cast-iron, viral HIT.

Yes, you might have success with a global agency, a million dollar budget, a top film crew and some market research, to create something like Dove and its Real Beauty Sketches.

Or you might take someone else’s idea and just get lucky, as with this summer’s smash hit The Ice Bucket Challenge

Or have immense talent (and a bit of luck) and just get the tone right with the Dumb Ways to Die video for Australian Metro Trains.

But we work in B2B, in construction and our client’s budgets are strictly limited. We have to get it right on gut feel.

We did get it right with a ‘We need a viral campaign’, just in the last month….23,000 views in 2 weeks. 35,000 in 4.

Our client Coillte Panel Products provided SmartPly OSB3 panels to a stimulating collaboration, including Arup, The Building Centre and 00 Design Studio, which took place as part of London Design Week.

Wikihouse is an open source construction set. Anyone can design, download and ‘print’ CNC-milled houses and components, which can be assembled with minimal skill or training.

A Wikihouse was constructed outside The Building Centre in London, over a 5-day period.

We decided that the best way of capturing the process was via time-lapse video.

So far, so simple. The press was then invited to view the ‘live’ project. From this point it became a global ‘viral’ campaign.

From 8,900 views in Argentina to 1,000 in Holland, picked up along the way from Italy through to Australia.

Shared by The Huffington Post, aired on BBC Breakfast News, first covered by The London Evening Standard, then The Times, The Daily Mail, The Guardian, blogged about by BBC journalists, discussed by the trade…..

So how did this one happen?

Of course we planned it all. Down to minute detail.

Not possible, I hear you cry and of course, you’d be right.

But what we did do was serve all the elements up to have it in place, so that it could happen… and did happen.

We took a fairly standard approach to capturing the piece and then the press was dutifully informed. As already outlined, the print media turned up and covered it. It would, of course, be featured in the newspaper the next day. To make it happen, we had to run extremely fast to make sure that they were provided with the time-lapse content on the day of the project’s completion to make it more compelling.

But it was the on-line platforms that helped fan the flames that chased the story around the world. Within hours of the press conference, the on-line version of the Evening Standard covered it. Then The Times. Once it had spread to The Huffington Post, there was no stopping it.

And of course utilizing what for us is now a staple, social media. We saw the comments, the shares and the general buzz around the video and overall concept and we just got involved.

But what was at the heart of all of this was that we recognized that the project could be made interesting and brought to life…and we went for it.

Hey, it was even fun.

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