Ever wonder how to create a viral marketing campaign? There is no perfect formula, but making people laugh is a great start. Humor is universal and has led to some of the most memorable ads of all time. Not only does injecting humor make a brand more relatable, but people are also more likely to share your content.
Read on to learn more about how Bolt, the leading one-click checkout tech company, created a humorous viral campaign from ideation to launch in just 5 days.
Should you use humor in your campaign?
While humor can entertain and attract new consumers, creating the wrong type of campaign can hurt a brand. In fact, the wrong joke may offend audiences, dilute your brand, or make your company look unprofessional. So, when should you use humor? Start by asking: what are you promoting and who is your target audience?
When Bolt started building a strategy for their viral abandoned carts campaign with Sarah McLachlan, they knew they had a topic that was universally relatable. Nearly everyone has abandoned a shopping cart and all merchants lose revenue to abandoned carts.
So, how did they bring the topic to life?
Setting the strategy
Less is more
Every brand dreams of going viral, but developing a viral campaign isn't easy. A good place to start is to keep the project timeline short. By doing so, fewer people will know about the projects and weigh in unnecessarily, slowing down the overall process.
If you're encouraging creativity, give your team the room to run with an idea—and stop crushing fun ideas with too many notes.
The Bolt creative team had just five days to execute and that constraint removed unnecessary roadblocks that could stop the creativity from flowing. Importantly, the Bolt creative team had executive trust from the beginning—so, no additional hoops to jump through.
Appeal to emotions and memories
Focusing on the uniqueness of your brand will also help your brand resonate with your target audience. Bolt revived a nostalgic ad starring singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan to create a viral hit to raise awareness for the 70% of online shopping carts left abandoned each day at the checkout page.
The original ad for the ASPCA was a call to save abandoned animals and raise awareness around animal cruelty. If you ever watched TV in the 2000s, you'll probably immediately recognize the ad—and might have even shed a tear or two. By leveraging nostalgia, Bolt was able to capitalize on the trend of reviving popular pop culture moments.
"Nostalgia is always on-trend," said Meg Ciarallo, VP of Brand Marketing at Bolt. "As a marketer, it's one of the most powerful ways to connect with your audience and show them you really understand them."
Companies don't have to hire a celebrity for their ad to go viral—admittedly, it does help. For example, blender manufacturer Blendtec launched this viral ad campaign experimenting with different items–from iPhones to imitation diamonds–to see if it will blend. Another example is Dollar Shave Club's ad, where the founder speaks directly to their target audience using deadpan humor against a backdrop of absurd, yet hilarious antics.
Launching a viral campaign
At the end of 5 days, Bolt successfully launched a video campaign that has garnered more than 14 million organic and paid views in the first week alone.
As a throwback to the original ad, Bolt even donated money to the ASPCA and hosted a special section of the Bolt Collective store where animal lovers can buy "Rescue Cart" merchandise. The success of the campaign showed that you can poke fun at things while still honoring their causes.
Even if you can't afford to donate a lot of money to a cause, consumers are still more responsive to businesses that give back and do good. Many small businesses have found creative ways of giving back such as providing services to a local community. For example, bed and bath retailer Cariloha products are carbon neutral and they provide local recycling services for typically non-recyclable post-consumer textiles. When you buy from Voguewigs.com, the company donates 10% of your order value to the National Breast Cancer Foundation or National Alopecia Areata Foundation, which aligns closely with the values of their brand.
Spinning up marketing gold involves taking risks and giving permission to run ahead with creative ideas. Whether it's abandoned carts or selling more bologna, humor is a great way to create a viral moment around your brand. If you want to help rescue abandoned carts from the cruel and exhausting checkout process, visit bolt.com/carts to see what a difference one-click checkout can make for millions of carts.