There’s a fantastic presentation doing the rounds from Jonah Peretti, chief executive of US firm Buzzfeed, on viral marketing. Peretti is an old hand at this – when he was still a student an email exchange between him and Nike became a viral hit (he was asking Nike for customised shoes with the word ‘sweatshop’ on them).
In the presentation he presents five tips for how to make content go viral, including the advice to ‘Be a Mormon, not a Jew’. But the most eye-catching conclusion, and the one that probably resonates most with those in the marketing profession, is the idea of the ‘Bored at work network’, or BWN.
This isn’t exactly a new idea, but Peretti distils it nicely. There are, he says, millions of bored office workers, making up a network ‘bigger than the BBC, CNN or any traditional media network’. They spend their time instant messaging, emailing and browsing social networks in a desperate attempt to make it through to the end of the day. All they’re looking for is something mildly stimulating; and if it’s entertaining enough they’ll pass it on.
There are plenty of viral campaigns on the Warc site that show how this can work. Recent Warc prize entrants such as Tourism Queensland and T-Mobile are good examples of campaigns with low budgets and big BWN appeal. As an idea, it’s worth bearing in mind. Next time you’re wondering whether your virals have what it takes, find a bored office worker (there’s probably one in your IT department right now) and see what they think!
Check out the presentation – it’s not long but there are some interesting ideas in there.
Jonah Peretti Viral Meetup Talk