I'm not sure what to make of Viral marketing. It's been around over 25 years, despite the fact some guy from Saatchi and Saatchi in Auckland, claimed he invented a new form of marketing called Whisper Advertising a couple of years ago.
Viral Marketing actually started in Chicago in the 80's when apparently Nintendo hired a company to do research on who are the most popular High School kids in various different schools, they then started up a database and sent the cool kids free stuff, in the hope that the nerds would see the kids using the products and thus, buy the products themselves.
It is used in many different ways, when Christina Aguilera released an album, her record label hired Teenage Models to hang out in various malls around the country to talk up the album, and say how much they love it.
Its common knowledge, that beverage companies would hire attractive men and woman to go into bars and start up conversations with the patrons, and on the sly, slip into the conversation the company's product.
Basically Viral Marketing is a form of a marketing to you, when you don't know your being marketed too.
Like anything that is Viral, it takes many forms. In a recent sport event in New Zealand called The Rugby Sevens, which is a festival type occasion where the crowd turns in Fancy Dress, it was strongly rumored that a lot of the crowd shots you saw on TV, were paid models dress up to give the TV audience a view that this events attracts the good looking young rich crowd.
Its also a practice that is used by many Rock Bands, the first few rows of a televised concert would never be sold to the public, but in the first row there will be a lot of good looking young woman, screaming and cheering.
An item on New Zealand TV , that is suppose to teach people how to cook good and quick food in a minute, its actually just an advert for a Certain Company.
I was on a bus a year ago, and three or four rather attractive ladies walked on, all wearing teeshirts that had "THE O.C" on it, they started to talk about how cool the programme is and how sexy it is.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not against Viral Marketing when its done in a positive sense, it's just lately its been done in a negative sense. Politicians hiring people to yell abuse at them, so they can garner public sympathy, rival record labels hiring people to write negative views of the Competition. People knocking certain TV programmes in the street. I once had a conversation with a guy about Broadband, he was saying how he hates his broadband provider, how they are real slow, he named the company several times, when he got into his car, he had the rival company logo on the door.
In summing up, I guess I would just say, if a Good looking Girl or Guy starts talking to you, if you overhear how great a new album is, if there seems to be a lot of good looking people at a certain sport event or concert on TV, if on the News the News readers in their so called spontaneous conversations start talking about a certain event, a certain person or product, you can probably be sure that you have just be Viral Marketed too.