Jean-Claude Van Damme and his epic split!

Its nearing the end of the semester and I’m finally on my last blogpost! I thought I’d finish off my blog with a post on viral marketing so that I could hear what you guys think about whether or not there is a “formula” for viral marketing or not!

According to Kaplan & Haenlein (2011), Viral marketing is “electronic world of mouth in which some form of marketing message related to a company, brand or product is transmitted in an exponentially growing way, often through the use of social media applications.”

So I’ve chosen to blog about a very known viral marketing video.
This if course would be Volvo’s 2013 campaign that features Jean-Claude Van Damme doing the splits on two reversing trucks. I’m sure everyone has seen this campaign before either on Facebook, Youtube or even in your Marketing Communications class (because thats where I first saw it!). But incase you haven’t, I’ll just embed it here:

The campaign was produced in order to demonstrate the stability and precision of Volvo Dynamic steering. While Volvo’s campaign was ultimately directed at businesses in an attempt at B2B marketing, it also managed to become a hybrid of B2B and B2C as Volvo shifted their focus to the end users who would be the truck drivers themselves, emphasising on the stability and precision of the steering that would ultimately make driving safer and easier. The message was memorable and interesting – which is one of the conditions required by Kaplan & Haenlein (2011).

Here are a few quick facts on the campaign itself:

  • Only four weeks after this campaign was released online, it had already taken place as “the most watched automotive commercial on Youtube ever” (MarketWatch, 2013).
  • Since today, the 28th May 2015, the video has been viewed on Youtube 79,148,002 times
  • It was also declared the big winner by advertising, interactive and brand entertainment (AdWeek, 2014)
  • Has been shared over 6 million times over social networks (MarketWatch, 2013).
  • World wide media coverage: the commercial was the topic of 20,000 editorial articles by 2013 (MarketWatch, 2013).
  • Volvo truck sales rose 31% after the campaign was released (Wall Street Journal, 2013)

But how did viral marketing help create value for Volvo? In an interview with Anders Vilhelmsson, PR director for Volvo Trucks in 2014, he mentioned that

  • This campaign was a very small investment with a very large return
  • A study conducted with 2,200 commercial truck owners/buyers/drivers said that they were more likely to make Volvo their next truck purchase after viewing the Live Test and Epic split videos
  • 33% of the participants then contacted their local Volvo dealership / website to learn more about the company and its products (AdWeek, 2014).

Volvo’s campaign with Van Damme was very different to other viral videos that usually aim to elicit humor (i.e. Dumb ways to die) and emotion (i.e. Dove real beauty sketches), because Volvo created a video that elicited awe. I literally could not blink until the end of the video the first time I watched it, because I did not know what was about to happen. I was left in a state of shock and awe and it was amazing!


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Source: Kaplan & Haenlein (2011)

If you follow this sequence then yes, the formula really did work for Volvo.

  1. It created word of mouth and encouraged individuals to share the video on social media (Facebook, Twitter)
  2. The growth and popularity of this video was very fast as it became “the most watched automotive commercial on Youtube ever” just after four weeks


Shortly after the release of the oh-so viral campaign, many other celebrities made spoof and parody videos such as Chuck Norris and Rob Ford, a politician in Canada. These viral videos would have created even more interest among viewers who would compare the videos among themselves.

In the end, because this was company initiated and the outcome was positive, according to Kaplan & Heinlein, it would be considered a triumph in its own right!

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Source: Kaplan  & Heinlein (2011)

Let me know what you think about this campaign and the figures! Do you think it was all luck? Or was it formulated for perfection? And what your favourite viral video of all time is!


Big data

This week I really racked my brain and really tried to understand “big data” in all of its entirety. After a whole heap of researching and reading articles provided on moodle, I think I finally get it (because I’m that slow! haha).

From my understanding, big data is a huge data set that is generally analysed by computer algorithms and other forms of computational analysis to reveal trends, patterns,  associations and correlations that are often related to human behaviour. Many believe that the growth big data could be the end of “small data” aka market research surveys and questionnaires.

Image Source

I came across a website/article that mentioned Red Roof Inn (a hotel chain) that used big data to increase its bookings by taking advantage of flight cancellations from a local airport. Red Roof Inn recognised that travellers of cancelled flights found it difficult to book accommodation after having their flights cancelled, and used information and data of hotel locations, airport locations, weather forecasts, travel conditions and cancellation rates to create an algorithm. With this algorithm and large amount of information, Red Roof Inn was able to use Search, PPC and SoLoMo mobile campaigns to execute the advertisements to travellers who’s flights had been cancelled or delayed through their mobile phones. The use of big data to create this targeted advertising allowed travellers to easily book a room at any local Red Roof Inn in over 17 states in the US.

The results? Red Roof Inn had obtained a 10% increase of business from 2013-2014. Red Roof Inn have clearly taken advantage of data and it has given them a competitive advantage over other hotel chains.

However there are a few questions that arise with the coming of big data, like:

  • What does this mean for call centres/surveys and their analytics?
  • What about our privacy and how can we protect ourselves?

One great example of a violation of privacy was the example Kristel and Tor mentioned in the lecture about Target and the pregnancy prediction algorithm. By just pinpointing the few things a customer had purchased at Target, the company was able to identify that she was pregant when her family did not even know themselves.

Image source

What do you think about Big Data? And also, what do you think it means for call centers and market researchers who take surveys for small data? I’d love to hear what you guys have to say!

Roberts, K. (2013). Big Data Pandemic. A Whitepaper from Roberts Research, August.

Schaeffer, C. (2015). 5 Retail Big Data Examples. Retrieved 18 May 2015, from

Mobile marketing

While doing my company report this week, I came across a really interesting website that had a few interesting facts:

  • The percentage of Australians owning 3 electronic devices – a smartphone, a tablet and a laptop – has climbed to 53 per cent, from 28 per cent last year – Deloitte Australia, July 2014
  •  56% of Australians own a tablet device up 12% over the past 12 months – Sensis eBusiness Report, September 2014
  •  77% of Australians now own a smartphone up 5% over the past 12 months – Sensis eBusiness Report, September 2014
  • 55% of mobile web users now use mobile as either their primary or exclusive means of going online, an increase from 40 percent in 2013 – InMobi Report

Source: Digital marketing lab

These were the findings in October of 2014 and obviously since then the numbers would have changed. However the last dot point had me thinking really hard and I realised that a lot of different brands were taking advantage of these facts, with mobile marketing.

One campaign that really stood out to me was the Nivea Sun Kids (The Protective Ad) campaign which won awards and was featured in multiple marketing and digital marketing articles. This campaign is not only about sun and skin protection – but Nivea also acknowledges that protection for children around large quantities of water is second to none!

What Nivea has done is attached a bracelet with a protector strip that can be wrapped around a childs wrist just like a watch in a magazine, the parents then download the Nivea app (free on the app store) and connect the bracelet with the app. Parents are then able to set the distance in which their children can wonder and if the child goes beyond this point the app will begin to beep and alert the parents.

Source: Mintel

The reason in which this campaign was so incredibly successful was because the entire concept did not feel like an advertisement or a form of marketing. The campaign itself was positioned so that consumers felt like Nivea was looking out for their skin and their children.

Nivea clearly understand who their target market is – they are not young teenage girls – but are women with children and families who need protection for their children and skin; and this is what marketers need to take away from this campaign.

HOWEVER, not every company has the insane budget that Nivea has. Surely this campaign would have cost an arm and 2 legs!

Another very successful mobile marketing campaign was the development of the Northface mobile application. Northface only required that users download the app, put in the mobile phone numbers and Northface would send them a notification every time they were in walking distance of a shop. Northface has also remembered to take into account their target market and have even been able to tailor the text message with accordance to the weather of the located area the customer is in.

Here are some things to take away from this blog. Mobile marketing is successful if:

  • You know your target market
  • You understand what your target market need
  • Your app is innovative and different

Do you use any applications to purchase items or receive notifications? And if you do, what are they?

The Roadtrip, powered by Contiki

No one likes a sponsored video or post nowadays. However most bloggers or vloggers are more than happy to receive free items and review them in favour of the company that sent them! Why? Because its more content on their blogs/channels and it also entitles them to free items from the company. Im sure everyone has watched a video or two where it was blatantly obvious that the individual was sponsored by a specific company. How did it make you feel? Did it make you feel …

  1. Like you couldn’t trust this blogger/individual anymore?
  2. Like all of their credibility just got flushed down the toilet with all the BS they’re saying?

Because thats exactly how I felt, especially when it came to products that I couldn’t actually determine if they were working or not on the blogger (i.e. skin care and detox teas/smoothies).

I think sponsored posts are unfair to readers/viewers because the information given might not be a true representation of the authors opinions and hence they are just eating up false information!

HOWEVER, recently a few of my favourite Youtubers went on a trip to South east Asia which was “powered” by Contiki and in partnership with AirAsia (smart use of words) and it felt like less of an advertisement than a regular sponsored post would. Youtubers like Jesse and Jeana from PVP/BFvsGF, Chloe Morello, Louis Cole and Jamie Curry all set out on a 7 day road trip in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.

It was very clever of Contiki & AirAsia to create a program called the RoadTrip because it enabled for them to get free advertising on many platforms of social media, the main ones being YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! And by utilising the hastags #NOREGRETS #RoadTrip15 and tagging @Contiki, the loyal followers of these YouTube stars were able to experience their trip with them.

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The difference between Contiki’s take on a “sponsored” trip and company’s sponsored posts through bloggers/vloggers, is that the viewers are also able to experience South East Asia with the YouTubers through videos and photos, making it more involving and authentic. Channels that have already incorporated daily vlogs like BFvsGF are able to capture every moment of their trip and upload it onto YouTube! It is obvious through these vlogs and posts on social media that the YouTubers involved are really having a great time and are not forced to create false advertising for Contiki.

Additionally, the great thing about this whole campaign is that the YouTube stars are so different from one another and have acquired different kinds of followers. Not only that but they have a strong fan base in which they have a close online relationship with, which creates trust. We have Chloe Morello who is a beauty guru with a large Australian fan base, Jesse and Jeana who make prank videos, Louis Cole who eats live bugs and Jamie Curry who has a large New Zealand fanbase (just to name a few). By having such a diverse set of YouTubers join in on the RoadTrip, Contiki are able to create cover a large variety of possible viewers. This could be a great take-away tip for marketers who are looking to promote their products – always extend your target market, but keep it focused on what you are offering!

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I’m not a huge fan of sponsored posts at all, however Contiki’s clever take on this has really opened my eyes! I have been to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia before but just the way in which Jesse and Jeana’s vlogs portrayed the Contiki activities, made me really want to go back; but with a Contiki tour group!

So what are your thoughts? Have there been any sponsored posts in which you thought were actually great? And if you have time, feel free to check out these vlogs! They made south east Asia look really fun! 🙂

A grande soy latte, 2 sugars for “Stiffany!”

Have you ever gone to Starbucks, ordered a drink, and had your name spelled incorrectly? I have, multiple times! With variations from Stephanie to Stiffany, its hard to believe that a name like Tiffany can really be misspelt.

At Starbucks, there is a policy in which staff members are required to write customers names on their cups. This is meant to “personalise” the relationship between the customer and also the Barista. However, often customers names are spelled incorrectly which prompts the customers into taking a photo of the error and uploading it onto multiple social media platforms.

Source: Click here

For an extensive list of hilarious Starbucks spelling errors, click here!

Soon enough, there were Facebook pages and Tumblr blogs dedicated to Starbucks name fails, receiving a mass number of followers and reposts . A comedian by the named of Paul Gale, even made a video on YouTube dedicated to this topic and it went viral instantly. The video is currently sitting on a little over 9 million views and has been shared extensively by the likes of the Huffington Post, Forbes, Buzzfeed and many other third party websites. In this video, Paul plays a character who is a worker at Starbucks and writes names wrong on purpose! One part of the video which stood out to me was when he spelled Jessica’s name as “Gessika” and she “posted it on Instagram, Twitter and Vine.” Additionally, my favourite part was when he spelled Valluru’s name correctly and it made him feel pleasantly surprised!

Source: Click here

Source: Click here

Though some customers do get a little irritated when their names are spelled wrong (like Virginia into Vagina), others may see the lighter side of things and laugh! According to Roger Dooleys post on Forbes, “There’s evidence that when one’s brain is expecting one thing and is delivered another, attention and interest spike. That’s the basis of most jokes, and was also a favorite linguistic technique of Shakespeare. (See Shakespeare Copywriting.)”

I think it’s hilarious that just from bad spelling by staff members, Starbucks has been able to capitalise on this, even though they haven’t spent a single dollar on this particular kind of marketing! Other people have publicized their brand through social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr and it generates curiosity and interest in the minds of social media users, making them want to go out and buy a Starbucks coffee for themselves. I have a few friends who have names of other languages and they have bought Starbucks just to see how their names will be spelled!

So what are your thoughts on this? Do you think that these name fails are actually good for Starbucks’ image? Or is it damaging because people may get annoyed? And finally, Has YOUR name ever been misspelled?

To Tinder or not to Tinder?

Tinder is the new dating app that connects people of close proximity. It uses Facebook accounts to analyse information of users and match candidates based on location, mutual friends and interests. By being able to anonymously reject or accept matches, Tinder has become a very popular medium for online dating.

Naturally, most people view Tinder as a place to spark new relationships. However recently, users of the App Tinder in Austin at the SXSW festival encountered something different – a beautiful woman by the name of Ava.

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Once the users have swiped right for Ava, she started asking a list of unusual questions.

What the users didn’t know, was that this woman was actually a Swedish actress by the name of Alicia Vikander who stars in the upcoming movie “Ex Machina” as a robot , which is what they are secretly marketing for on Tinder.

Whats clever about this tactic is that it builds up and prompts the user to check out her Instagram page which is about the film.


By choosing to launch this on the SXSW festival, Ex Machina was able to target those who were the target audience of the film; those who are technology savvy and also those who would be fascinated by this kind of marketing as it is unique and personal.

What do you think about this marketing campaign? Do you think it was successful in attracting an audience, or do you think it made people feel betrayed?

Getting interactive with Honda.

What are the first few words you think of when the brand ‘Honda’ is mentioned? Here are a few of mine:

  • Japanese
  • Technology
  • Reliable
  • Innovation
  • Racing

In a trailer recently released, two sides of Honda are embodied; the racing side and also the innovative side. By working with Wieden + Kennedy London, Honda has created a 3 minute trailer of its upcoming Civic Type R which is tastefully named “The Other Side.” This short trailer is about a man who lives a double life, where each side of him can be revealed by just pressing R, and is represented by day and night.

I think that this is an incredible piece of digital marketing. It demonstrates that even though this car is just like an ordinary car, viewers should not forget that it is also a race car. By pressing the letter R to change the view, Honda are reiterating the fact that it is a Honda type R, which is the “highest performance version of the Honda Civic made by Honda Motor Company of Japan.”

By being interactive, this advertisement/trailer sets itself apart from regular car advertisements which only allow you to watch idly. Furthermore, it has no mention of price or what the car comes with, which creates mystery and encourages viewers to be more active and involved in seeking out information. By allowing customers to be in charge of researching and increasing the customer involvement, it tricks them into thinking that they were not persuaded into buying it, but it was actually their idea all along! People love thinking that their actions are the result of their own ideas! (I know I do)

Lastly, Honda is allowing you to personalise the way you view the trailer, just as you are able to personalise the car itself. Every aspect of this advertisement is perfect in my eyes!

Here is the link to the actual video itself, Honda has taken it off Youtube as of recently, and it can only be viewed on this website here:

Tell me what you think of the trailer and if you liked it or not!
For me, this trailer is one of my top 3 favourite ads and I think it’ll stay there for a while, as I’ve yet to see any better.