This is a refrain used indiscriminately these days by marketers and agencies alike.
Very often one attends meetings wherein the client and agency discuss animatedly about doing a viral. The result: A TV Commercial which in the best of times would have been the cause of severe migraine is uploaded on to YouTube or the company website or emailed to unsuspecting victims. The client and agency pat each other on the back and the poor viewer who is subjected to this soaks his or her head in cold water.
This is not a viral by any stretch of imagination.
Faris Yakob has summed it in his inimitable style – “Viral is a thing that happens, not a thing that is.” To reinforce this further he has come up with a very strong blog on ‘spreadable media’ with a wonderful video which is spreading like (you guessed it right), a viral!
However, if one still wants to see examples of good viral that are truly viral, take a look at Ignites pick of Top 5 Viral Marketing in 2008. Hope it gives you an idea or two for your brand.