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Is Viral the Future of Advertising?

Borla_2Over at the LA Times, Chris Gaither has a excellent recap of the state of viral marketing, including a revealing case study with Borla Performance Industries. It goes step-by-step through how to create and support a viral advertisement.

LA Times: A Web Contagion by Chris Gaither (Free registration required. Via AAF SmartBrief.)

Marketers like viral videos because they're relatively cheap. They only have to pay to produce the video, not to buy air time. News Corp.'s Fox television network, for instance, charges as much as $613,000 to broadcast a 30-second spot during "American Idol," according to research firm Nielsen Monitor-Plus. But there are no guarantees.

Advertisers are still figuring out how to measure success in this new medium. They puzzle over why one spot spreads across the Web like wildfire, while others burn out.

Marketer Joseph Jaffe says viral ads can be funny, patriotic, heartwarming, gossipy or bizarre. But they can't be boring or sell too strongly. "People are very tuned into the fact that whatever you forward to your e-mail list says something about you," he wrote in his book, "Life After the 30-Second Spot." "And hardly anyone would ever send a salesman over to a friend's house."