Digital MarketingContent MarketingViral marketing: Lessons from the world record egg

Viral marketing: Lessons from the world record egg

A picture of an egg beat Kylie Jenner for the most popular post on Instagram. It got 52 million likes, compared to her 18 million. What can the egg teach us about viral marketing?

You know, some religions think that the egg is the symbol of the soul,  did you know that? – Louis Cyphre, Angel Heart (1987)

This dialogue is from Angel Heart, a 1987 American cult neo-noir psychological horror film from Alan Parker. In one famous scene of this film Louis Cypher (Robert De Niro) meticulously crushes an egg’s shell and informed the hero Angel about the symbolic meaning of the eggs to some religion. I will not go on detail about the film, which is really a great one, because I am here writing about viral marketing. In this piece of writing, egg has a huge importance. I am not sure is it really symbol of the soul or not, but I am sure egg can be used as a material for going viral in this age of internet.

picture of simple brown eggs

In this culture of internet, people are following trends blindly. From a viral marketing perspective this is a golden opportunity for the marketers. If you can create a viral trend of anything in social media, you can generate huge traffic, likes or gain other recognition fast.

Recently, an egg become viral in social media, and then on the whole internet.

4 January, 2019 an Instagram account posted a picture of simple egg, with these lines,

“Let’s set a world record together and get the most liked post on Instagram. Beating the current world record held by Kylie Jenner (18 million)! We got this.”

the picture of the world record egg on Instagram

Eventually they broke the record and got more than 52 million likes!

I have searched in Google by “World Record Egg” at the end of January, and got something like  this,

Google search for "world record egg" at the end of January

The news was like that, Ishan Goel, a 19 year old marketer is behind this viral egg. But this is not true. According to trusted sources like The New York Times, 29 years old advertising creative of ‘The & Partnership in London’ Chris Godfrey (and his friends working with him) was actually behind this egg hack. Some media sources credited Goel early on, and I don’t know why he also took that credit happily. Shame!

Previously most ‘liked’ picture on Instagram was celebrity and businesswoman Kyle Jenner’s post about her infant daughter. Currently the egg picture has 52 million likes, which is more than double Jenner’s 19 million likes.

Though Mr. Godfrey is saying that all likes of the egg post were completely organic, we can look deep into it, and find a general recipe for a potential viral post.

Vox Populi and creative thinking

First of all, you have to come up with a really creative idea. You can brainstorm with your marketing team and create a simple but great content. Brainstorming and collaborative work can be very useful here as wisdom of the crowd in some aspects more powerful than expert knowledge.

What is wisdom of the crowd or Vox Populi?

In 1906 English polymath Sir Francis Galton made the discovery of Vox populist or the wisdom of crowds. He was in a farmers’ fair in Plymouth. There was a weight guessing contest going on that fair. Galton became intrigued by it. The goal of that contest was to guess the weight of an ox when it was butchered and dressed. Around 800 people participated in the contest and submitted their guess written on a ticket. The person who guessed most accurately / closest to the butchered wight of the ox won the prize.

After the contest Galton collected all the tickets. Galton was also a great statistician. He ran a statistical analysis on the collected tickets to find the average guess. He amazingly discovered that the average guess of all the participants was remarkably close to the actual butchered ox. It was only 1lb lower. The average guess was 1,197 lbs and the actual weight of the dressed ox was 1,198 lbs. So, the collective guess was better, even better than the experts who entered in that guessing competition.

In creative thinking you can follow this Vox Populi concept to find better ideas.

We all know, creativity is not just about information rather it is an act of turning new ideas, imaginative ideas into reality, a wonderful ability to see the world in new ways. The new way of looking will find hidden patterns and will solve problems by making connection with seemingly unrelated dots.

Anti-celebrity bias

Anastasia Denisova, a researcher of internet memes at the University of Westminster saying “There is a bit of an anti-celebrity revolt here – ‘look what we can do with a simple egg.’

This is a strong point. Anything symbolizing anti-celebrity culture or anti-consumerism can get viral fast.

And also, here people saw just an egg, nothing else. No marketing agency or product was behind that. It was just an innocent egg. That motivate people to participate in the egg gang.

Point here, hide your motive. Make it look innocent and simple, but symbolizing some bigger thing.

Networking

Some speculation out there that marketer behind the record egg post paid influencers to make it viral. Mr. Godfrey rejected such speculation claiming all the likes and this viral phenomena of egg was purely organic.

We can take this speculation as a kind of conspiracy theory and we can not reject it entirely. Lebanese–American scholar Nassim Taleb’s remark about conspiracy can be mentioned here, “It is as irrational to reject all conspiracy theories as it is to accept them.”

Paying influencers can be a good way to make your awesome post viral.

You can use a reddit growth hack.

1. Choosed the most suitable subreddit for your post.

2. Find the moderators using this URL: reddit.com/r/subredditname/about/moderators (replace subredditname using your target subreddit name.)

Example, I can get moderators of r/books by going to reddit.com/r/books/about/moderators:

screenshot of reddit

3. Click on the moderator’s name you want to connect.

4. Click on the “Chat” button to send a message to the moderator.

how to send a message to a moderator on reddit

5. Ask the moderator to promote your post.

You can do the same with related popular Facebook pages.

Reddit is a very powerful source of traffic. Being in the top of any popular subreddit will drive huge traffic to your site. I experienced this once, to one of my blogs in 2014. Here is the picture of that day real time traffic,

screenshot of driving traffic to your site via reddit, shows 743 active visitors on site

Give them back, encourage team spirit

Mr. Godfrey incorporated user generated content into the egg’s Instagram account as stories, which amplified the audiences. This was a very good marketing hack.

They shouted out followers in the egg’s account, so the growing audiences felt that they were genuinely a part of the egg gang, and they played as a team to spread it around the internet world. Even the #egggang hashtag gave them a internet identity. So, this egg became the most ‘liked’ online post in any media platform in history so far.

I don’t know what was the actual reason of this viral egg marketing. One marketer claimed that if you want to partner with the egg’s account it may cost you $10 million at least.

The Marketers of the world record egg recently produced a commercial about the egg and aired on the streaming service Hulu. The video showing us social media pressure on mental health. The Marketers are saying they are not much interested in money, but rather in spreading positivity and in raising awareness about mental health.

Muradul Islam is a Business Analyst at weDevs.com. You can find him on Twitter @muradt20

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