Buy Me, Maybe?

Every so often, there’s a song so simple yet catchy that everyone knows the chorus. And right now, love it or hate it, that song is definitely “Call Me, Maybe?” Wherever you turn, everyone from Olympians to even the president is covering the song (okay, so he’s not really singing it, but close enough).

Since the song is so viral, I began to think about the pros and cons of using current viral content in advertising. The idea is similar to using memes in advertising, which has already been done. Just as I was pondering the possibilities, I learned that Urban Decay was having a sale, and make-up junkie that I am I diligently went to their website, only to see this scrolling banner:

Pardon their French.

Given Urban Decay’s target audience (trendy, edgy women) and their brand image (darker and more risqué than typical makeup brands… just look at the names of their eye shadows), I thought this take on the lyrics was spot on. And since they are only using the song in the banner for the duration of their sale, it’s guaranteed that customers will only see the promotion while the song is still popular.

To me, those two elements are key to using viral content in advertising: the content resonates with the target audience and the content doesn’t become dated. Just because content is popular does not mean that it will immediately be a good fit with all brands, and I think that in this case giving the lyrics a more Urban Decay flair felt more genuine than using a blander version. And the lifespan of viral content is unpredictable, so planning a short-term campaign is a better way to go.

How do you think marketers can take advantage of viral content before it grows stale?

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