Bob Garfield

Secret tactics for making your video go viral

  • Previous
  • 1 of 2
  • View as single page

Dove's "Real Beauty Sketches" didn't go viral all on its own. Here are the three ways Unilever ignited massive sharing -- and how you can do the same.

By now, almost everyone has heard of Dove's incredibly successful viral video, "Real Beauty Sketches." The popularity of this video is partly attributed to its amazing content, but according to Unilever VP of Global Media Innovation and Ventures Babs Rangaiah, there was some serious behind-the-scenes activity that took place to make this piece of content a viral sensation.

First and foremost, your online video must be good. No level of tactics or strategies will cause people to share a video if it is not good, compelling content. However, once you've created a high quality online video, there are steps you can take from Unilever's approach for achieving the highest level of popularity possible. Here's what they are.

Tapping into the power of PR promotion

PR can be an amazing way to spread the news about your online video. If your content is controversial, compelling, edgy, or emotional, a few good PR announcements can create some amazing, quality buzz. For Dove's "Real Beauty Sketches," the emotional and revealing nature of the video was intense enough for public relations firms to write about it in droves. Unilever also did its own PR push, ensuring that the video would gain the necessary heat needed to get people to watch it and start a fire of sharing.

Behind-the-scenes media buying

Whether you realized it or not, Unilever promoted this video and its message through strategic behind-the-scenes media buying and campaign execution. Obviously, the "Real Beauty Sketches" is itself a big Unilever ad campaign and a part of Dove's "campaign for real beauty." However, to achieve a high level of virality, Unilever needed to promote the video through outlets other than YouTube, word-of-mouth, and individual sharing. If you can keep the creative non-promotional, media buying is a great way to advertise your video's existence and promote views. Remember that views lead to shares, and shares lead to virality.

Translation production for different countries

Unilever knows that we live in a global world, especially online. While most brands don't put too much effort into diversifying their online video content for different countries, Unilever made a huge effort to make sure that Dove's "Real Beauty Sketches" was translated in multiple languages so that many countries could be seamlessly exposed to the content. This simple, yet brilliant touch was a way for Unilever to drive huge global views.

Babs Rangaiah speaks to iMedia about the three biggest ways Unilever was able to drive huge shares for Dove's "Real Beauty Sketches," and take it from the dozens of millions to the hundreds of millions of views.