A combination of cultural and social triggers can create remarkable outcomes. Take, for instance, the Gangnam Style video on YouTube, which went viral not so long ago. Decomposing the structure of Gangnam Style (beyond the song itself) to identify the planned virality and network effect of the piece has been attempted before.
A few factors that can help achieve virality are:
• Use the popularity and/ or notoriety of a star
• Add a supporting cast that has large and varied social followings
• Connect via a cultural meme (in this case the K Pop diaspora) to the world at large
However, for brand owners, such planned virality is harder to conceive and execute. Using its own cocktail of highly nuanced social triggers, Nestle in India has recently launched a corporate campaign via its agencies McCann Erickson, ZenithOptimedia and Maxus, called ‘shareyourgoodness’, or perhaps more relevantly, #shareyourgoodness.
There are four aspects of this campaign that are worthy of note; the first three were strongly noted in the Twitter stream that followed the release of the film:
1. The film features an adopted child. Adoption is a positive cultural theme as it enables more children to ascend the social and economic ladder in a massively complex and populated society.
2. The adopted child is both female and of more Japanese than Indian appearance, which defy traditional adoption conventions and allow a more complex narrative of "acceptance and embracing" by the boy of the girl.
3. The acceptance takes place in the context of sharing food, a truly ancient symbol of sharing, and the heart of Nestle’s business, but critically the foods are home made and NOT Nestle products, allowing the mandolin separation of content marketing and corporate branding from advertising..
4. It’s three minutes long (there are many other more conventional units). This simply makes the point that brand communication is no longer constrained by the time/ cost containers of traditional media and creates a creative freedom that can then unlock other shorter and lighter executions for distribution in conventional media channels.
You can watch the video here:
So, this is far from a literal iteration of the Gangnam Style virality formula, but structurally, there is commonality in the design of individual socially relevant and slightly provocative components woven together into a broader narrative. In aggregate, this points to another step in the evolving architecture of brand and corporate communication.
This is creativity that is ‘social by design’. It remains to be seen just how shared #shareyourgoodness will be, but 7 million or so total views to date suggest something of value, especially as the majority of the views of the longer version have been organic rather than paid and significant numbers of these have been outside India.
The author is Chief Digital Officer, GroupM.