From subservient chickens to brawny men: A comparison of viral advertising to television advertising

Tags: advertising, viral advertising, provocative content, television advertising, Adweek, advertisement, Subservient Chicken, traditional advertising, television advertisements, New York, fashion industries, mass communication, pharmaceutical industry, Chi Square analysis, fashion industry, accessed, media and entertainment industry, Louisiana State University, New York Times, viral advertisement, communication, Lycos Viral Chart, Jack G. Kaikati, Journal of Advertising Research, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, television, sex appeals, industry categories, television ads, viral marketing, Hotmail, post hoc analysis, Steve Jurvetson, online advertising
Content: From Subservient Chickens to Brawny Men: A Comparison of Viral Advertising to Television Advertising Lance Porter Louisiana State University Guy J. Golan Louisiana State University Table of Contents Abstract Introduction Literature Review o What is Viral Marketing? o Viral Content o Examples of Viral Advertising o Defining Viral Advertising Method Results Discussion Limitations and future research References Abstract This study sought to examine and define a division of Electronic Word-of-Mouth (eWOM) known as viral advertising. Representing the first empirical effort to investigate the content of, and ultimately define, viral advertising, this exploratory study found important differences between viral and television advertising. The definition posited in this study was confirmed. Significantly more than traditional advertising, viral advertising relies on provocative content to motivate unpaid peer-to-peer communication of persuasive messages from identified sponsors. While emotive content has always been the key to capturing audiences' attention in advertising, viral advertising relies on increasingly raw content for actual distribution. This added reliance on titillation for distribution has a number of implications both for advertisers and the ultimate consumers of advertising. Introduction Recent media reports have heralded the end of advertising as we know it. With the increasing penetration of digital video recorders (DVRs), the New York Times and Wall Street Journal both recently declared that the future of the 30second spot is in doubt (Manly 2005; Steinberg 2004). A current Yankelovich survey (Wegert 2004) found that 65 percent of consumers feel bombarded with too many advertising messages, and 60 percent have a more negative opinion of advertising than a few years ago. The same study found that almost 60 percent of consumers felt that advertising had nothing relevant to offer them. Media fragmentation is on the rise with consumers having an everincreasing number of channels from which to choose. Network television ratings are down, while television upfront costs are up for media buyers (Thomaselli 2004). Increasingly the consumer is in control. What's an advertiser to do? Many advertisers are choosing to embed their products in truly compelling content. They are going viral. The pages of recent newspapers and trade journals have been full of reports of controversies generated by so-called "viral" content, viral projects out for bid, or the results of successful viral campaigns from a wide variety of established 30
companies such as Toyota, Doritos, BMW, Burger King, Volkswagen, Anheuser Busch, and Virgin. But what exactly is viral advertising? How are advertisers using this technique? What makes advertising viral? What are the creative consequences and opportunities of the viral trend in advertising? While the popular and trade press have recently focused extensively on the practice and risks of "viral marketing," "viral communication," "buzz marketing," "stealth marketing," "word-of-mouth marketing," "electronic word-of-mouth advertising (eWOM)" and of course, "viral advertising," almost no scholarly work has been conducted in this area, and no study has focused specifically on the commercial use of the viral concept from an advertising perspective. This study attempted to define a subsection of eWOM known as "viral advertising" and presented one of the first empirical examinations of this new online advertising technique. Through a content analysis of viral and television brand advertisements, we identified the elements that distinguish and define viral advertising and relate our findings to the future of online advertising. Literature Review What is Viral Marketing? Steve Jurvetson and Tim Draper from the venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) coined the term "viral marketing" in 1996. They were describing the DFJ marketing strategy of the free email service Hotmail, which involved the tactic of appending messages originating from Hotmail accounts with the tag line "Get your private, free e-mail from Hotmail at http://www.hotmail.com" (Jurvetson 2000). Using this technique, Hotmail managed to exceed 10 million users in a mere seven months. In comparison, radio and television took 20 and 10 years, respectively, to gain the same number of users (Pavlik and McIntosh 2004). Prior to launching this campaign, Jurvetson had consulted his physician wife about the anatomy of a sneeze, learning that each sneeze releases 2 million particles (Kharif 2000). Similarly, Hotmail was passed from user to user, with each new user clicking on the link at the end of an email they received. Helm (2000) used the Hotmail case to interpret viral marketing as a method of both marketing and distribution, describing viral marketing as "a communication and distribution concept that relies on customers to transmit digital products via electronic mail to other potential customers in their social sphere and to animate these contacts to also transmit the products" (p. 159). However, this definition limits viral marketing to those products available digitally. How can the viral concept be used to distribute information about non-digital products? In defining successful "viral communication," Welker (2002) expanded upon the Hotmail example to include this possibility, describing "strategies that allow an easier, accelerated, and cost reduced [sic] transmission of messages by creating environments for a self-replicating, exponentially increasing diffusion, spiritualization, and impact of the message" (p. 4). To use the Hotmail model successfully with other products would require: 1) free products or services, 2) easy transmission, 3) exploitation of common human motivations, 4) use of existing social networks, and 5) use of others' resources and infrastructure. Wilson (2000) added 6) scalability to this same list of requirements for success in viral marketing, stating that businesses should be prepared for rapid growth if they are to implement viral methods. Viral Content Welker's (2002) "common human motivations" referred to the required incentive for consumers to share or pass along viral material; "Ideally, niches of needs and market gaps are filled with funny ideas" (p. 6). However, Welker's conceptualization only focused on those products or services available for free. Gladwell (2002) expanded the viral concept to content when he speaks of "stickiness": In epidemics, the messenger matters: messengers are what make something spread. But the content of the message matters too. And the specific quality that a message needs to be successful is the quality of "stickiness." Is the message--or the food, or the movie, or the product--memorable? Is it so memorable, in fact, that it can create change, that it can spur someone to action? (p. 92). This "stickiness" in the viral marketing context is what would spur consumers to pass along viral information. Does every campaign lend itself to a viral campaign? Rosen (2000) warned that viral marketing may be overused as a concept to push products that are not inherently viral, As with other tools, there will always be those marketing people who will use a new concept ad nauseam. Viral marketing is a hot concept as I am typing these words, but I won't be surprised if 31
by the time you read this, a backlash is being felt. As customers, and as friends of other customers, we can fight the avalanche of these tell-a-friend e-mails, e-cards, and coupons by using our judgment about what to forward and what not to. There are some viruses you'd rather not catch (p. 201). While keeping in mind the dangers of overusing viral techniques, others have also noted the negative connotations of the word "viral" and wished to avoid using the term at all. Thomas (2004) pronounced the term "viral marketing" as "retired," preferring instead the term "buzz marketing." His definition of the "ultimate buzz" involved providing "exceptional value." However, what about those lower involvement products that are closer to commodities that cannot provide that unique selling proposition as envisioned by Rosser Reeves whereby advertising messages focus on features unique to a particular product? Traditionally, those products have turned toward the more consumeroriented creative strategies of brand image, lifestyle marketing, or resonance-type strategies. Even with these reservations, "viral" seems to have caught on with the popular and trade press. According to Wilson (2000), despite the best efforts of many great minds examining these methods of marketing, the term viral marketing has endured: Off the Internet, viral marketing has been referred to as "word-of-mouth," "creating a buzz," "leveraging the media," and "network marketing." But on the Internet, for better or worse, it's called "viral marketing." While others smarter than I have attempted to rename it, to somehow domesticate and tame it, I won't try. The term "viral marketing" has stuck. Focusing on electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM), Phelps et al. (2004) conducted an important early study examining consumer responses and motivations to pass along email. Through focus groups, a content analysis, and intensive interviews, these researchers recommended that advertisers focus on "desires for fun, entertainment and social connections" (p. 345). The following section outlines some recent examples of viral advertising that have been widely covered in the popular press. These examples seem to be following Phelps et al.'s recommendation. Examples of Viral Advertising Companies are now taking the lessons learned from Hotmail and applying them to advertising content to create viral advertising. In 2002, London ad agency Leo Burnett posted on the industry Web site adcritic.com a digital version of a television advertisement featuring a fisherman kickboxing a large bear for a trophy salmon. The ad was so popular among practitioners, the clip was soon forwarded beyond the advertising community and to the general public, becoming a cult phenomenon (Howell 2003). Also in 2002, BMW spent more than $10 million on their popular BMW Films series, where they commissioned Hollywood directors to direct edgy short films featuring established stars careening around the screen in (and often destroying) BMWs. BMW distributed the films entirely on the World Wide Web and promoted each film strictly through viral marketing, attracting nearly 55 million viewers. BMW Films were still averaging 80,000 downloads daily two years after their release (Steinberg 2004). Creatively, the films were a success as well, launching the career of British actor Clive Owen (who was the only constant in all of the films) and earning the creative team the Grand Clio for 2002. More recently, Amazon used the same agency, Fallon, and creative team, Ridley and Tony Scott's RSA USA, to produce Amazon Films; short films distributed on Amazon.com featuring popular actors showcasing products available for sale on the site (Parpis 2004). Burger King utilized their "Have It Your Way" slogan to sell their new BK TenderCrisp chicken sandwich by introducing a Web site featuring the "Subservient Chicken." Visitors to this site were greeted by an actor dressed in a chicken suit and garter belt who appeared to respond to and attempt to act out any typed command. SubservientChicken.com attracted 14 million unique users in just under a year, and sales of the BK TenderCrisp sandwich reportedly increased 9 percent a week while the campaign was in full swing (Anderson 2005; Padgett 2004). The Subservient Chicken continues its improbable run as Advertising Week recently printed the top ten most typed commands to the chicken ("10 Most Popular Commands Issued to the Subservient Chicken" 2004). In the last few months, Georgia-Pacific has launched a tongue-in-cheek make over of the company's decades-old icon the Brawny Man into a sensitive guitar-strumming balladeer. To seed the campaign, Georgia-Pacific emailed the site devoted to the new Brawny Man to consumers who had signed up on one of the company's Web sites (www.allyourrooms.com) that provides tips on cooking, decorating, and cleaning. A regular television campaign is running along with the online campaign, depicting the new look for the company. Other recent viral advertising campaigns have not been so well received, and companies have had to move quickly to distance themselves from controversy created by the edgy content of viral ads. A recent "unauthorized" viral 32
advertisement depicted a suicide bomber exploding himself in a Volkswagen Polo outside an outdoor cafй and having the car completely absorb the blast. Widespread dissemination of this ad online resulted in a large public outcry, denial of involvement, and legal action from Volkswagen toward the ad's creators and finally an apology from the ad's creators. In the apology, the creators said they produced the spot independently on spec to get attention for their creative agency (Croft 2005; "Fake Ad Creators Issue Apology" 2005). Ford drew similar fire last year with their Ogilvy and Mather-produced Sportka advertisement depicting the car purposefully decapitating a cat with its sunroof. Ford insisted it rejected the ad, and claimed to have no part in its release (10 Follies 2004). Nokia also denied any part in a widely distributed clip depicting someone using the latest Nokia phone to videotape a cat swinging from a ceiling fan (Carson 2003). All of these examples illustrate one of the conceptual difficulties of viral advertising: one can never be sure if the content was created officially, as a joke, as "spec" work for creative credibility, or as a piece of "unofficial" guerilla marketing. The next section will attempt to use the definition of traditional advertising to formulate a conceptual definition of viral advertising. Defining Viral Advertising According to Wells, Moriarty, and Burnett (2000), advertising is "paid non-Personal communication from an identified sponsor using mass media to persuade or influence an audience" (p. 6). How is viral advertising different from traditional advertising? For starters there is no paid media involved. Viral advertising is typically seeded through existing email lists of loyal customers or through official company sites. In addition materials are often distributed through independent third-party sites on the World Wide Web that are known to compile viral materials (commercial and otherwise) such as Kontraband.com, the Lycos Viral Chart, Viralbank, or Punchbaby.com. While traditional advertising is non-personal, viral advertising is personal. Although the content is seeded as described above, the intent is for the content to eventually become viral and to be distributed by more trusted sources--friends or family. Word-of-mouth communication has been found to have more power than traditional advertising in that consumers receive the information from more credible sources (their peers) than from advertisers (Nyilasy 2004). Kaikati and Kaikati (2004) described the practice of "viral stealth marketing," whereby advertisers attempt to "fly below the consumers' radar" by recruiting "brand pushers" to pose as consumers. These brand pushers would then casually mention products in online communities in an attempt to generate positive online wordof-mouth for those products. "By generating word-of-mouth to create `authentic experiences,' viral marketing attempts to harness the strongest of all consumer triggers--the personal recommendation" (Kaikati and Kaikati 2004, p. 9). While viral advertising does not involve stealth tactics, advertisers still aim for personal recommendations. While sometimes not as overt as traditional advertising, viral advertising, like traditional advertising, is from an identified sponsor. Viral advertisers hope to associate the momentary good feeling experienced from the provocative content with the sponsor. Furthermore, while traditional advertising is defined as general communication, provocative content is also part of the equation for viral advertising. In order for the content to be passed on to others, the content must be somehow extraordinary. Viral advertisers up the quotient by making the content emotional or funny enough to justify passing it along to other users. Justin Kirby (2004), the founder of the recently established Viral and Buzz Marketing Association (VBMA) and CEO of DMC, a British firm that specializes in viral marketing, stated that if the content is provocative enough, the product does not have to provide exceptional value. "It avoids the need to have a product with a `wow' factor in order to generate buzz. Instead, the viral campaign's communication agent ­ often video-based advertainment content--is the element that needs a `wow' factor...The focus is on campaigns that consumers want to interact with" (Kirby 2004, p. 33). Traditional advertising uses forms of Mass Communication as a distribution channel for its messages. While parts of a viral campaign may incorporate mass communication, the viral advertisement is native to the Internet. Often referred to as network-enhanced word-of-mouth, viral advertising relies on the Internet for its unique ability to proliferate. Finally, both traditional and viral advertising are used to persuade or influence an audience. Therefore, viral advertising can be defined as follows: Viral advertising is unpaid peer-to-peer communication of provocative content originating from an identified sponsor using the Internet to persuade or influence an audience to pass along the content to others. Since our study represents one of the first empirical investigations of viral advertising, we investigated the following research questions: RQ1: Is there a difference between viral and television advertisements in terms of ad function? RQ2: Do viral advertisements differ from television advertisements in terms of advertising appeals? 33
RQ3: Do the advertising appeals used in viral ads depend on the nature of the industry linked to the product or service? Method This exploratory study represents the first empirical attempt to define viral advertising. To test these basic assumptions about the differences between viral and traditional advertising, the researchers analyzed a total of 501 advertisements. This sample included 235 television advertisements and 266 viral advertisements. The content analysis was conducted by two trained coders. The coders were earning advanced degrees in mass communication and were familiar with the concepts under investigation. In addition, training sessions were conducted with the coders to ensure knowledge of the concepts where the coders coded a number of sample ads in the presence of the researchers. The relatively new phenomenon of viral advertising required the use of a convenience sample of viral advertisements culled from an exhaustive search of the Web, several popular viral advertising seeding Web sites, and from several viral advertising firms' personal collections. These firms were contacted after their participation in the first annual Viral Awards, an international festival that recognizes the top creative in the viral advertising field (now known as the Future Marketing Awards). Unlike traditional television brand advertisements, peer-to-peer distribution methods render impossible an accurate estimation of the reach and overall media exposure of viral advertisements. While several traditional advertising websites offer databases of top ranked television ads, there is no database that includes a similar rating for viral ads. Consequently, all viral ads found through these personal and online collections were included in the analysis. The television advertisements were randomly selected from Advertisementave.com, an online database of television ads. To avoid any bias in ad selection, the coders selected every fourth advertisement starting from a random point in the section of the site that is organized by advertising category. The unit of analysis was the individual ad. Each of the ads was coded for the following variables: Ad length: The actual length of the ad in seconds. Company: Was the company a member of the Fortune 500? This variable was dichotomous, where a score of one indicated that the ad was for a Fortune 500 company and a score of two indicated that the ad was not. Industry: What is the nature of the industry to which the product/service belonged? For example, an advertisement for a Honda car was coded as automotive. The industries coded for included: food and beverage, travel, communications and electronics, automotive, banking and insurance, clothing and fashion, media and entertainment, household products, pharmaceuticals, issue advocacy, alcohol and others. Ad function: Was the main function of the ad reinforcement or branding, call for action, or to provide product or service information? Advertising appeal: These dichotomous variables were coded with a score of zero to indicate that the appeal was not used in the ad or a score of one indicating that the appeal was used. The analysis coded each ad for whether or not the creative employed sex, nudity, violence, humor, animals, children, or animation. To ensure intercoder reliability, each of the coders ran a separate content analysis of 10% of the other coder's assigned ads. Reliability scores averaged .89 using the Holsti (1969) method indicating intercoder reliability. Results Through a content analysis of 501 advertisements, this study underlined the differences between regular television advertisements and viral advertisements. The results indicate that Fortune 500 companies created 62% of the television ads analyzed (146 ads), while non-Fortune 500 companies created 38% (89) of the television ads. Inversely, non-Fortune 500 companies produced the majority of viral ads with 60% (160 ads), compared to 40% by Fortune 500 companies (106 ads). A 2 x 2 Chi Square analysis revealed that this difference was significant, 2 (1, N = 501) = 24.77, p < .001, suggesting that there was a relationship between format and membership in the Fortune 500. RQ1 asked whether there was a difference between viral and television advertisements in terms of ad function. A 2 x 3 Chi Square analysis revealed that this difference was not significant, 2 (2, N = 501) = 2.45, p > .05, suggesting that 34
there was no relationship between format and advertising function. Both television and viral advertisements focused on branding followed by providing information, while rarely using the ads as a call to action. While no real differences were found between the two formats in terms of advertising function, differences were identified between the two formats when it came to the use of advertising appeals. RQ2 asked whether viral advertisements differed from television advertisements in terms of their use of different advertising appeals. While 5.1% of television ads used sex appeals, 18.4% of viral ads used sex appeals. A 2 x 2 Chi Square analysis revealed that this difference was significant, 2 (1, N = 501) = 24.77, p < .001, suggesting that there was a relationship between the use of sex appeals and format. Similarly, the results suggest differences in the use of nudity in advertisements across format (2 (1, N = 501) = 10.96, p = .001), as viral ads were more likely to use nudity (13.9%) compared to the television ads (5.1%). A significant difference was also identified in the use of violence in ads (2 (1, N = 501) = 8.84, p = .003), as viral ads (26.7%) were more likely to use a violence appeal than television ads (15.7%). Differences were also identified in the use of animation in ads (2 (1, N = 501) = 14.42, p < .001), as television ads were more likely to use animation (14.9%) as compared to viral ads (4.9%). Finally, the results indicate differences in the use of brand identification (2 (1, N = 501) = 34.27, p < .001) in an advertisement. The results suggest that television ads (83%) were more likely to feature brand identification than viral advertisements (59%). RQ3 asked whether advertising appeals used in viral ads differed by industry. A series of 2 x 12 Chi Square analyses were performed to test the differences in the use of each appeal with the twelve different industry categories. The results indicated that the nature of the industry influences the use of some advertising appeals in viral ads. A 2 x 12 Chi Square analysis revealed significant differences in the use of sexuality in viral ads across industry (2 (11, N = 266) = 39.89, p < .001). A further post hoc analysis of the standardized residuals greater than 2.0 showed the significance originating from the pharmaceutical industry (39.4%) and the clothing and fashion industry (61.5%) being more likely to use sex as an appeal than other industries (18.4%). A 2 x 12 Chi Square analysis also revealed significant differences in the use of nudity in viral ads across industry (2 (11, N = 266) = 30.66, p = .001). A further post hoc analysis of the standardized residuals greater than 2.0 showed the significance originating from the pharmaceutical industry (36.4%) being more likely to use nudity as an appeal than other industries (13.9%), and the issue advocacy industry (0%) being less likely to use nudity as an appeal than other industries (13.9%). Similarly, a 2 x 12 Chi Square analysis revealed significant differences in the use of violence in viral ads across industry (2 (11, N = 266) = 31.55, p = .001). A further post hoc analysis of the standardized residuals greater than 2.0 showed the significance originating from the media and entertainment industry (62.1%) being more likely to use violence as an appeal than other industries (26.7%). In addition, the pharmaceutical industry was found less likely to use violence as an appeal (9.1%) than other industries (26.7%). A 2 x 12 Chi Square analysis revealed significant differences in the use of humor in viral ads across industry (2 (11, N = 266) = 35.79, p < .001). A further post hoc analysis of the standardized residuals greater than 2.0 showed the significance originating from the issue advocacy (35.7%) and clothing and fashion industries (30.8%) being more likely to not use humor as an appeal than other industries (10.5%). Finally, a 2 x 12 Chi Square analysis revealed significant differences in the use of children in viral ads across industry (2 (11, N = 266) = 20.10, p < .05). A further post hoc analysis of the standardized residuals greater than 2.0 showed the significance originating again from the issue advocacy industry (28.6%) being more likely to use children as an appeal than other industries (9.0%). Discussion Representing the first empirical effort to investigate the content of, and ultimately define, viral advertising, this exploratory study found important differences between viral and television advertising. The definition posited in this study was confirmed. Significantly more than traditional advertising, viral advertising relies on provocative content to motivate unpaid peer-to-peer communication of persuasive messages from identified sponsors. While emotive content has always been the key to capturing audiences' attention in advertising, viral advertising relies on increasingly raw content for actual distribution. This added reliance on titillation for distribution has a number of implications both for advertisers and the ultimate consumers of advertising. What makes viral advertising provocative? What are those "common human motivations" that may cause audiences to distribute or pass along an advertisement? Judging from the results of this study, viral advertisers appear to believe the devices of sex, nudity, and violence are what motivate consumers to pass along content online. Unlike television advertising, viral advertisements are not subject to regulation by the Federal Communication Commission. 35
The "anything goes" environment of the World Wide Web appears to encourage viral advertisers to create violent and sexually charged content presented in a humorous context without overt branding. Not surprisingly then, this study found that Fortune 500 companies were less likely than non-Fortune 500 companies to use viral advertising. Considering the raunchy nature of viral advertisements and the conservative advertising strategies of these larger companies, this finding could be expected. Even so, the number of Fortune 500 companies employing these types of ads is still relatively high given the findings of this study concerning the content of viral advertising. As consumer control over media content increases and attention paid to traditional advertising decreases, how will Fortune 500 companies respond? Given the number of recent press articles about large-scale viral campaigns from established companies, viral advertising seems to be a method they are turning to in increasing numbers. Across the board, all industries are using these provocative appeals at equally high levels in their viral advertising. However, this study did identify some important distinctions between industries. Humor was employed at near unanimous levels for all viral advertisements. Consequently, this study identified humor as the universal appeal for making content viral. Two exceptions in the ads examined in this study were the issue advocacy and the clothing and fashion industries, with those industries using humor significantly less than all other industries. Issue advocates were also less likely to use nudity and more likely to include imagery of children. Issue advocates' promotion of heavy issues such as anti-smoking and anti-fur usually takes on a more ominous tone. Nudity and the humorous light in which nudity is portrayed in most viral ads would seem out of place in an ad featuring the death and violence typically shown in these ads. The use of sex and nudity devices would also preclude including children. The clothing and fashion industry also tended to use a more serious approach to sexuality. Perhaps the clothing and fashion industry sees sex as a more serious and direct appeal for their product than other industries that use sex as a peripheral appeal. Considering pharmaceutical viral ads often feature pitches for erectile dysfunction and contraceptive products, their significantly higher use of sexuality and nudity than several other industries is no surprise either. Far from the soft lifestyle ads seen frequently on television for these types of products, the pharmaceutical industry also seems to be taking advantage of the lack of regulation online to more graphically illustrate the features and benefits of these products. The media and entertainment industry's higher use of violence can be attributed to the dominance of video game advertisements in this category. The actual content of the games being advertised is often too violent to show on television, so it makes sense that the gaming industry would turn to unregulated viral advertising to get their message out. Limitations and Future Research The convenience sample of viral and television advertisements examined in this study precludes the generalizability of these results. The very inclusion of this sample of viral advertisements in viral production companies' personal collections and these ads placement on viral Web site collections biases the results in favor of the most provocative and entertaining ads. Likewise, the television ads inclusion on a Web site dedicated to advertising also skews the results toward traditional ads with higher production values. However, with the recent formation of several professional organizations dedicated to the field of viral advertising, perhaps larger and more complete collections of viral advertisements will soon be available to researchers. Future studies should make use of a more random sample of television advertisements taken directly from broadcasts as well as these larger collections of viral ads, providing more valid results. Future studies should also seek to refine the definition and further measure the impact of viral advertising on the advertising industry and on the consumers these advertisements target. This study identified some ways that the viral phenomenon affects the content of advertising. However, the more important question is, how does the move toward viral advertising content affect consumers? How does using increasingly sexual and violent appeals affect the ultimate persuasive goals of advertising? Future experimental designs can investigate the effects of each of these appeals on attitudinal, cognitive, and behavioral brand metrics. In addition, the online nature of viral advertising provides an opportunity for researchers to evaluate the effects of provocative appeals in a large-scale, graphical survey. Other more personal, ethnographic examinations of the production, consumption, and ultimate distribution of such ads could provide further insight into the motivations and impacts of viral advertising. This study provides an empirically tested definition of viral advertising. Academics and professionals alike can build upon this definition to explore this important new field. With large technological and cultural changes looming on the horizon for the advertising industry, viral advertising will be an increasingly important force in the near future. 36
References Anderson, Mae (2005), "Dissecting `Subservient Chicken'," Adweek, 46 (March), 24-25. Carson, Vanda (2003), "Uproar over Nokia Ad Video," (accessed on 3/29/2005). Croft, Martin (2005), "Struggling to Keep the Viral Bug under Control," Marketing Week, 28 (February), 23. "Fake Ad Creators Issue Apology" (2005), New York Times, 154 (February), 999. Gladwell, Malcolm (2002), The Tipping Point, New York: Time Warner. Helm, Sabrina (2000), "Viral Marketing ­ Establishing Customer Relationships by `Word-of-Mouse'," Electronic Markets, 10 (July), 158-161. Holsti, Ole R. (1969), Content Analysis for the Social Sciences and Humanities, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Howell, Nic (2003), "Catching the Bug," New Media Age, (April), 31-32. Jurvetson, Steve (2000), "What is Viral Marketing?" (accessed on 3/29/2005). Kaikati, Andrew M. and Jack G. Kaikati (2004), "Stealth Marketing: How to Reach Customers Surreptitiously," California Management Review, 46 (Summer), 6-22. Kharif, Olga (2000), "An Epidemic of `Viral Marketing'," Business Week, (August) (accessed on 3/29/2005). Kirby, Justin (2004), "Getting the Bug," Brand Strategy, 184 (July/August), 33. Manly, Lorne (2005), "The Future of the 30-Second Spot," The New York Times, (March), 1. Nyilasy, Gergely (2004), "Word-of-Mouth Advertising: A 50-Year Review and Two Theoretical Models for an Online Chatting Context," Paper presented at the 2004 Convention of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Toronto, Canada, August. Padgett, Tim (2004), "What's Next after that Odd Chicken?" Time, 164 (October) (accessed on 3/29/2005). Parpis, Eleftheria (2004), "American Theater," Adweek, 45 (November), 14-15. Pavlik, John V. and Shawn McIntosh (2004), Converging Media, An Introduction to Mass Communication, Boston: Pearson. Phelps, Joseph E., Regina Lewis, Lynne Mobilio, David Perry, and Niranjan Raman (2004), "Viral Marketing or Electronic Word-of-Mouth Advertising: Examining Consumer Responses and Motivations to Pass Along Email," Journal of Advertising Research, 44 (December), 333-348. Rosen, Emanuel (2000), The Anatomy of Buzz, New York: Random House. Steinberg, Brian (2004), "Advertising: More Networks are Pulling the Plugs," B2, 3 (October), 2. "10 Follies" (2004), Adweek, 75 (December), 4. "10 Most Popular Commands Issued to the Subservient Chicken" (2004), Adweek, 75 (December), 4. Thomas, Greg M. (2004), "Building the Buzz in the Hive Mind," Journal of Consumer Behavior, 4 (October), 64-72. Thomaselli, Rich (2004), "AstraZeneca Slams TV upfront," Advertising Age, 75 (May), 3. 37
Wegert, Tessa (2004), "When Consumers Love Advertising," ClickZ Networks, (April) (accessed on 9/12/2005). Welker, Carl B. (2002), "The Paradigm of Viral Communication," Information Services and Use, 22 (January), 3-8. Wells, William, Sandra Moriarty, and John Burnett (2000), Advertising Principles and Practice, Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall. Wilson, Ralph F. (2000), "The Six Simple Principles of Viral Marketing," Web Marketing Today, (February) (accessed on 3/29/2005). About the Author Lance Porter (Ph.D., University of Georgia) is an Assistant Professor in the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University. He has focused on new media since 1995, when he built his first commercial Web site. His research focuses on how new media affect communication and culture. He holds a joint appointment with the Center for Computation and Technology (CCT). Guy J. Golan (PhD. University of Florida) Visiting Assistant Professor Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University. Golan's research focuses on media effects as well as international and political communications. Journal of Interactive Advertising, 6(2): 30- 38(Spring 2006) Published at http://jiad.org/vol6/no2/porter 38

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