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Why Campaigns Go Viral

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Recently, a campaign we launched last fall to raise awareness of sexual assault went viral. What do I mean by viral? It’s been shared on more than 100,000 Tumblr pages, featured on and and posted on the Other 98%’s Facebook page. In all, it’s generated thousands of comments and hundreds of thousands of likes, shares, etc. And the client is getting requests to use the materials from South America, Canada, Australia and several states.

The campaign is for Make Your Move, and what I find interesting about its viral explosion is that the campaign is posters. Not videos, not animations, not audio … posters. And yet digital versions have been spread around the Web and caused an incredible depth of discussion around sexual violence.


This morning I received an email about a study into videos that go viral. Turns out, (Duh!), emotion is a primary factor in the viral quality of videos. If it makes you think, laugh or cry, you are far more likely to share it. To see what I mean, check out the comments on our Make Your Move work (good, bad and otherwise) at the links below … the work elicited strong emotional responses that led to sharing.

All of this reminds me that sometimes in our haste to embrace new media and count tweets and attract friends and sneak product mentions into “content,” we overlook what matters most and always has in communication — moving people emotionally. When you do that, the rest takes care of itself.

If you’d like to read a synopsis of the study on viral videos that got me thinking about all this, you can review it here.

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