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COM 460 Blog: Viral Video, Event Planning, and Mobile

November 6, 2013

In this week’s required COM 460 blog I will explore three recent media topics discussed in lectures including viral communication, event planning, and mobile. These topics are all centered around communicating a cause or message of the creator of the project.  

            As we learned in Dr. Freberg’s course, viral content spreads easily by word of mouth but doesn’t always catch on as intended. From my experience, viral communications don’t typically convey a deep, meaningful message (although the can be), but instead usually used to get a laugh in with our friends quickly. This topic focuses on the “viral” or “sharing” concept to gain attention. Myself and many others consider YouTube and Vine to a lesser extent the launching pad for user-created viral content. Doing a YouTube search for “Viral Videos”, one quickly gathers they are short (there are many compellation videos made up of short viral videos), have a “wow” factor (hysterically funny, interesting, inspirational, etc.), are often remixed by others, and they come and go from the mainstream culture very quickly. Dr. Freberg would also highlight that the most useful viral videos created by/about brands connect content back to the brand itself by using them in the video. Diet Coke and Mentos fountains is one video that does this excellently.

            Event planning is another topic that ties into the idea of brand sponsorship and promotions for the course. Guest lecturer Joey Wagner (joey@jwagnergroup.com) explained how his firm J. Wagner Group connects with media and influencers to assist in promoting an event. He talked about his Pink Prom, Jocktails, and Glow Go 5k events that relied heavily on having such influencers present as a form of promoting a cause and the event itself. His “Jocktails” concept utilizes sports figures like jockeys, footballers, public figures, etc. as a way to attract attention to the cause and generate more media coverage. I thought it was a great concept that can easily catch on, but I also admired Joey’s foresight to trademark the idea for the future. He also talked about how gaining corporate sponsorship helps both in funding the event while mutually benefiting the sponsors themselves as a form of unique regional advertising. Success breeds success in this regard. Return on investment makes sponsoring the event appealing for those investing sponsorship dollars.

            The mobile concept is the final piece that ties the above mentioned topics of viral content and event planning together. Viral video sharing today is more like to be done on a person’s mobile device more so than a computer because people usually have their device close at hand. I personally cannot count the times a friend has said “have you seen this yet…?” and then showed me something crazy and new on their iPhone. This is how things go viral: getting the right message, to the right audience, at the right time, in the format easiest for them to use (i.e. mobile device). Event planning also benefits for mobile devices because media platforms like Twitter and Facebook being used to convey the right message to an audience who might be interested. Joey Wagner explained how he uses his multiple Twitter accounts to promote events to an audience of followers who knows what he does. In short, all the concepts mentioned here have the ability to mutually benefit each other as a way of more effectively communicating a desired message. 

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