Viral Message Gets Back to Work

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After seeing a 16 percent click-through rate from its viral "Get Back to Work!" music video e-mail, The Triangle Partnership LTD is trying to build on its success with a follow-up game featuring the same characters.


The Triangle Partnership is a London-based IT contracts, recruitment and human resources solution company. The initial clip featured a daydreaming worker who fantasizes about being a boss that offers Swedish massages and pleasure cruises for all. These visions are, of course, interrupted by an irate Dilbertesque boss.


The clip was sent in May, and 275,000 people went to the site within one month of its release. There was a slight decline the second month to 268,000 visitors. Currently, the message, which features a link to trianglepartners.co.uk, has been drawing 100,000 to 150,000 visitors monthly.


"Our Web site click rate has increased dramatically. There are wonderful items of flotsam that drift around the Internet. This stuff has a life of its own and appears to drift on and on," said Warwick Bergin, partner at Triangle Partnership Ltd. The campaign has been a "good value for exposure, ensured that the company was noticed in the right quarters, sharpened the company's image and differentiated us from our competitors."


This type of global campaign has become an essential part of the firm's mix, Bergin said, since "Triangle could now be dealing with clients from Denver to Singapore. With such a huge potential client base, the old methods of selling had to be augmented. Our company brochure became our Web site. Everything orientates around it."


A matching game featuring the same characters drew 78,000 visitors in a week and a half following its release late last month. This combined with the old clip should provide formidable promotional strength since "it's still new to everyone who hasn't seen it," said B.J. Bueno, CEO of 4D Marketing, Orlando, FL, which specializes in the creation of viral marketing campaigns.


4D added a tracking engine to its clips earlier this year to help companies gauge the results of their campaigns because "companies now have real business concerns instead of the castles in the sky [attitude of the past]," said Bueno. "Companies are now interested in knowing the results they're getting for their marketing efforts and how much they are really getting for their money."


A technology that tracks the pass-along rate of the messages is in the works.


While many viral campaigns typically kick off by being sent to a "friends and family" list of a couple hundred people, Bueno has been working to build a stronger database of people interested in viral clips to use as a launching point. "A lot of people collect them. They're evangelistic about them," he said.


The company launched a site called 4DSpoofs.com where users can come to view and sign-up to receive the latest clips. This combined with e-mail requests from recipients has netted the company a database of 300,000 names. Bueno estimates it will be up to 500,000 by year's end.


The average pass-along rate, by Bueno's estimation, is 10 people.


4D has been building the database since the company's first release, "Combo #5." This spoof of the hit song "Mambo No. 5," featuring cartoon chefs in an Asian restaurant, was created to show off 4D's Flash-based animation skills, but it ended up serving as the ultimate brochure, drawing interest from companies around the globe looking to create viral marketing campaigns.


After creating a catalog for Ralph Lauren, a CD-ROM for the Fountainebleau Hilton and other such design projects, the company has dedicated all of its resources to creating viral campaigns.


It has also worked to create correlating banner ads for companies such as The Triangle Partnership, that feature the characters from the clips.
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