How These Powerful Copywriting Techniques Are Used in Viral Marketing Campaigns

Sebastian Rehrl
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Have you ever asked yourself why some viral marketing campaigns spread like wildfire?

Let's take a look at an example. On March 6, 2012, Dollar Shave Club uploaded a video on YouTube entitled "Our Blades Are F***ing Great."

Right after its release, the company's server crashed. It couldn't handle the amount of traffic. Two days later, when the server was up and running again, the video prompted over 12,000 orders. By December 2019, the ad reached over 26 million people on YouTube.

The commercial was a big breakthrough for Dollar Shave Club. It helped the underdog to win market share and compete against big players like Gillette.

A viral marketing campaign can be very profitable. It can help you to stand out from your competitors, or it can help you to grow your company to the next level. Unfortunately, most agencies fail when they try to replicate such contagious marketing campaigns.

But why is that so? Why do most companies have to spend thousands of dollars on expensive Facebook ads, while some random videos go viral on YouTube?

Is it only luck? Or is there a way to create viral marketing campaigns yourself?

To help you out, we're going to break down some of the best performing marketing campaigns of all time. We'll take a close look at what's working and what's not.

It turns out there are some little-known but very powerful copywriting techniques you can apply to get your ad to go viral. Keep on reading. You'll discover how to get more clients and boost revenues with viral marketing.

How to Create Viral Marketing Campaigns People Love

When was the last time you enjoyed watching a commercial?

Unfortunately, most ads are annoying, dull, or blunt. That's why most people don't like them. Most of us skip commercials whenever we can. But viral ads are different.

Let's take a look at another high-performing viral marketing campaign:

The sunglasses commercial "If You Or Someone You Love Has a Face" by William Painter is a big hit on YouTube. The video commercial had over 63 million views on YouTube by December 16, 2019.

James Schrader, a stand-up comedian, presents William Painter's "The hook" sunglasses:

"Your face is your money maker. So why would you pair it with cheap plastic?" CRACK! Schrader twists a pair of sunglasses in his hands. But he is not done yet. He grabs another pair from a bystander. "And why does some plastic cost $500?" He breaks the second pair of sunglasses too.

If you read the comments on YouTube, many people state that this is the first Internet commercial they ever watched in full length. It is no surprise. The ad is hilarious, fun to watch, and doesn't feel like a typical commercial. That's why people love it.

Copywriting Technique: Create ads people enjoy and love to watch or read.

"You cannot bore people into buying your product; you can only interest them in buying in."— David Ogilvy, the "Father of Advertising"

Most commercials miss this critical advice. So if you want to create viral marketing campaigns that spread like wildfire, you have to create content people enjoy and love to watch. This brings us to our next point—social currency.

Social Currency—The Secret Sauce of Viral Marketing

Have you ever shared a funny video with your best friend? Most of us love to share entertaining stories. It feels great to see our friends laugh. But why is that so?

Humans seek recognition from their peers. We want to look good, and that's why we value entertaining content and want to share it with others. This mechanism is called social currency.

In his book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, Jonah Berger talks about social currency and how it works. He discovered six basic copywriting techniques to create viral marketing campaigns:

  • Social Currency – Does the ad make them look good when they share it?

  • Triggers – How well do people remember your ad or product?

  • Emotion – What emotions do they have when they watch the ad?

  • Public – What is everyone else doing? Also known as social proof.

  • Practical Value – Is the information useful to others?

  • Stories – Does the commercial have an exciting story?

According to Jonah Berger, we only want to share content that makes us look good.

Viral ads like Dollar Shave Club's "Our Blades Are F***ing Great" or William Painter's sunglasses commercial use these techniques to get people to share their ads. Unfortunately, most commercials do it wrong. They only talk about features and benefits. That's not how it works. No one wants to share a boring ad with friends.

Copywriting Technique: Create content people want to share with their peers.

But maybe you don't know how to create a compelling ad yourself? Don't worry. Here you can find a skilled copywriter to help you create a viral ad that generates revenues.

In the next section, we'll explore a crucial copywriting technique you need to apply if you want to create successful viral marketing campaigns. Keep on reading.

Know Your Audience Better than They Know Themselves

Back in 2010, the commercial "The Man Your Man Should Smell Like" created some astonishing results on YouTube.

The agency Wieden+Kennedy produced this ad for Old Spice, a brand known for male grooming products like body washes. First released in February 2010, the ad received over 56 million views by December 18, 2019. You can still watch it on YouTube.

But what made it so successful?

The ad starts with Isaiah Mustafa, an attractive actor, standing in a bathroom. He says, "Hello, Ladies! Look at your man. Now back to me. Sadly, he isn't me. But if he would stop using ladies' scented body wash, he could smell like me." Mustafa moves in one shot from the bathroom, to a sailboat, to riding a horse.

Obviously, this commercial is not created for men, but for women. So why did Old Spice advertise a man's product to women?

According to this interview, the company determined that women make the body wash purchasing decisions in households. This brings us to our most crucial technique for viral marketing.

Proper research is crucial. Otherwise, you would be not able to find ideas that encourage people to share your content. Research is a key copywriting technique all top copywriters have mastered.

Just watch the ads we've discussed, and you'll see that each commercial makes fun of a market-related cliché. You need proper research to know such inside information.

  • William Painter: James breaks an expensive pair of sunglasses because they are made out of cheap plastic.

  • Dollar Shave Club: "Do you think your razor needs a vibrating handle, a flashlight, and 10 plates?" (in reference to expensive razors)

  • Old Spice: "...if he would stop using ladies' scented body wash…" (Some men use body wash from their female partners.)

Copywriting Technique: Know your audience better than they know themselves.


Here is a summary of the copywriting techniques, used in top viral marketing campaigns:

  1. Use humor to create an ad that people enjoy and love to watch

  2. Create content people like to share with their peers

  3. Know your audience better than they know themselves

Remember not to be boring. Don't push benefits or features. Instead, tell a compelling story that connects with your customers.

Viral marketing campaigns can be a game-changer for your business. It can boost your revenues and attract new customers. Furthermore, it can help you to stand out from all your competitors. Unfortunately, most companies don't know how to create viral advertisements. A professional copywriter can help you to create a high-performing viral ad.

Do you want to learn more about how to work with a professional copywriter? Book a call with one of our content specialists here.

Sebastian Rehrl

Sebastian Rehrl is a copywriter, marketing strategist, and loving father. He is currently working for Project Life Mastery, a recognized brand in the personal development industry. Sebastian is responsible for email marketing and funnel copy at Project Life Mastery but also works as a remote copywriter for hire.

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