Advertisers dream of producing an ad that’s so creative, so compelling, that their friends, fans and followers pass it around amongst themselves (at no further cost to the advertiser) so they reach a wider audience and ultimately, sell more stuff.

However, those that try to ‘go viral’ rarely do.

After much research and analysis (well, a little bit of common sense and thought), here are my 5 components of an effective viral ad:

  • Creativity
  • Humour
  • Fit with brand
  • Music
  • Cats (optional)

As I’ve banged on about time and time again in this blog, advertising these days boils down to providing entertainment as well as, or instead of, just information.
Here’s a great example of a viral ad that works:


Anonymous · February 11, 2012 at 5:56 am

Superb read! I am just starting out in social networking and now we are attempting to catch on to how to best use SMO for local business. Thanks for the information!

Jackie Barrie, Writing Without Waffle · February 11, 2012 at 8:09 am

Glad you found it useful. There's lots more advice about social media for small businesses on my Writing Without Waffle blog at

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