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How to create contagious advertising

A contagious advertising idea is one that so captures the imagination of its target market that they voluntarily send it to their friends and colleagues, thus endorsing it. We all have friends who want to share a joke with us or help with information. You find it funny or useful and SMS it on. When used as a business tool, it's called 'viral marketing' and it's very profitable.

Viral marketing disrupts the outmoded conventional approach of traditional media and takes the consumer by surprise. You know when TV ads come on and so change channels. You know what a print ad looks like and turn the page. You don't know what a mobisode looks like when sent to your mobile.

The arrival of third-generation (3G) cellular services has made the broadcasting and viewing of video footage a feasible commercial proposition.

The message is: get into viral marketing with mobisodes (mobile to phone movies) at grassroots level in South Africa.

What is the formula?

Great creativity and the knowledge of how it works will make your mobisode viral, spread and grow because of the customer's relationship with other customers. They become advocates for your brand and your brand becomes part of a social network.

Text SMS are archaic when compared to mobisodes. Now you can send an image or even a TV commercial formatted specifically for mobile phones.

Don't advertise where all your competitors advertise...

By and large, traditional marketers are not aware of the impact of mobisodes. And even if they are, they don't recommend it because traditional media planning companies only operate in a traditional way. They don't get remuneration in the form of fees and commissions from contagious mobisodes, so why should they suggest it?

Interesting facts

But take note of the following interesting facts:

  • 117 prime time spots needed to reach 80%, as opposed to three prime time spots in 1979.
  • 90% of people skip commercials (Connected Marketing).
  • 18% of TV ads generate a positive return on ROI.
  • 14% of people trust advertising.
  • 65% of people believe there is too much advertising.

Mobisodes create contagious advertising messages (from TV commercials, short movies to print images) that get passed on, peer to peer, increasing brand awareness and or prompting a call to action. The result? Sales!

It costs a tenth of the price of traditional advertising and, each time it is passed on, the value increases.

Imagine sending a contagious TV commercial to 20 000 potentially prime customers every day for a month, who in turn send out your message to all their friends. Imagine this repeated time and time again.

Also imagine targeting your audience psychographically. There are rules to stimulating consumers to make your communication viral. Mobisodes are 'The Best of Breed' in this new area of communication - an area where traditionalists fear to tread.

Case studies

LG Chocolate launched in South Africa with a mobisode that went out to over 20 000 mobile phones daily for six weeks. On top of that, it was seeded online to well-known sites such as, and Media24. Cool hunters were encouraged to download the mobisode and pass it on. At the end of the six week period, the mobisode had been seen by over four million people - a first for the South African market. LG Mobile was so impressed with the mobisode that it asked for a 30-second cut-down for television.

The Audi Quatro Sport was launched in the UK with a rich media mobile/mobisode campaign. Smartphone users are able to view content related to the TT Quatro Sport by just accessing a short code. Viewers take a tour of the entire car using their phone keypads to zoom in on particular features. There are also wallpapers available to download and send on to a friend.

Toyota's "Got Game" launched its new youth-oriented Yaris with a mobisode viral campaign - video clips that play over high speed mobile phones, using banner ad multiple players games where a cartoonish Yaris fights with Matrix-like machinery. In this entire campaign, creative media blur the line:

About Mike Rossi

Mobisode mavens Mike Rossi and Leon Orsmond have been creative directors in large multi-national advertising agencies, and currently own their own successful agencies. For more on this contagious new advertising medium, go to

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