Firstly, what is viral marketing?
Viral marketing involves the forwarding from friend-to-friend / colleague-to-colleague of emails (normally with with funny or eye-catching video clips) or the sharing of clips on video sharing sites, with the name of a brand appearing somewhere in the clip or email.
Viral marketing is a very useful tool for the media planner in that the email or clip takes on a life of its own as it gets passed on word-to-mouth or, rather, computer to computer. It is the 'word of mouth' or free publicity that is the key behind viral marketing.
Viral marketing is a really good example of how knowing your audience and knowing the way social networking on the internet is very important in the world of advertising today. This is the kind of thing that the media planner (or digital media planner) working in an advertising agency should be looking at and thinking about as a really useful tool in media planning, or rather, as something that is tied up with media planning. 'Advertising agency' because this is where the media planner is able to work most closely with the account planner, the account handler, the copywriter and art director behind a campaign. This is also a good example of the importance of integration in advertising. As well as a good example of the power of digital media today.