Viral Success: The Good, The Bad and The Incredibly Ugly

As Seen On TV can’t get much better…or worse.

When I was at the gym the other day (just wait, the irony is coming), an infomercial came on a screen in front of me. A woman appeared in a fuzzy pink jumpsuit that was announced to be the “one-piece, lie-around, lounge-around, full-body lazy wear.” With an acrylic fingernailed hand, she demonstrated how soft the fabric was by making bizarre and entirely unnatural rubbing/sweeping motions on her leg. The ad was for the unfortunate stepchild of the Snuggie® — Forever Lazy® — and, yes, that is the product’s real name. In shock, and thinking this was a rerun of an SNL commercial sketch, I continued to watch (much to my horror).




So the sentiment is, “Let me lounge in my adult onesie all day. It’s soft. It’s comfy. And it has a drop seat for ‘Great Escapes When Duty Calls’.” But wait, there’s more! If you order now, you’ll not only get the suit, they’ll throw in matching fleece footies and a neck pillow all for just $19.95 (plus S/H). No matter your fashion reaction, one thing is true — it’s popular. The Forever Lazy commercial on YouTube has well over a million views (not to mention the parodies). It falls into a long line of tradition and is in a similar category as the Three Wolf Moon t-shirt craze. According to Forever Lazy’s creators, Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas have already zipped their way to eternally slothful bliss.

To any business, the publicity and widespread sharing of videos like this creates something akin to envy — sort of. Maybe you’re thinking, why aren’t “better” products receiving the same amount of attention? And, by extension, why aren’t mine? Welcome to the new world of viral videos. Sometimes it takes skill to create videos that cause the populace to want to share them. Other times, it’s a happy (or incredibly sad) accident. Just ask Bob Saget.

Perhaps the masterminds behind Forever Lazy intended for folks to spoof it, and thereby create a cult viewership. Maybe the cheese factor was intentional. Perhaps they acknowledge and understand that infomercials like these tend to create quick sales rather than long-term branding and growth. Either way, it’s a prime example of a product that gets noticed. So how would the viral video strategy work with your brand? Keep in mind that not all viral videos have to be funny or mockable. They just have to have a clickable quality that makes people want to share them. Could you teach your customers something they’d want to pass along to colleagues? Maybe you could offer a behind-the-scenes tour or give a how-to demonstration? What about a fun game or contest tied to your business?

Whatever your goal, maybe you can learn from the Lazy. Whether or not the Forever Lazy will be the “talk of your next tailgate,” it will be of someone’s.

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