When was the last time anyone spent time playing a viral game for a long time, then sending it on to all their friends? I mean really, when?
The Net used to be teeming with more viral stuff than a third world biology lab. Today, good examples of viral games and videos are much harder to come by. There was Cadbury’s monkey -a TV ad helped to go viral through good old-fashioned marketing planning, and now there’s Soulja Boy’s Superman dance. Good examples exist, but they’re not many. So where are Marketers to look for their next big medium?
My bet is firmly low-tech: papercraft. I’m in surprisingly good company on this camp: Canon are fully at it to promote printer usage and Yamaha have developed some of the best models using their motorcycles as inspiration. Papercraft is popular in Japan, where it’s called Pepakura, but it’s not just Japanese companies doing paper models. The Apple iPhone is available in papercraft form, and MORE TH>N have launched a Christmas-themed version of their Maureen and Nathan Personal Customer Manager characters. MAUReen & NaTHAN… MAUR THAN… MORE TH>N. Got it?. The characters can be made into Christmas decorations and include an extra page of Christmas accessories helps dress them up with Santa beards, red pointy hats and angel wings.
Papercraft is the perfect viral: inexpensive to produce, engaging and easy to forward, it seems to match traditional viral formats. But while those traditional formats are typically fixed, only exist inside people’s PCs and compete with family and friends for attention; papercraft enables shared experiences, a physical, durable presence unmatchable by any Flash game, no matter how well done, and above all else creativity. Papercraft can be used to make complex automata – imagine what some people will do with a few customizable templates, glue, scissors, colours and photo/video tools!
I’m betting my hat on papercraft being the next big thing in online marketing. I’m so convinced that this time we’re getting there early with Maureen and Nathan.
Get your printer, scissors and glue ready: this one’s going to be large!!