Share 2006 – Lessons Learned On A Holiday Card Gone Viral

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When David Jones – co-host of the Inside PR Podcast, Blogger over at PR Works and PR Executive at Fleishman Hillard – posted this: Son Of Best Christmas Card Ever, I started wondering if or how the Twist Image holiday card, Share 2006, would go viral (he also posted it to Digg).
The card (which was sent to about five hundred people in the Twist Image family) linked to a micro-website, Share 2006, which encapsulated our choices for the best viral videos of the year.
We chose twelve videos (one per month) and allowed people to comment, rate and even share the videos as well. We figured it would be a cool and fun way to reflect on how powerful of a force video had been this year. We also wanted to share some warming moments that made us laugh, smile or gasp in awe.
Since Dr. Jones’ (that’s my pet name for him) post, we’ve tracked over twenty other websites and Blogs that have posted something related to Twist Image – Share 2006. This includes an AdRants feature, Holiday Cards See Nostalgic Twist, which definitely brought an intense level of traffic and additional links to the micro-site.
We had a major key learning through this experience. We’ve been swamped with client work and got it out just in the Saint Nick of time, so there was no strategy beyond keeping our fingers’ crossed that people would get the card before breaking for the holiday. To see how many people (most did not even see the initial customized card) latched on to this, talked about it, shared it and then posted about it really made the entire Twist Image team reflect on what works when it comes to something going viral. Granted, this did not create the type of viral activity that would make Subservient Chicken squawk, but it still created way more activity than just getting it in the hands of our closest five hundred family and friends.
People like to smile, laugh or be in awe. That’s what makes something viral. The old press saying was, “if it bleeds, it leads.” We’ve got a new one: “if it intrigues, it leads.”
We’re now just one week post mail-out of our Holiday cards. When we called it Share 2006, we never imagined people would take it literally and embrace the idea with almost as much love as our team put into creating it.
Viral is about sharing something that touched you. You want others to feel and share in that emotion. Without those primal triggers, we have no desire to tell others.
I know I speak on behalf of everyone at Twist Image when I say that we’re thrilled that other marketing, advertising and communications people feel the same we did about the videos. It proves that viral does work… Even if you never planned on it.