What happens AFTER you go viral?

viral posts


Going viral has caused a lot of hype on social media, particularly among the younger generation.

From challenges with a purpose like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to a completely unintentional breakout like running llamas, it has become the dream of many to get a chance at their 15 minutes of fame. But what happens at the 16th minute?

Where do those suddenly famous celebrities go after new headlines take over? And most important, how long do they benefit from all that pampering?


Scene #1: You get your own action figure

Let’s take a look at a recent event where a viral video of now-famous Candace Payne a.k.a. Chewbacca Mom/Chewbacca Mask Lady broke Facebook live video records with her gleeful laughter.

Chewbacca mom


With more than 150 million views, her video sparked a series of events that turned the stay-at-home mom’s life upside down with a flood of incoming appreciation, gift cards and points from Kohl’s management department, Star Wars themed toys for her children, a chance to travel to Facebook headquarters, and meet Star Wars director J.J. Abrams alongside James Corden. Not to mention the numerous interviews and talk shows she’s been on.

That’s not where it ends. Hasbro, the maker of the original mask, had a custom made action figure of Candace herself compete with a mini removable mask.

Last but not least, Southeastern University has offered free tuition for the whole family, an amount that sums up to $384,000. In all, the monetary value of the pampering she received so far has summed up to $420,000.

How long does it last – and who is the real celebrity?

Ok, this is an exception. While most viral phenomena last for roughly one week in average, Candace is lucky to have basked in the limelight for much more than that (and until that scholarship is used up).

As for the Chewbacca masks, they’ve been flying off shelves since the event. This proves that while Candace may soon resolve to her ordinary life, Hasbro and Star Wars will continue to benefit from the unintended publicity.


Scene #2: The 15 minutes of fame

It all began when Kelsey Harmon tweeted a picture of her grandfather in a sad posture after he expected his 6 grandchildren to show up for burgers, only to have one of his grandkids join him. Thus Sad Papaw emerged.


sad papaw


After his picture went viral, scores of heartfelt messages and emotions were sent his way. Eventually, the internet along with the Harmon family arranged for a cookout, which was a success. People across the state drove miles to attend and pose with him, and custom T-Shirts and hats were made for the event. Sad Papaw even made a web store for the shirts and hats, and even has a new Facebook page.

Was it a success?

Soon enough everyone forgot about the world’s saddest grandpa and moved on. The website remains under construction even after 3 months, and Sad Papaw’s Facebook posts have ceased to get the attention they once received. Sad indeed.


Scene #3: The marketer’s dream

The Dress that went viral paved the way to a hard controversy, including a group of scientists getting in on the hype to explain the phenomenon.


the dress


While the dress was proven to be black and blue in color, there was a worldwide dispute over some of the population seeing the colors as white and gold. This incident was also termed as ‘the drama that divided the planet’. But companies over the world gained in on the trending topic and clever marketers had a field day:

How it worked out in biz

Roman Originals were the makers of the dress, who saw remarkable profits over the course of a few days. To put things in perspective, they compared the sales of that particular dress to the sales made on Black Friday. When the dress was restocked, the demand kept growing.

This case is particularly interesting from a marketer’s view. Since hashtags #blackandblue and #whiteandgold were trending, companies who related to these colors jumped in with their own strategy. One clever example I particularly loved was a campaign against domestic abuse that used #blackandblue to indicate bruise marks.

Other famous brands like Lego, Oreo, Adobe, and Pizza Hut proved that if done right, marketing can be a breeze. Check for yourself.

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