Can You Really Make A Viral Campaign?

At the Consumer 2.0 Conference last week I had the pleasure of spending some time with Steve Wax from Campfire. The firm was the subject of a really interesting Fast Company article in November 2006 and I found Steve’s ideas very refreshing.

Campfire — founded by Steve and a few of the guys behind the Blair Witch Project — does these really complex online events/games/virals like Art Of the Heist: Steve made me stop dead in my tracks when he said (roughly) “people have to stop saying they’re going to ‘make a viral video’ because you can’t decide whether it’s going to be viral or not. It’s the same as saying ‘I’m going to write a hit song’ or ‘produce a hit TV show’ — it just doesn’t make sense”.

I’ve always said that viral marketing was the conscious use of word-of-mouth as a marketing tool but I really see Steve’s point. You can try to be viral, but can you really say something “is viral” before it has in fact “gone viral”?

Originally published at on February 26, 2007.