Want a Viral Hit? Go Buy One!

A picture of Matt Harding at Yoyogi Park in Sh...

That’s exactly what Stride Gum did when someone on their creative team (read: someone’s kid) pointed out how funny Matt Harding‘s “dancing around the world” video was and how popular it had become.


“Mr. Harding first garnered a small internet following several years ago for a traveling rendition of what Midwesterners might call a “farmer’s jig” (pumping elbows, high knees and insistent bouncing). The brand’s promotion agency, GoldNFish, first spotted Mr. Harding in 2005 “when we were looking for a fun way to get the word out about Stride gum,” said Emily Liu, senior brand manager for Stride.

“As huge fans of Matt, we wanted to see if he would take a long trip around the world again,” she said. “So we picked up the phone and asked Matt if he would be interested … and the rest is history.”(via AdAge)

This collaboration has been quite successful for both Matt and Stride.  Matt has gotten to continue to dance around the world free of charge and Stride gets a nice halo effect from this funny, and brand-associative meme.

We’re sure to see more companies trying this tactic.  In fact, current vunder-kid “Fred” is such an example.  We’ll have to wait and see how many times it can be copied successfully.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Want a Viral Hit? Go Buy One!

  1. Jonathan Trenn

    You mention that Stride has been quite successful for Stride. Can you point me to any data that says that’s so?

    It’s my bet that the vast, vast majority of viewers end up having no idea that Stride Gum was behind this. And whatever increase in sales they may have will be minimal.

    I loved the video but the fact that I and many others feel good about the content doesn’t necessarily translate into more revenue or profit.

    I blogged about it here: http://marketingconversation.com/2008/07/14/where-the-hell-is-matt-2008-probably-wont-succeed/

    The odd thing I’m seeing is a lot of social media bloggers praise the video, but also fail to mention stride. To me, that’s says a lot.

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