This week, I was in a hotel room in Monterey watching
TV. And all of sudden a low budget infomerical for a
place called The Viral Learning Center popped up on
the screen promising me that they could teach me “how
to take my viral video to the next level, a la such
greats as Alabama Leprochan and Exploding Whale.”

Needless to say, I was intrigued by the content and
sheer low-budgetness of the commercial. So I
immediately went online and discovered that The Viral
Learning Center is a marketing campaign for, Comcast’s new user generated content site.
I was duped by a very clever, corporate viral
marketing campaign.

Earlier that same day, Mark forwarded me an article
from Scott Donaton at AdvertisingAge

that proclaims that “most of the online viral
campaigns you hear about and see these days have one
thing in common: They suck.”

Donatan says, “As with ads in any medium, those that
work are those that start with an insight, show an
understanding of their target audience, and have an
authentic, relevant connection to the brand.”’s tongue and cheek insight – that viral
videos suck – is exactly what made their campaign work
for me.

Unfortunately, there is no Viral Learning Center where
we can all enroll and learn the secrets of “going
viral.” For the time being, we have to rely, as
Donatan points out, on actual ideas and strategies,
authenticity, and experimentation.