The $5 Million Viral Marketing Campaign

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You may not agree with their tactics, but you can’t disagree with the money. Here’s a look at the Ron Paul army, their (often shady) tactics, and the return on their viral marketing blitzkrieg.
First of all I want to point out that while I agree with the message that Dr. Paul is trying to spread and agree with his principles, I disagree with the strategy that some of his followers have adopted in spreading his name (not necessarily condoned by him). Not only have these Ron Paul supporters used spam bots to spam potential voters and have even advertised on Digg for recruiting spammers. As you can see, over 3600 people Dugg the story, possibly indicating their approval of this tactic. However, the story wasn’t promoted to the front-page of Digg because countless others appropriately marked it as spam and buried it.
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Regardless, the purpose for which these spammers were being recruited, came to pass yesterday, November 5th, 2007. Was the campaign successful? By most measures, yes.
New Media Coverage
Not only did Ron Paul make headlines (and the most popular headlines) on most social news sites,
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but was also the most search term on Technorati, which is indicative of general popularity on the web, and was featured in some of the most watched videos on YouTube.
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Mainstream Media Coverage
The effectiveness of the campaign didn’t just stop at new media coverage, rather it started there and was converted into mainstream media coverage, with outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, and even FOX, not only covering the candidate, but focusing explicitly on the Ron Paul army and their viral campaigning tactics.

Were They Successful?
While mainstream media and new media coverage is great in solidifying Ron Paul’s presence and establishing the brand in the minds of the people was the campaign successful in accomplishing more? The answer, in fact, is yes. The viral campaign was able to fund raise over $4 million for Ron Paul and by some measures even $5 million, and in just 24 hours, setting records in the process.
How’d They Do It?
Again, you may not agree with their tactics (I don’t), but the Ron Paul army knows what they’re doing. Their viral marketing campaign was focused on November 5th, or Guy Fawke’s day, and used the date’s symbolism to imply emancipation of the people was possible only through Ron Paul’s candidacy.

Neil Patel
Neil Patel is the co-founder of KISSmetrics, an analytics provider that helps companies make better business decisions. Neil also blogs about marketing and entrepreneurship at... Read Full Bio
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