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Viral Hall of Fame 2008

Viral Hall of Fame 2008
Snowglobe Boy

MarketingSherpa Summary:
Sometimes elaborate tactics aren't required to stimulate a viral response; all it takes is one great idea. Ad agency McKinney's idea was to take holiday ecards to a new level by putting an employee inside a giant inflatable snow globe for four days and broadcasting it on a microsite 24 hours a day. Visitors could receive "season's greetings" from Snowglobe Boy and chat with him. In a week, a small seed of a Facebook page, a YouTube video and about 1,000 emails to McKinney's friends attracted about 50,000 unique visitors, network press coverage and lots of search traffic.

Agency: None
Client/company: McKinney
Brand campaign was conducted for: Snowglobe Boy
Launch date of campaign: Dec. 11, 2007
Target audience/demographic: Clients, media, vendors and the world

Campaign Goal:
Do something different, something innovative and something that would save paper typically used by McKinney to send out a holiday card to their friends in the business. The solution was an interactive online holiday greeting - one like nothing experienced before.

Out of this goal the concept of Snowglobe Boy was born. Snowglobe Boy was simply a guy living inside an inflatable snow globe sending holiday cheer to everyone around the world. A microsite was developed. Users could watch him 24 hours a day through three mounted webcams. The microsite also featured a chat function, so that users could cheer him on and ask questions.

Outside of the microsite, a blog was created so Snowglobe Boy could keep a diary of his daily events and happenings. A Facebook page was created so people could communicate with him within the social network.

Seed Strategy:
Sometimes, viral success is simply about the power of an idea - or, in this case, an interaction with a boy in a snow globe. Seeding was limited to make it an entirely grassroots viral phenomenon. Seeds that led to the most success included a story on the local Raleigh newspaper website; a Facebook profile; a YouTube video; 1,000 emails sent out to McKinney's friends.

Buzz Generated:
The buzz was astounding. The campaign generated 105 million PR impressions across all mediums. Links to press coverage:

Specific (Goal-Related) Campaign Results:
The campaign was a great success for McKinney:
  • 50,000 unique visitors in one week
  • 28,500 views on YouTube
  • 105 million PR impressions
  • 11th-ranked item searched on Google, Dec 14, 2007
  • 2nd most searched item on, Dec 14, 2007
Results showed up as soon as the emails went out to the friends of McKinney. From there, Snowglobe Boy mentions started appearing on blogs and message boards. It then snowballed onto the national media scene. After the boy exited the snow globe, visits steadily declined over a matter of a week.

Biggest Lesson:
The biggest surprise was how fast Snowglobe Boy caught on. It took only four days for the national media to show interest in Snowglobe Boy. And after four days of phenomenal success, Snowglobe Boy was allowed to leave the globe and enjoy the McKinney holiday party.