“Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use, do the work you want to see done.” Austin Kleon

A new virus

 It wasn’t so long ago that viral marketing was all the rage. It was trendy, irreverent [wasn’t everything irreverent for a while there?] and we even thought consumers could just make it for us. After all, isn’t Generation C all about user generated content? Clients wanted it and agencies delivered it. Then some clients had the idea that they could get the consumers themselves to create virals which could be shown on TV or posted anne-summers-viral-acad.jpgonline. Further to this, we’ve seen the advent of Super Virals created by the guys at 12:20 which I believe has had great success. Courtesy of Faris Yakob I’ve just stumbled across Ann Summers Viral Academy and what a great idea it is.

Here’s the explanation on the website of how it all works:
 In A Nutshell
Viral advertising is a very important part of Ann Summers communications strategy. However we don’t retain a creative agency; instead we welcome ideas from talented creative people who contact us directly. These are people who want to bolster their show reel with some advertising that will be seen by millions (it’s not unusual for our virals to be seen by 20 million people), or want to do some work with an ideas led brand they can have some fun with – or just people who have a cracking idea.

However the ideas we get are not in response to a specific brief – are not necessarily true to our brand values or business objectives. We have created the Ann Summers viral academy to formalise the process – and to give people with great ideas more of a chance to get their work made.

Briefs will be posted up to 4 times a year and we have committed to making a production budget of up to £25k available for each brief to make the winning idea or ideas happen. We are also going to be awarding soon to be covetable black and gold rabbits. As well as that we will create a lot of trade PR for the winning submission, the creative mind or minds behind the submission and their agency homes – so professional kudos shall be forthcoming.

We expect most of the ideas to be for short films – like the ones you can find here but we don’t want to limit you in any way. If you have a great idea for a game, a song, a comic – anything at all – we’d love to hear it.

Our Commitment
We will make up to 4 new ads a year, for which we have put aside a significant production budget. We will then seed/place/distribute these ads. They will be first be seen as exclusive content at handbag.com, who are our online partners in this venture. They will then feature on our website and be sent to our sizeable database. We will work with you to try to ensure that the winning viral idea is a success and is widely seen.

Unlike other user-generated viral campaigns which invite the average user to create a viral for Jeans West or some other FMCG client, Ann Summers opens her briefs up to the creative industry, to those people who are keen to get some cutting edge work on a reel or try a new idea for their own portfolio.

A well considered approach to viral marketing and worth a look.

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