Guitar Hero Goes Viral

A couple days ago I ran across this video of an 8 year old dominating the game Guitar Hero. Of course I heard of it through my brother, whose friend showed it to him, and so on, as the pattern of most YouTube videos that “go viral”.

The thing that struck me about this video is that it reaches into the heart of social media. It is a relatively low-quality home video that was posted and offered up to a community of viewers, and, it captured my attention and curiosity enough to watch over and over in amazement.This little video of course got me thinking about www.guitarhero.com. What were the makers of the game doing to tie into this and other videos like it? Were there discussion forums to participate in or gamer tips to share? As I went to the site I realized that I was entering a site Guitar Hero’s newest game, Encore, Rocks the 80’s front and center with a “Buy now” button. Snooping further, I was introduced to the product by an embedded video that painfully streamed a commercial of the game, with extra information to read about the tracks, characters, etc. Somewhat dissatisfied, I went to the “forums” to see if anybody was talking about the game, promoting their favorite parts, or just talking about scores or tips. But I was greeted with an “authentication required” message. Lets just say Ctrl+Alt+Delete was my only way out. It was a painful experience. So — in essence, Guitar Hero “went viral” without the company even acknowledging it or responding to it on their website . Here’s a tip: if people are talking about you — you need to join the conversation or at least provide an area for discussion and sharing. Show potential customers the experiences other customers are having with your product. Capitalize on the conversation.

Instead of a custom-made product introduction video with quotes from USA Today, the website could have streamed in YouTube videos showing two dudes playing guitar hero, or expert players using the new Encore tracks. And instead of making my computer lock up, the forum should have encouraged and allowed new users to start talking with Guitar Hero fans about the new features of Encore, and the other Guitar Hero products.

So the simple lesson in all of this is: become involved in the conversation. Viral marketing campaigns are hard if not impossible to replicate. You can’t afford to miss out.

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