Samsung, Tony Hawk, David Cameron: Social Virality at its Best (and Worst)

Posted by Sophie Figgis
07-Mar-2014 20:05:00

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Before this last week's shenanigans, I really didn't think it would be possible to have Samsung, Tony Hawk and David Cameron in the same sentence - or even thought process - yet somehow it seems social media has brought this unlikely group together.  Let's recap, in case any of you missed the stories that have been flooding my news feeds this week, and take a look at the viral effect social media can have on content, as well as trying to measure its success (whether planned or accidental).

1. Samsung - The Oscars


(Image source:

It would be hard not to have seen this pic this week - Ellen Degeneres' celebrity-packed selfie with the prominent inclusion from Samsung. It was re-tweeted over 2 million times before midnight ET on Sunday, breaking a record set by Obama in his 2012 re-election, and is the proposed cause for 'breaking' Twitter for 20 minutes. There is still much debate on this picture - is it a clever but expensive marketing stunt? Or was it accidental. Samsung have now claimed they were not involved, but it is still donating $3m to charities of Ellen Degeneres' choice,so they are obviously thrilled with the results. Well who wouldn't be? For a brand that spent upwards of $20m on advertising this Oscars, it was totally overshadowed by one photo which cost them nothing.

Traditonal Advertising - 0; Social Media - 1.


2. Tony Hawk - Huvr Board

A video has been circling this week with the assertion that a back-to-the-future-style hoverboard is now possible. This provoked debate across the world - could this really be possible?? The answer is of course no. Using Tony Hawk, actors from back to the future, and some extremely flimsy scientific explanations, this short video managed to capture the attention of millions of people.

After over 10 million views on YouTube, the truth came out that the comedy video site Funny or Die was behind the hoax. But what does this mean for Funny or Die? A success or a failure? There were some quite strong reactions to the fake hoverboard, ranging from amusement, to dissappointment, to anger, culminating in Tony Hawk apologising for his part in it. Apparently, people have no sense of humour when it comes to hoverboards...So is this a win for social media? Perhaps it is too early to tell, but if the phrase "All PR is good PR" is true, then it has certainly got people talking.

Traditional Advertising - 0, Social Media - ??

3. David Cameron - Phone Call


In times of difficulty, people often unite over their shared hatred of somethig (or someone). After David Cameron uploaded a photo of himself to Twitter highlighting the crisis in the Ukraine, the reaction was extraordinary. From random Twitter followers to celebrities like Patrick Stewart, the explosion of the David Cameron targeted humour was immense. As for who wins, I would have to say not David Cameron, but it certainly shows off the "social" element of Twitter. Where else can so many people from so many different backgrounds connect like that?

Social Media - 1, David Cameron - 0.

So all in all, a big week for social media's finest. These 3 examples can provide us with some important lessons not only in the power of social to reach millions, but also the potential effect the moods of that many people can have on a business or an individual. But anyone who believes that social isn't important to their business, or the people they are trying to reach are seriously mistaken.

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