The THR article above labels Fox’s recent Napolean vs. Fender campaign as “viral”. The term viral is the latest buzzword flitting around the web in marketing circles and has come to mean a campaign that isn’t fully supported or promoted. Instead it is put out there and is up to individuals to stumble upon and publicize of their own free will, convincing themselves they have found something cool and want to show off/pass that information on.
The only problem with this particular example is that it really wasn’t a viral campaign. If you subscribe to the 20th Century Fox e-mail newsletter as I do, a link to that site along with other promotions for their recent release Robots, was included in it. Big graphic, about a quarter of the real estate in the email. This isn’t viral, it’s flat out plain as day Marketing 101 tactics.
Writers for major publications need to watch their use of trendy terms in order to appear hip with today’s kids. Just because a studio has created a sub-site off the main page to promote their movie does not necessarily qualify it as viral. It means they are taking a different route to promotion but that’s about it.