Viral Marketing Case Study: Happy Friday Guy
Today I would like to share with you a viral marketing case study from my days at Ball State University (man I sound really old).
Let’s go back to 2005 on a warm spring day walking down McKinley Avenue (the main road that runs through Ball State) in route to your next class. The time is 12:00 pm. In the distance you can hear a “Happy Friday!” along with a faint motor running. The shout grows louder as a man dressed in bright colors with a cape moves closer at a very fast rate. Soon you can tell this guy is wearing a red karate helmet, goggles, a yellow shirt with a blue cape and of course knee pads! To top it all off he is on a motorized scooter weaving in and out between students on their way to class yelling “Happy Friday!” You turn to the person next to you with a startled look on your face and without saying a word that person instinctively replies, “That’s Happy Friday Guy. He does this every Friday at noon.” And this very story is how a BSU legend was born.
Question: So how did something so obscure grow to the point to where Happy Friday Guy was awarded the “Campus Icon” award in 2007 beating out the likes of a Jim Davis or David Letterman?
Answer: Happy Friday Guy became viral. And the virus spread.
You see every single Friday at the same time and same place you could count on Happy Friday Guy. He was consistent. And he never missed a Friday.
His message was very simple – Happy Friday! Who wouldn’t appreciate someone going out of his or her way to wish everyone a Happy Friday (and occasionally pass out candy)?
He created a contagious feeling. People felt good when Happy Friday Guy was around. He brought a sense of cheer, joy and hope to your Friday no matter what had taken place earlier in the day. And you better believe it spread throughough Ball State. His Facebook group grew to over 5,000 members (back then this was alot for a Facebook group, but due to inactivity this number has slowly dropped). His YouTube video has over 18,000 views. Happy Friday Guy even had a blog and was selling t-shirts.
What if we all take a few minutes each Friday to reach out to a group of people within our network simply be sending them a message online or calling them just to wish them a Happy Friday? I think we can learn something from Happy Friday Guy.
Check out the video below to see Happy Friday Guy in action: