Frenzied Waters Takes A Bite Out of Shark Week

One of my former clients, Discovery Channel, recently sent me a link to their viral campaign for Shark Week, called “Frenzied Waters”.

The campaign itself is pretty innovative. Using Facebook Connect to log into frenziedwaters.com, the site takes you through a first person video of someone (presumed you) splashing and swimming in the ocean. Panic sets in however as you’re attacked by a shark (shot non-graphically, as it’s alluded you’re being attacked). As you go down under water, you begin to have hazy flashbacks.

This is where Facebook Connect comes in. The flashbacks pull from all of your Facebook content, including status updates, occupation and pictures.

The Facebook Connect piece is just the beginning however. This is a viral game that also blends elements of geocaching which has sparked online community involvement through message boards, twitter, and online communities.

In order to promote the game, Discovery seeded the campaign through outreach, sending key entertainment bloggers “care packages”. These care packages included items such as a ripped swimsuit, a rusty key, and the blogger’s obituary. They also received a phone number and a link to the URL for the game.

The buzz around the campaign is just beginning. Using Twitter Venn, I was able to see that roughly 47 people per day are mentioning “frenzied waters” and 81 are mentioning “shark week” on twitter. Approximately 10 per day are referencing both terms in the same tweet.

In addition to Twitter, bloggers are beginning to catch on and mention the campaign. Social Mention states that there is approximately 1 mention of the campaign per hour with 47 unique bloggers speaking about the viral campaign.

Viral marketing is always difficult to measure. Do you measure on the engagement or the conversation? All I know is that Ryan Seacrest mentioned the campaign on air, giving credibility and awareness to Shark Week and subsequently the effectiveness of this campaign.

While there is no true success science that determines what goes viral, I think in this case, Discovery Channel has a hit on its hand.

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