|Currently a campaign for the game „Resident Evil Outbreak“, created by Capcom Europe gets a lot of attention not only among gamers but also in the marketing and advetising community. Called the „T-Virus“, a mobile phone virus was spread by e-mail and SMS across Europe by the recipients. Fortunately, all the virus does is leave a zombie ring tone on infected phones.
In his ClickZ column Sean Carton comments that the campaign „got a bit out of control and spread faster than anticipated“. He also states that campaigns such as „Capcom’s“ are both a clear warning of heavy-handed marketing’s unintended consequences and a glimpse of a possible future.
The discussion about the T-Virus campaign reveals one of the major concerns people have with Viral marketing. For most marketers being in control is still one of their prime principles. In my opinion control is a chimera in a marketing environment that is getting more and more complex, organic and connected every day. Viral campaigns work best if control is given away partly to the customers. Control-freaks obviously limit their risks, but concurrently they also limit their chances.