A viral email campaign that I liked: Elautobus

As I read in the January issue of Revolution (p25) Jeffrey Rayport coined the term, ‘viral marketing’ in 1996. Actually the entire page is taken up with the discussion of viral marketing in more general terms. Reading it reminded me of the last viral email marketing campaign I received.

I don’t often forward or for that matter receive too many emails with a viral element but this one arrived sometime in early December and I was duly impressed by it and forwarded it on to several of my contacts.

Why did I like it? Perhaps because of its simplicity, all the recipient has to do is forward it on, via entering friends details. When they open the email, the original recipient receives the message below. It also has the feel good factor. Whilst the host brand is ING Direct, they are raising funds for UNICEF, which is in my mind a great partnership in terms of halo effect.

The concept is very simple, a bus that travels around the world, raising money for children who don’t have a school. What the message below quite quickly tells you is how far the bus, or as the creative so delightfully has it ‘your bus’ has travelled (essentially who has opened your email and the distance between you and them), how long it took (in terms of sending to opening) and how much money you sending the email has helped to raise.

Thus far, I have not received further emails from ING Direct nor UNICEF, I’m not sure that as such it was a database building exercise, indeed that may have been a missed opportunity. I rather think it was a purely brand focused exercise on ING Direct’s part and to that end I should imagine successful.

It’s that simple. Perhaps that is why I liked it. You can see a small image of the email below, alternatively you can click here to see a larger version.

ING Direct Espana UNICEF Autobus Viral Email

For those not familiar with Spanish, an approximate translation would be:

¡Enhorabuena! Tu autobús acaba de llegar a su destino – Congratulations! Your bus has just reached its destination [name of viral recipient]

Ha tardado – It took 11 minutes

Ha recorrido – And has travelled 5,555 kilometers [Southall to New York]

Y ha recaudado – And has collected €5,555 for those children without a school

Si lo deseas, puedes realizar tu propia aportación – If you want, you can make your own donation

Recuerda que puedes seguir enviando autobuses – Remember you can send more buses by clicking here

Entra en Mis Trayectos y consulta – You can go to ‘my journeys’ and check progress.

Refrences used in this post

Revolution (January, 2009) London, Haymarket Business Media.

Wikipedia entry for Jeffrey Rayport, accessed 07/01/09.


This post was picked up today (14/01/09) as part of the DMA’s Infobox newsletter, here.


2 Responses to “A viral email campaign that I liked: Elautobus”

  1. Hey Rich,
    I love the concept and agree that it’s strength is in it’s simplicity. You seem to really know your stuff when it comes to viral marketing…I wonder whether you have any marketing ‘chestnuts’ which could help us out at UK AWARE. We’re a small social enterpise which organises the UK’s only green lifestyle expo in Olympia (www.ukaware.com). We have a limited marketing budget and I’m sure that this type of marketing tactic would be a powerful tool for us. Perhaps you could impart some of your wisdom to our very worthy cause.

    All the best, Danny.

  2. […] from Elautobus Following on from an earlier post, ING Direct and UNICEF email me to thank me for helping to raise funds through their viral email […]

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