A topic that is making headlines recently is the term viral. Viral marketing, viral advertising, and viral videos are 3 common references to this term. If you have heard it you know that it’s spreading fast, and that’s exactly what it means.

Viral marketing uses pre-existing social networks to rapidly spread the word about a product or service.  It works on the principle of one person telling two friends, and they tell two friends each and so on, until the word is spread to hundreds if not thousands of people in a very short amount of time.

When used in conjunction with marketing or advertising, viral is putting a new meaning to word of mouth. People are creating viral marketing videos for new products and spreading them over the internet, which spreads like wildfire if the product is hot enough. Even products that aren’t hot can pick up speed if enough people on the web start linking and sharing the video. Viral advertising is becoming an integral part of businesses around the globe and is part of the Web 2.0 movement. Companies are realizing the potential that they can gain when they have users create their own reviews or videocasts talking about products and services that the company may provide.

The mentos intern was a great example of this. Now off-line, the mentos intern allowed users to tell a newly hired intern at mentos to do whatever they wanted, and the intern would follow most of the instructions that people provided. You can check out a link to the site here and even though it is now over, I’m sure they’ll run a campaign like this again real soon.

So if you’ve got a product to sell or service to provide, why not make a funny video and post it to YouTube and who knows, you may be the next internet star, or at least a favorite among your friends and co-workers.