Analysing the frenzied waters viral campaign

The stranger the idea you come up with the better. The internet will devour anything it hasn’t seen before, so if you develop an idea that sounds wacky and weird, you’re probably onto something. Do the different, be remarkable, as Seth Godin professes,

If it’s in a manual, if it’s the accepted wisdom, if you can find it in a Dummies book, then guess what? It’s boring, not remarkable.

One such remarkable idea was to send prominent bloggers capsules with clippings to newspaper stories detailing their horrific and tragic deaths at the mercy of a killer shark. It’s something the internet hasn’t necessarily seen before, it raises curiosity and creates a discussion, if only around which company is behind the sending of strange death capsules around the United States.

Frenzied Waters jar contents

The first positive thing to note about this campaign is that by sending these capsules around the US you’re almost  guaranteed a post about the strange packages on their blog, and hopefully you’ll get a link to your campaign site. A quick search on Google demonstrates that the plan worked a charm, and a look through the twittersphere even shows that someone made a Google map of where the capsules were sent and the hashtag #frenziedwaters has roused a smidgen of curiosity on twitter.

After all this effort, you’d better have a top quality campaign site, and the frenzied waters campaign has just that. The eerie full screen video site shows you what it might be like to be attacked by a shark from a first person perspective, even more impressive is it’s use of Facebook Connect. Put in your Facebook details and uses your profile information to put together a flashback of your life, including newspaper clippings, as you slowly die in the water…


So you’ve made your campaign site, you’ve enticed in prominent bloggers, hoarded in links and impressed the early adopters on the social media circuit. Has the campaign been a success? As well executed as the campaign is, it isn’t entirely clear what it’s for. Surely this pushes the campaign towards the ultimate failure? At the end of the experience there is no “Watch Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.” Tweeters were impressed, but didn’t seem concerned about finding out who was behind the campaign.


Bloggers were left to guess that it may or may not be for Shark Week which starts on The Discovery Channel on August 2nd. A commenter on this blog confirmed this when he spotted the *tiny* terms of service link in the bottom left corner of takes you to a Discovery Channel page. Will bloggers and social media users really put the legwork into finding out what product are the driving force behind a clever viral campaign? I’d take a guess at them not bothering at all…

Of course with Shark Week not starting until August 2nd, The Discovery Channel may still have a trick or two up their sleeve to promote the show, possibly using via a back door method using Facebook connect to announce the show in news feeds? Sticking with the mysterious method might prove costly in their viewing figures, but only The Discovery Channel will know how the campaign went… Would they be wise to stay mysterious or should they been clear what the campaign was for from the beginning?

Phil Harper - Social Media Consultant
  • kershan

    “Shark week” on the Discovery Channel? Isn’t that like Xenophobia Week in the Daily Mail?

  • kershan

    “Shark week” on the Discovery Channel? Isn't that like Xenophobia Week in the Daily Mail?