Standards-based Guiding Questions


Communication - If you were a virus, how would you spread? If you were a seed, how would you ensure the survival of your species?

Cultures - How do cultures seem to identify concepts and principles that are critical to their survival and growth and disseminate them in "viral" ways that will ensure that they can take root, grow, and flourish throughout the profession?

Connections - How does each bit of advertising you encounter attempt to capture and hold your attention? How do other disciplines attempt to help a person build a relationship with their products (art, business, music, or theater, for example?)

Comparisons - What kinds of ads are popular in the target culture(s)? What might the advertising strategies used in these other cultures tell you about what might be believed or valued? How do speakers in other cultures attempt to hold one another's attention? How does the language of ads in the target culture(s) compare with that used in advertising in the United States?

Communities - How could you use the concepts of "viral marketing" to initiate, implement, and sustain change in your family, among your peer group, in your school, in the community, or in the world?


Project Description


The goal of this project is for students to try to get an important concept, idea, or piece of information they are studying to "go viral."



Project Examples


Amazing Juggling Finale - Watch without sound, then add sound. A great example of how music changes everything!

Bic Goes Viral With Students - French

Cat Herding - A super video for discussing the complexities of leadership

Dave Werner's Portfolio 2006 - An outstanding example of the powerful effects of layering aesthetic, conceptual, emotional, intellectual, and visual elements using mixed media. Notice how he uses the whole experience to teach viewers who he is and what he has to offer in terms of services

FunnyFox - For a European Audience

Germ - Image, Interactive, & Video Virals

Honda Accord Ad - Took 605 takes to make this

Introducing Le Book - A great video that helps us to recontextualize emerging technologies in the context of things that are familiar to us. Here's another version that will help you to think more carefully about multiple literacies as you watch

JCPenney Music Box Commercial - Note the way in which the images, music, lyrics, and movement work together to create the emotionally engaging message (Click on the "Watch the Commercial" link at the top of the page to see the commercial.)

The Machine is Us/ing Us - A fabulous video created by an anthropologist from Kansas State University that explains how emerging technologies are changing culture, society, and each of us!

Numa Numa - Why did something so simple get over one million hits?

Orchestrating Mixed-Media Art with Mentos - A viral video that displays what can happen when one mixes images, sound, chemistry, and creativity.

Running with the Squirrels - A good example of how an artist can use allusions and prior knowledge to create ironic effects.

Shift Happens - Uses statistics to paint a picture of the implications that globalization and the spread of emerging technologies have for education

Simpsons Real Life Intro - What happens when you take the cartoon intro to the T.V. show, The Simpsons, and make it real?!

Washing Machine Poetry - Incredible use of allusions and metaphors

Web 2.0 . . . The Machine is Us/ing Us (Final Version) - A fabulous video created by an anthropologist from Kansas State University that explains how emerging technologies are changing culture, society, and each of us!



Project Resources


Advertising - Cherice's most recent bookmarks on the topic

Business - Cherice's most recent bookmarks on the topic

Marketing - This link will take you to the Mentoring, Leadership, & Change: Designing Compelling Experiences for 21st Century Learners wiki page on Marketing. The page links to examples of a variety of popular marketing techniques in different languages--all of which could be used as the basis for student projects.

Viral Blog Marketing: Part One of the Virus Blog Series

What Makes an Idea Viral

Viral Marketing 101




Low-tech Alternative


Have students create large posters for your classroom, the wall outside your classroom door, or the school's hallways that attempt to make some idea "cool."