10 Tips to Viral Marketing Success

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A viral marketing experience is hard work. But get these 10 points right and 60% of the job is done!

Based on the information we have at hand, it’s safe to say that today’s consumers seek out immersive and unforgettable experiences. As a business, our goal is to amaze our clients with the experiences we make them live and emotions we make them feel through the marketing efforts we put before them, which will bring the holy outcome: brand recognition. It isn’t mere chance that these stunts become viral on the internet. At Cortex, we’ve had the chance to be part of such endeavours and we want to share with you what we have learned. Here are the top 10 winning conditions to build a successful experiential marketing campaign.

1 – the Early Bird Gets the Worm

It’s no secret, the preparation of these unique experiences takes a significant amount of time and resources. The more time we have, the better we can achieve our tasks and make adjustments when things aren’t going our way. The worst decision you can take is to go in last minute. We suggest to plan ahead 3 to 4 months before the big day… at minimum.

2 – Choose Your Partners Wisely

As in life, you must think long and hard about who you want to spend your life with… Or, for the sake of this article, let’s say just for a couple of months. You must surround yourself with  specialists in the areas you don’t fully master. You must find allies that demonstrate the following characteristics:

  1. Multidisciplinary, because knowledge is key;
  2. Discreet, to give you the edge of a surprising stunt that becomes viral;
  3. Diligent & Punctual, to stay on top of it and respect the deadlines.

3 – Establish the Concept and the Final Outcome

As a rule of thumb, if you know where you’re going, it’s easier to align what we need to get there. We recommend to establish these elements early in the process:

  • Concept;
  • Desired experience;
  • Final objectives;
  • Digital strategy and outreach plan.

By doing this, you will help the entire team have a 360 vision of the project. Do you want a long-lasting experience? A limited-time stunt? Just long enough to record a viral video? All these options will affect your production choices. Plus, you will be able to see on which elements you can take shortcuts and in which ones you want to invest the big bucks.

A good stunt can usually be summed up with a short phrase. For instance, in our thermal discount stunt with Sports-Experts: the more you sweat, the more you save. In other words, draw the perfect picture of what your stunt must be.

4 – Stunt Location

Schedule a site visit with all your partners early on. As a team, you must scout the location of your stunt and answer these questions:

  • Who walks there?
  • How many people walk there?
  • Where exactly will the stunt take place?
  • What are the logistics required? etc.

Knowing the unique point of view of your partners will help you avoid many surprises and make the right production choices for the future.

Make sure all contact information is shared with everyone if it’s not done already. 

5 – Risk Management and Testing

Risks always exist, especially on large scale projects. You cannot ignore them and the more prepared you are to face them, the better you will be able to tackle them. Trust us when we say: there are more chances that a problem will happen than not. Build a list that you will update as you go along that identifies the risks, the probability that they will happen and the impact they will have. Prioritize them and prepare a contingency plan for each.

On a technical standpoint, we suggest to execute a couple of micro-tests in the process. They’ll be worth it. The turnarounds will be quicker. Plus, the more practice you have with the experience, the better you will be able to avoid surprises.

6 – Establish Plan B for D-Day

In the same spirit of ‘’risk management’’, the elaboration of alternate plans is extremely important. Your on-site people must be ready to act when things go south.


  • Alternate locations;
  • Secondary date if the conditions are unwelcoming;
  • Actors to film missing sequences;
  • Have a ‘’manual’’ mode for the system without ruining the magic or experience.

The last thing you want is a delay or a show-stopper on D-day. These are costly turnarounds for your clients.  

7 – Video Production

Film everything. That is how you will be able to adjust your outreach plan and optimize it even further. You will even be able to solve little hiccups in the concept, the design or even the technology in order to present your client’s brand in its best light.

8 – Contests and Outreach

The stunt is done and the buzz is at its peak. It’s now time to fuel the fire to gain momentum for the medium to long term. Participating in contests can help your client’s brand gain recognition as well as also offer new opportunities to all our precious partners. Don’t sleep on any of them, you never know who will watch.

9 – The Making Of

Remember when we told you to film everything? Well, the juries for the contests you registered in will often ask for “Making of videos” in order to evaluate the overall experience of the project as well as the preparation and results it all implied.

10 – Our 5 Crucial Values

The best way to describe our way of working and our engagement can be summed with the following values:

  1. LOVE of our work, of our partners and our team. Because every project’s DNA is infused with the care we provided it;
  2. COURAGE to give our opinion, to believe in our ideas, to be honest, and to admit when we make mistakes;
  3. EXCELLENCE. Because we understand that it represents more than just a simple gesture. It’s a habit we try to cultivate on a daily-basis;
  4. FUN. Because a happy team is a productive one. Life’s short, have fun.
  5. Be PROUD. If you’re going to do something, you better do it right. If you’re not proud of what you did, throw it in the garbage and start over.

Own it. It’s by constantly engaging with these values that we take on every project and achieve outstanding results. 


Making sure we create by example the best environment for success is a good place to start. Here are our results:

The Origin of the World – Loto-Québec

Project won Grand Prize – Boomerang 2015 – Category: Non-commercial interactive environment: Origin of the World. Also, won a Numix 2016 – Category: Communication & Promotion

By using our expertise in speech recognition technology, we created an experience where users would activate a short film in sequences based on voice triggers.

The Mind Reading Billboard – Quebec City Magic Festival 2017

Project won Grand Prize – Boomerang 2017 – Category: Projet gagnant d’un Grand Prix Boomerang 2017 – Catégorie Environnement interactif autre que web et mobile.

The project was to develop an application connected to a custom eye-tracking system placed inside of a bus shelter. By running multiple test, we were able to configure it to adapt to and support a changing environment and different users.

Thermal Discounts – Sports Experts

More than 1 million views, thousands of shares and the stunt being talked about on international news broadcasts. Sports-Experts’ Thermal Discounts were a hit.

A heat-sensor booth that gave a discount at Sports Expert depending on your body temperature. The more you sweat, the more you save.


Not only are we always open to discuss you projects, we never miss our targets. Show us your creative tech concept and we’ll guide you to your goals. Try us with your craziest ideas, they’re our favourites.