Things were different in 2007, when Saturday Night Live aired "Lazy Sunday"—a hip-hop ode to movie-going—and a copy of the clip went whizzing around the Internet. "Back then," says Maria Russo in a post at The Wrap, "the video could be found on any random blog or website and you didn't know where it came from. Or your friends sent you the YouTube link, and you watched it right away. It felt excitingly [viral]." It also demonstrated, she notes, how poorly networks understood the Web.

It was Andy Samberg's breakout moment, something NBC didn't see coming. But the network's handling of the comedian's more recent musical collaborations with Justin Timberlake—such as "Motherlover"—show how quickly NBC caught up with the trend.

"Now," she notes, "an 'SNL' clip that goes 'viral' is branded by Hulu and On Hulu, you have to see 'Motherlover' as Hulu wants you to see it, as part of the 'SNL Collection' or the 'Justin Timberlake SNL collection'—brought to you by State Farm. You're enticed to watch other 'SNL' clips instead of just checking out the one everyone's talking about and getting back to your day."

Creating a viral dead-end makes sense for media conglomerates. But your Marketing Inspiration is to do the opposite—ensure your viral content remains as contagious as possible.

More Inspiration:
Paul Chaney: Social Media Is Good for Something... Like, Selling Tampons
Lou Thurmon: Selecting the Right Lure
Paul Williams: A Spoon Full Of Surprise Helps The Marketing Go Down

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