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Viral marketing depends on a high pass-along rate from person to person. If a large percentage of recipients forward something to a large number of
friends, the overall growth snowballs very quickly. If the pass-along numbers get too low, the overall growth quickly fizzles.

At the height of B2C it seemed as if every startup had a viral component to its strategy, or at least claimed to have one. However, relatively
few marketing viruses achieve success on a scale similar to Hotmail,widely cited as the first example of viral marketing.

Probably the biggest viral marketing success of the year has come not from an advertising agency but from the Royal Dragoon Guards, based at their Al
Faw base in Iraq. The squaddies decided to make a spoof video of the Tony Christie song ‘Is this the Way to Amarillo’, which recently went back to the top of the UK charts as a result of the excellent charity
video by Peter Kay. The video clip, which features members of the Royal Dragoon Guards mimicking the Peter Kay video, was sent to friends in the UK but so many people tried to downlad it that the MoD server could
not cope.

If you’d like to see a short news clip about the video, take a look at the BBC website – ‘Amarillo’ video crashes MoD PCs; though for the full version I’d recommend you go to The Sun
newspaper and download it from there (you pay £0.50 but all proceeds go to the Armed Forces Memorial Appeal)