Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Montauk Monster viral effect - how online and social media have created the story of the summer!

The Montauk Monster is the biggest viral of the year. Whether it is actual viral marketing for the X Files movie or kids TV show Cryptids Are Real or just some weird natural event, people are fascinated by the Montauk Monster. The story of the Montauk Monster is a great example of how a local news story can quickly become a global phenomenon as the story is virally spread across the internet by both news and social media sites.

Originally the finding of the Montauk Monster was reported as a simple news story of an unidentified creature that had washed up on Montauk Beach. Gawker were the first to carry a picture of the ‘Montauk Monster’ that washed up on shore in Montauk:

Original Montauk Monster story from Gawker: http://gawker.com/5030531/dead-monster-washes-ashore-in-montauk

Since then regular Montauk Monster updates on Gawker have generated 11 billion page views (source: Huffington Post), under headlines like:

"Good luck with your hell demons"

"The 2008 Montauk Monster Yearbook"

"Montauk Monster is maybe a dog"

"Is the Montauk Monster Satan's Bacon?"

"Montauk Monster - VOLE Or SATAN?"

Whilst Gawker have been having fun with the Montauk Monster story, it has also been picked up by news organisations all over the US, as well as appearing in the Daily Telegraph in the UK. Furthermore the blogosphere has been alive with speculation and debate as to what the Montauk Monster actually is, with 6,324 mentions currently on Google Blog Search. Hitwise have reported that searches for ‘Montauk Monster’ appeared at number 5 and number 12 on their fastest moving search terms for the week ending 2nd August and for a while 'Montauk Monster' was number 1 on Google Trends.

Plum TV have released a video with the Video with the Montauk Monster photographers:

The really interesting Montauk Monster viral activity is just beginning though. MontyMash.com showcases mash up photos that feature the Montauk Monster:

The Montauk Monster meets Obama on MontyMash.com

Brad, Angelina and the Montauk Monster on MontyMash.com

The Montauk Monster is also now a regular on satirical shows, eg being used in a John McCain joke on the Colbert report last night - "John McCain has washed up on the shore of Montauk":

Montauk Monster on the Colbert report last night

The popularity of the Montauk Monster story is partly due to fascination with the unknown, but is also derived from people wanting to be distracted from bad economic news - as well as being indicative of the summer news lull. Gawker claim that another reason is that "everyone hates rich people" and "a hideous hell beast washing up on their precious, opal-sanded shores" is a pleasing image for many (!)

From a marketing perspective the Montauk Monster is a fantastic example of how the internet can spread viral activity and interestingly the online discussion has been developed by both blogs and MSM. The Montauk Monster mystery may still have further to go though - especially if anyone reveals what the Montauk Monster actually is - keep watching!

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Anonymous said...

it's raccoon

google is god

Anonymous said...

There also an old urban legend/conspiracy theory about Montauk: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montauk_Project