Food Bragging Could Be the Viral Marketing Recipe for Success

A food box delivery example

As a marketer, we yearn for our social media campaigns to go viral, but according to Millward Brown, the success rate for viral campaigns is about 15% 1). There is good news; there is a viral recipe that will not guarantee success as luck is always a factor, but will provide the foundations you need for virality to take off.

Before we get into the viral recipe ingredients, let us first understand what Viral marketing is. Viral marketing is an art rather than a science. Its defined as “electronic word of mouth whereby some form of marketing message related to a company, brand or product is transmitted in an exponentially growing way, often through the use of social media” 2).

relationship between word of mouth and viral marketing

In the case of a dinner box delivery service, I’ll begin to reveal the ingredients for successful viral marketing by creating a campaign itself. Like any other marketing initiative, we need to set goals and objectives. A successful viral campaign reaches many people across many social media channels, but ultimately, viral marketing must convince prospects and customers to come back once the hype is over! 2). Let’s define the objectives to be

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Increase audience through social asset likes follows and email database numbers
  • Increase dinner box subscriptions and new customers

The food box delivery service viral marketing must contain three fundamental conditions;

  • Environment
  • Message
  • Messengers

We’ll dive deeper into each component as we unveil the campaign.

three conditions for viral marketing


A successful viral campaign requires successful integrated marketing and requires support and changes in the broader marketing mix 2). It will need to use its owned media to seed the campaign via its social channels and eDM database size. The higher the audience size, the better reach. These people already have shown interest in the brand at some point. Therefore a compelling message could drive action.


Now the fun part, we will intertwine Australian societal social behaviours with gamification and user-generated content concepts to act as a springboard for spreadability and virality.

Australian’s love food, we love watching competition TV shows like Masterchef and My kitchen rules, we read about it, and we are dining out to photograph our food and then brag on social media. 3) Did you know, according to the 2018 Sensis Social media report that 40% of social media users in Australia have posted “food porn” and 45% of people have taken a selfie ). There is a lot of fuel here for a compelling message that has the ingredients for message spreadability.

The memorable and interesting message

Since Australia is already posting food on social media and generating content, a dinner box delivery service can leverage this current behaviour with a little incentive.  A competition that includes the ability to brag and share the prize with friends can act as a compelling message and incentive for spreadability.

“Win a Gourmet Yarra Valley Cooking Class for you and three friends.”

To enter the competition entrants must post a “food box meal selfie with the recipe” on social media and check in with the companies head office and invite three friends to do the same. The must hashtag #ShowOffYourInnerChef.

Checking in aims to push the brand and company awareness through social media feeds, where the selfie itself aims to incite emotions that will increase brand bonds and increase social asset likes follows and email database numbers. The condition that the meal must be a dinner box from that company and the friend referral aims to build out new customer subscriptions with word of mouth and referral marketing tactics online.

By providing incentive,  leveraging food bragging, existing social media selfie and food posting behaviours, gamification and user-generated content, the memorable and interesting message has the potential for sharability and spreadability through social media.

 SM Food Porn competiton example

Who are the messengers

Our messengers will be the vehicles who diffuse the message to spread like a virus.

Market Mavens:

These are people who have excellent marketplace information and proactively engage in discussions with other consumers to diffuse and spread the news 2). Earlier I mentioned the integrated marketing mix. Here the market mavens are social media influencers, and food bloggers and companies owned media audience.

Sales People:

These people amplify the message and tend to retrieve the message from the market maven making it more relevant and persuasive. Here the company needs to leverage its partners who have a vested interest in the companies success. It could be ingredient suppliers themselves or even charities it may work with such as leftover food may be donated to a charity. Another example could be the cooking school where the cooking class is held.

Social Hubs:

Social Hubs are people with a significant connection number or online network.  This excellent social network of the social hubs acts as a facilitator to instantly send the message to many consumers.  We can further connect with these people using Facebook and Instagram ads by targeting foodie groups to aid in the spreadability with an integrated campaign.

A little overwhelmed with the art of viral marketing, get in contact with our team of digital experts, and we’ll help formulate your campaign for success.





  1. Hey Rey, great article!
    Viral marketing is always a tricky one as successful viral marketing requires a bit of luck and gut feeling. In addition it also requires to be backed up by other forms of communication (interrelated marketing communication), however should not be planned excessively as it kills the success of the campaign.

    Social media is a great medium to run viral campaigns as most users use social media to connect with their network and share information – which are key ingredients for viral campaigns becoming a success.

  2. Hi Rey, my understanding of your IMC strategy is to enable : “the right people need to get the right message under the right circumstances “. That’s why you mentioned about three conditions. If I got your points, how could you ensure the UGC is the right message?

    • Hi Serena

      By making it a competition around the actual dinnerbox meals prepared really tailors the messaging on a core topic and brand visuals. Thats the hope anyway. Of course there would be profanity filters for those being rude or disrespectful online

  3. Hi Rey,

    Thanks for clarifying. Always amazed by your knowledge, you are teaching this not so tech savvy student more with each class:)

  4. Interesting blog, would it be difficult for food companies to implement unless working with TV shows like MasterChef? I love cooking but l do not watch MasterChef, how can these companies reach me?

    • Hi Euphemia

      Masterchef isnt really part of the plan. The seeds are the companies owned media. So the owned media will enable mavens to reach the social hubs. So you would most likely be in the social hub and be reached through the spreadability of your social network.

  5. Enjoy the post! It describes a clear strategy process how to make a dinner box viral campaign be successful. However, my question is that viral marketing represents the main marketing strategy in this case and seems if following the points above will succeed? How do you feel about the uncertainties such as bad reflects and sensitive factors which easily make the strategy collapse? Viral marketing is an art means it is difficult to be used flexibly.

  6. This is a great strategy. How would you identify the specific mavens and hubs to ensure you maximise the reach though?

    • Hi Luke
      Thanks for commenting. To identify the mavens to hubs I would use tools such as klout to look for influencers and food bloggers. I would also use a range of social listening tools to find those is talking about dinner boxes and also bragging about food not only on social media but also on forums such as quora.