baconThe Bacon Explosion. Besides the two pounds of bacon surrounding two pounds of sausage and the addition of whatever seasoning you want to add, there were more ingredients than met the grill for this recent viral media success story. However, using it as a mold to replicate other one-off events will not work.

The story behind The Bacon Explosion is more intriguing than its pork fat phenomenon. It has intrigued marketing automation firm Marketbright enough to recuit the co-founder of BBQ Addicts, the ecommerce company behind it, to star in a webinar about social media creation and tracking. The, um, sandwich recipe and associated video have been a blogging and You Tube phenomenon since late January. YouTube logged more than 500,000 page views of the Explosion being cooked and consumed. The company that is responsible for its creation is BBQ Addicts, which has measured 1.5 million page views. But appearing in a teaching role begs the question, how much more detail than excessive amounts of pork fat and frat boy bravado could there have been?

Apparently a lot, and the fact that this detail will be help up as a model is concerning. Viral marketing success has never been replicated since the Dancing Baby of the 90s. Burger King, which had a defining success with the Subservient Chicken character, was never able to come up with another one. BBQ Addicts was co-founded by a gentleman named Aaron Chronister. He has not quit his day job as VP of Internet Marketing at a company called TSI, which manufactures performance measurement equipment. BBQ Addicts is legit. It sells real cooking equipment and wine on its site. Although Chronister has not yet laid out the exact details of the plan that got his company into The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, and various TV shows, it involves search optimization, extensive campaign tracking, and marketing automation to trigger and track social media messaging.

The calculation is only a little surprising. But to think some kind of textbook lessons can be learned about social media marketing, or its older cousin viral marketing, is a tough stretch. Kudos to Chronister for employing some intelligence and applying it to bacon. But the Bacon Explosion, like other viral marketing, is outrageous. Therefore it rates curiosity and that "tell a friend" kind of quality. Take an outrageous stunt out of this equation and you have a small ecommerce company trying to sell a grill.

It will be interesting to see what else Chronister has up his sleeve. For him to achieve some kind of guru status he'll need quite a performance. For the moment, the Bacon Explosion is a good piece of viral marketing that caught on while news companies were looking to spin a Super Bowl story.


Published 10 March, 2009 by John Gaffney

John Gaffney is US Editor at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter

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Comments (3)


Jon Ross

Here is a link to the free webinar:

over 9 years ago


Aaron Chronister

1. is not where I work.

2. we didn't use any automation in our social media strategy, that would go against the whole point of engaging your audience.

3. Viral marketing can be replicated (although to that level is rare). Take Will it blend, the red paperclip, mentos, the Dove beauty video, etc, etc. It's about knowing your audience and which hooks to use.

4. You can't predict the success of a viral campaign, however you can apply best practices to increase your chance of success.

5. I don't call myself a guru, that word is thrown around pointlessly. 10 years of doing this and lots of references does give me some credibility.

6. The Bacon Explosion isn't as extreme as it looks. It's already won in competition categories, and been served in restaurants.

7. In the end, social media is just part of the equation. It's about solid business and using what you can for leverage.

8. Countless people have been asking about stats, steps, etc so I'm doing it for free because it's interesting and engaging...once again the foundation of social media.


over 9 years ago


Markus Roder

Well said, Aaron!

Apparently John is not aware of some simple memetic rules...

over 9 years ago

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