Case Study: Chinese Gangster Lost Phone Photos

On March 20, 2012, a series of photos recovered from a cell phone that belonged to a Chinese gangster went viral online, gathering tens of millions of views in a matter of 48 hours.

The images included stacks of cash, numerous poses around a Porsche, photos of the gangster with his dog, as well as a number of gangsters beating up some guy under a bridge.

Here below we will detail some of the elements of our campaign to help show just how viral content marketing can become in a short amount of time.

Campaign Goals

Our main goal with this campaign was to continue our internal testing on content that has the potential to go viral across the social web, as well as run successful campaigns across multiple influential social communities at the same time. Specifically we were conducting test around Image based content and image collections, as we are seeing a continued rise in the popularity of social sites like Pinterest.

Approach Used

We came across a collection of photos on a Chinese website that contained a series of pictures a Chinese gangster had allegedly taken, before losing his phone. The photos contain a number of interesting photos showcasing the man with his dog, piles of money, beating up some guy, and standing in front of a number of cars.

Due to the website being in Chinese and some other testing reasons, we uploaded the images to Imgur and submitted them to the /r/pics SubReddit of

The submission actually went quite slow at first and the response on the site was pretty negative (note that the submission got around 15,500 up votes and around 13,000 down votes).

We figured maybe the submission was better suited in the /r/wtf category, and we wanted to test more on how the Reddit community responds to cross posting submissions, so we submitted the collection again to the /r/wtf SubReddit.

After submitting to Reddit, we continued to submit the collection to almost all of the major social media sites.

Social Communities and Platforms Engaged



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