Innovating on youtube: 3 fun examples for Marketers

To do something new and exciting and push the boundaries of social media platforms in your marketing campaigns (or in general), you have 2 options – (1) Innovate the platform itself, or (2) innovate within the platform. API’s for social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter mean that the power to extend and thus innovate those platforms is being put in the hands of the people. Examples can be seen in services like Twendz, which adds alot of extra functionality and value on top of Twitter’s existing offerings.

Twendz shows realtime Twitter sentiment on the topic of your choice.

However, Youtube’s API‘s are not as powerful for innovating the platform as the Facebook and Twitter API’s – they add little in the way of extra functionality that didn’t already exist on the Youtube site. Perhaps this is why people have started innovating ‘within the platform’ when posting vdieos to Youtube. Let me explain by looking at some examples (the sort of vids I’ll be posting don’t embed terribly well, so I’ll just post links):

1 – Choose Your Own Adventure style videos

There’s been a number of these popup in the last 12 months. The below is for a campaign by droptheweapons.org/, which I like because it’s shot POV-style, which makes it more like the original Choose Your Own Adventure books. The vid is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFVkzYDNJqo&feature=player_embedded#t=23

Norton also did a great job of this style of video engagement starring street brawling legend Kimbo Price – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRnPbSKUMEs

2 – Play Streetfighter …. on youtube

This campaign built considerable buzz for State of the Art toys (6.5 million views and counting) – a Streetfighter video game featuring their own Streetfighter figurines. It took me a little while to work out that it was stop-motion animation and a case of simply getting the viewer to stop a current video and loading a new one before they video they’re watching came to it’s logical conclusion (i.e. their character getting knocked out). Genius!! You can see the game at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPQ1XrllZmA (there’s a bit of lag in the game play due to video load times, but it’s all in the name of good fun)

3 – Live Action Interactivity

Well, it’s not exactly live, but there are a bunch of new videos out there that are combing 1 & 2 above to give viewers a better choice of exactly what content they want to see. I like this style, because it means that your videos are likely to be watched a number of times to make sure people see all possible outcomes. There’s not many times that someone will sit and watch your youtube video 5 or 6 times in one sitting, but these Parkour guys have achieved just that – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_bazQgaD2U&fmt=22&annotation_id=annotation_543206&feature=iv

All three of the above are good examples of driving deeper customer interaction – they aren’t surfing from youtube clip to youtube clip, they are surfing from one of your videos to the next, meaning longer exposure to content you have created. Very clever stuff.

EDIT: 25/09/09 – discussing this with Marek from The Taboo Room this morning, Lynx took this concept out of youtube and across a number of sites – it’s a pretty fun concept. Start the journey at http://ralph.ninemsn.com.au/partyacrosstheinternet. Thanks Marek for the tip.

EDIT 01/01/10: Boone Oakley have built a surrogate for their agency’s webpage on Youtube. This is really cool…


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