Posts Tagged ‘youtube

20
Jan
09

There’s a right way and a wrong way to go ‘viral’… here’s the wrong way

LANGUAGE WARNING: If you’re offended by a word that has four letters and is often used as a shortened version of ‘Richard’, don’t read on 🙂

Anyway, I have a new viral video mantra for y’all that I think should be an industry standard –”Don’t be a dick”. It isn’t hard (pun sort of intended). Treating your audience with respect is probably the most important thing you can do as a marketer. So many campaigns end up with companies / agencies being dicks to their customers. Conversation and substance are the name of the game in this new marketing world that we live in, yet  cheap tricks pulled in order to ‘go viral’ continue to pop up and (A) sully the name of marketers everywhere and (B) make Internet users more cynical by the day.

I’m sure everyone has seen by now the numerous articles about the fake tattoo video submitted for the Island Reef Dream Job campaign  (one of the original stories here, one of the revelations it was a fake is here). Sure, it’s given the Island Reef campaign a massive boost in publicity all over the world. But it’s also left a sour taste in the  mouth of many who were paying attention. When you’re trying to lure people back to Australia for tourism, but your campaign is revealed to be at least in part smoke and mirrors, it reduces how effectively your message comes across. There is no question about this.

Now, again today we have the ‘real life Cinderella’ story that SMH ran yesterday which has also been proven to be a fake. It’s actually a ‘viral’ campaign for a fashion retailer that I haven’t been able to find the name of yet (and major publications seem to be putting a blanket ban on even mentioning the name – here’s another tip, making a monkey out of report/s with fake press releases will piss off the media). Anyway, back to the Conderella story…the video is below if you’re interested.

Viral tripe

Faking video can be good creative. The Marc Ecko ‘Still Free‘ campaign involving footage of Air Force One getting tagged up was a pretty good example of this, where they did something so ridiculously crazy that you could only be left asking “Damn, did they really do that?” (I never actually saw confirmation either way if the video was real or not). The video engaged with social issues that Marc, his target audience and his brand hold near and dear, and sparked controversy and speculation, which it was designed to do so. It was not designed to deceive people, but to spark a dialogue and point people to a microsite. It was transparent in trying to do this.

Mark Ecko – Still Free

The line is to be drawn when you deliberately try to deceive your audience, with no real intention to cause dialogue, but simply to deceive in order to create traffic. This is no different to spamming. In fact, it is probably getting closer to phishing than spamming, as it is deliberately misleading and getting viewers to engage with video / messages they wouldn’t otherwise if they knew it was not genuine. Sneakiness in this regard always come back to bite you on the butt and can actually be quite annoying to the people who see your campaign… monitoring twitter, I found quite a few negative comments about the campaign. So if you’re going to ‘make a viral video’ as part of your next campaign (hmmm), do marketers the world over a favour, and don’t be a dick… respect your audience.

EDIT – 21/01/09: Today, the second video was released, featuring smug actress acting like no wrongdoing has occurred. There’s a much better account of this whole shebang in some of the posts over at Mumbrella… all I can say is it sucks that this campaign is proceeding and that I will never buy anything from Witchery man, or hire Naked as a strategy firm (if you want to know more about Naked, they have a blog here). Crap job all around.

UPDATE 5th Feb 2009 – Mumbrella, always on top of these things, discusses how the overall effect of the campaign makes it a failure at http://mumbrella.com.au/2009/02/05/exclusive-despite-nakeds-survey-their-witchery-campaign-was-a-social-media-failure/#comment-685

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29
Aug
08

And the Marketing Strategy of the Year for 2008 is…

… making a racy ad, “leaking it” on YouTube & then officially distancing yourself

For the record, I’m not saying that the below companies are actually doing this. For the record too, I’d never do – or recommend doing – something like this… but you have to admit that, although it’s a potentially dubious and high risk strategy, companies have gotten some pretty good viral style attention from having controversial ads ‘leaked’ over the past 6 months. They can then mop up most of the outrage it instigates amongst more conservative members of the viewing public by distancing themselves from the ad… If it can be done by mistake, why can’t it be done on purpose.

Example 1 – JC Penney

Take JC Penney for starters. Saatchi and Saatchi made them a nice little ad featuring 2 fit young things practicing how to get dressed as quickly as possible, with the tagline “Today’s the day you get away with it”.

 

Not entirely too offensive or racy, but JC Penney apparently found it suitably offensive to decide not to use it.

Fast forward a few months and it’s leaked on YouTube after winning an award at Cannes. JC Penney, understandably outraged, piss and moan and eventually have the video removed from Youtube (but in typical fashion there’s a few other copies of it on Youtube plus it’s since popped up a few other places). The interesting thing about all this is the fact that JC Penney never paid for TV time to air the ad and likely never even paid for production of it, but it’s been getting probably close to the number of views a TV campaign might achieve, plus massive amounts of discussion in forums, blogs and other online vehicles. I seriously doubt it’s going to be bad for Saatchi and Saatchi either, since it may slightly damage relations with JC Penney but it is a great case study in creating excitement online. So, as a brand awareness campaign, this has probably been quite successful (hell, as an Aussie blogger, I’d never heard or given a damn about JC Penney before now… and for the sake of a good blog post, lets ignore the potential issues of brand damage and the damage to the S&S / JC Penney relationship for a moment too).

Example 2  – Guinness

The more recent Guinness “Share one with a Friend” ad is another example. Same story, except the ad is perhaps better produced. It tugs on all the appropriate emotional strings (sex, shock, humour, surprise), and features what is essentially 30 seconds of Guinness logo time… I mean really, I’ve never seen an ad that gets people looking at a bottle of Guinness for 30 seconds whilst being totally entertained… This is one of the better crafted ads I’ve seen in a long time, but was apparently too racy for even a beer company.

It would have been (is) the perfect viral video.

However, the ad was deemed unsuitable by Guinness and was never to see the light of day. Enter (again) youtube, and the ad is getting some good numbers (my last count was 235,000 views of the different copies of it in various places on youtube, not to mention offline vehicles and the versions that have been taken down at Diageo’s request). Diageo / Guiness were, just like JC Penney, a bit miffed at having an ad they’d canned leaked on the net,and a similar hoopla kicked off to the JC Penney case. So this meant that, again, without paying for any TV time or even having to build a supporting campaigns to drive traffic to the video, Guinness managed to get it’s brand in front of hundreds of thousands or people for very little money and drove some real brand exposure time for it’s product. Particularly in the case of beer companies (as opposed to the slightly more conservative JC Penney) this is a positive thing for the company. And any potential negative issues are mitigated by the company distancing itself from the ad, even though behind closed doors it may actually fully endorse it. So the conservative fuddy older Guinness drinkers / investors remain placated, whilst the younger generation of Youtube using beer drinkers see a very different vision of Guinness to what they’re used to. And all this was achieved for probably what would amount to money for jam.

Nice, no? It’s a fine line to tread though.




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