It is nearly impossible to predict if a video will go viral (in particular, if there are no media dollars behind or a distribution strategy), although we keep seeing that there are common characteristics in branded viral videos: they must elicit emotions from viewers such as hilarity and/or surprise.
Last weekend, NBC began their exclusive coverage of the 2013/2014 Barclays Premier League. This season marks the first year of their 3-year US broadcast deal, having taken the reins over from their network television competitors at Fox (who had split coverage rights with ESPN since the early 2000’s).
In the lead-up to last weekend’s season openers, NBC have been putting (what seems like) significant support behind promoting NBC Sports, the channel they set-up to broadcast most of the games, as the new home of the Premier league.
The campaign is multi-channel, covering OLA, OLV, TV, OOH (most notably the huge Gareth Bale billboard in Times Square), and print.
See one of the excellent online video’s they produced below (was also cut into a TV spot):
And a particularly well targeted banner ad on Seamless.com…
Why I’m Curious?
It’s been interesting to watch this campaign unfold. As I see it, NBC Sports has two fairly distinct targets to speak to with this campaign – Diehard Premier League fans, who presumably already know that NBC Sports is the new go-to station, and new converts…people who are interested in soccer, might not know where to watch it, and might be somewhat daunted by the task of learning the ins and outs of a very foreign league.
A few notes below…
- The viral video starring Jason Sudeikis is impressive…The video speaks very pointedly to both targets. Leveraging Sudeikis’ star power, the video follows an American football coach who has somehow found himself the coach of Tottenham Hotspur (one of the PL’s elite clubs). The video features the squad’s actual players, which is awesome, and the jokes are spot-on for anyone well-versed in both the PL, and American sports. For the new fan, Sudeikis as an American football coach has immediate appeal, and, cleverly, the video teaches the viewer through having the characters in the video teach Sudeikis about the league/sport.
- Continuing with the “Educate” approach that partially characterized the Sudeikis video, NBC Sports produced a series “what you need to know” videos for each PL team (can be seen here). In watching these you get a very firm sense that these are for uninitiated fans, and in teaching the target about the team/sport, they continue to use the American sports references that made the Sudeikis video so successful. It’s difficult to determine what information is relevant to someone new to something…especially something as rich in history and information as the PL. I’m curious to know how helpful new fans have found these.
All in all, I think they’ve been doing a good job…will be very interesting to see what viewership looks like compared against this time last year.
YouTube has unveiled a new Trends Map for viewers that shows what videos are popular in different parts of the country. Currently only available for the U.S., this interactive map allows users to see what different groups of people are watching and helps them discover relevant videos and channels.
The Trends Map can be customized by market, gender, age group and type of activity (shares or views). It is interactive as well, enabling viewers to not only see what’s trending where, but also watch the videos.
Why Am I Curious?
While most brands at one point or another want to create a video that goes viral, it is important to realize that a video may not go universally viral and this emphasizes the importance of knowing the target and what makes them tick.This is a good tool to understand for different audiences which videos are getting attention and shares for marketers. However, this tool also puts more pressure on us as many users can use this tool as a video discovery engine and this increases the importance of be a part of it to be a easily discoverable.
Samsung released this video just a few days before the iPhone 5 launch to parody the masses of Apple fanboys waiting in line. They use the video to poke fun at some of the new (and generally underwhelming) iPhone 5 features, while promoting some of the the Galaxy S III’s differentiating features, like NFC.
Why I’m Curious
While iPhone 5 parodies are becoming slightly overdone, Samsung succeeded in almost immediate viral success by 1) producing a funny video that speaks directly to its audience, 2) releasing the video in an incredibly timely manner, and 3) putting paid media behind it.
Samsung ran paid media for this spot on Sept 19th, garnering its first 1 million + views, but the video was quickly picked up by reddit, mashable, cnet and techcrunch – and is making its way around Facebook and the interwebs.
“Cundari and BMW Canada demonstrate the speed and strength of the BMW M5 by likening it to a bullet, in this impressive viral web film that shows the sedan hurtling through the Bonneville Salt Flats. In nice contrast, the footage slows down when it collides with various objects, like a big glass apple or a trio of giant water balloons. The roar of the engine gives way to Beethoven, so the result is what the agency describes as “high performance art.””
Why I’m curious:
By creating this unique video BMW has directly captured everything the company stands for, but most importantly it has done it in a way that makes users want to both share it and watch it over and over again. You can feel the immense speed of the car, its elegance, and it just plain out make you want one. The perfect mix of advertising is both a combination of art and messaging and this BMW spot nails it.
In an attempt to communicate the SLS AMG Roadster’s speed and precision, Mercedes-Benz did the unimaginable. While driving the sports car, Formula-1 legend David Coulthard caught a golf ball shot by pro-golfer Jake Shepherd setting the Guinness World Record for “furthest golf shot caught in a moving car.” The golfball was caught 275 meters away from where the shot was taken while it traveled 178 miles per hour.
The video, called “The Catch,” was published on Mercedes-Benz UK’s Youtube channel on July 20th and in only 9 days it has garnered more than 1.5 million views.
Why I’m Curious
Viral videos are tricky to execute. Content that feels genuine, communicates the products benefits and provide a “wow” factor is hard to find. Mercedes was able to find that balance by highlighting how the car’s speed along with both celebrities were important tools to set the Guinness World Record.
We’ve all heard it – there’s no guarantee that a video you make with the intent of going viral will actually be viral. But this week, there were a few viral winners. And it could be due to the fact that they do a good job of imitating or incorporating the key ingredients of true viral video.
Everyone knows that cats are viral gold. Dub step is also pretty hot right now. Which is probably what propelled the Hovercat video to over 500,000 views on YouTube in just a few days. (more at FastCompany)
Coca-Cola: Security Camera
Is it real security camera footage? Not real? Does it really matter? Coke Latin America’s latest video stitches “little acts of love, kindness, silliness and happiness” together with Supertramp’s “Give A Little Bit” playing, and it’s got more than 1,646,000 views in 3 days. (more at Creativity)
cdza: NYC Phoneharmonic
cdza is a collective of NYC musicians with a unique blend of marketing skills, humor, and musical talent that releases a new YouTube video every week. Their key to success? Making important Web topics like cellphones, Kanye & Jay-Z, and Mark Zuckerberg into short online musicals. AT&T has already tapped their viral prowess for a Facebook video that garnered more than 2 million “likes.” (more at Fast Company).
Why I’m Curious
There you have it, key ingredients for going viral: cats, dub step or sappy music, ‘found’ footage, and of course, humor. These videos also have the right look: they’re not scripted, overproduced, and there’s no celebrities in sight. But it seems a cat gives you a little more leeway (with the nicer production and sort-of celebrity). There’s also minimal branding – ASPCA, Coke, and cdza all wait until the very end of the video to plug the message in, and the videos are compelling enough that you’ll want to watch to see it.
Sure, there are different strategies and goals for different kinds of content, but if it seems if you’re aiming to benefit from the power of passability, then making like the native content on YouTube is important.
“IKEA UK launched new Facebook campaign to drive its social media presence with a viral photo contest. While promoting its wide selection of bedding and mattresses, IKEA urges its loyal followers to snap photos of people napping, or as IKEA puts it: “sleeping like a princess.” After uploading the photo on IKEA’s Facebook page, the public will vote on the best picture and one lucky winner (and his/her victim) will receive a bed, a mattress to suit the way they sleep, pillows, a quilt, quilt cover and lots of comfy extras like a mattress topper. The packages are each worth up to £1500 (approximately US$2400). (more on PSFK)”
Why I’m curious:
I’m curious to see the results of this campaign. Snapping pictures of friends and family dozing off is one of the meanest AND funnest tricks in the book, with high chances of sharing. As a brand, Ikea has had a personality of providing something delightful, imaginative, and light-hearted to its customers. For the last decade, at least in the U.K. and Europe, Ikea has pulled off unusual stunts to bring a smile to your face. This viral campaign fits the brand personality and it’s clearly poking fun at our follies. Also, I wonder what was the insight that led to the idea. Could it be that a large number of people were coming in to take naps on the beds at the Ikea in Shanghai? We will stay tuned and find out how well this campaign lives on the internet.
By now we’ve all seen plenty of Facebook Connect apps that give users a fun, personalized experience (think Take This Lollipop, etc.). Pepsi Next has decided to take it a step further with improv peeps from Funny or Die for their “Internet Taste Test.” It works like this – fans send in their profile for consideration, then Pepsi will “analyze their Facebook persona.” Then using 12 Funny or Die improv comdians and 4 sound stages in LA for 5 days, they’ll send back a taste test of PepsiNext (as performed by the comedian) within 24 hours. Shiv Singh, head of digital for PepsiCo Beverages said “It will be very close to who they actually are.” (more at Mashable)
Why I’m Curious
This is an interesting way to offer personalized content to fans via social media. Sure it’s cool to have your profile picture pop up in a picture frame like those other experiences, but having an improv comedian impersonate you is way more fun. It’s kinda like a video caricature, and lots of fans are submitting for the chance to get one. While Pepsi possibly recreate everyone’s tasting experience this way, the videos are funny (even if you don’t know the person) and easily shareable in a way the other personalized content isn’t. So who’s going to submit their profile?
We all know Greenpeace – sad seals, canvassers on the street trying to get you sign petitions, depressing messages about the world coming to end… Sure those are all real problems, but it’s tough to get people’s attention on these issues and get them to do something about it.
For a campaign targeting Mattel’s use of paper from the Asia Pulp & Paper Company in Indonesia, Greenpeace decided to switch it up a bit, and use humor – it worked really well. The above video, a mock Twitter feud between Ken & Barbie, and photos of Barbie with a chainsaw in the rainforest reached over 500,000 people and got them to sign a petition. And Mattel announced a new policy this month to ” use more recycled content, avoid “controversial sources,” and increase use of fiber produced from companies certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.” (more at Fast Company)
Why I’m Curious
A serious message (like traditional Greenpeace materials) doesn’t have to be so serious! This campaign really used humor to its advantage, Rolf Sklar, a camapaigner at Greenpeace said “I think it was the humor. People were much more likely to share this with their friends and family than some downer story about how the earth is falling apart” (or go viral). Greenpeace was really smart to take advantage of social media in this way, not only did their content get shared, but they got 500,000 people to take action.
Are any of your Facebook friends boring or vain or in need of a love-life makeover? Well, help is on the way from Mentos.
The candy brand has rolled out an app on its Facebook Page that features Life Guidance videos from the brand’s guru-like spokesman Dragee. The videos automatically integrate information from the recipient’s Facebook Page. For instance, in the “Vain” video, Dragee notes how many times the person uses “I” or “me” in his or her status updates and includes some recent examples.
The videos, which evoke the 70s and 80s Dharma Initiative movies on Lost, with their skips and cheesy sound quality, are also cleverly designed to camouflage their customizability. For instance, Dragee walks behind a column when he says the person’s name, so you can’t see his lips move. Dragee’s assistant, Rick, also holds up blank pieces of paper, on which information from the Facebook profiles are projected.
Mentos introduced the Dragee character in February with some equally wacky videos. But the app, created by The Martin Agency and Ted Perez + Associates, has more viral potential. After all, who doesn’t have a vain, boring or lovelorn friend?
Why I’m Curious:
I am a sucker for anything that pulls in a user’s social graph. This is because it’s such a small yet brilliant personalization that makes a person want to organically share it with friends. Intel Museum of Me, Orangina’s First FB Friend, the Doggelganger — its hook is that it’s personalized. For any FB apps being created, figuring out ways to pull in one’s social graph should definitely be a top consideration.