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.
Virgin Mobile‘s latest Web spot harnesses viewers’ eyes, and their webcams, by delivering strange new video clips every time they blink, creating a new video experience with each viewing but always touting a $35 monthly phone plan. The “Blinkwashing” campaign is the final piece in Virgin’s “Retrain Your Brain” campaign and will live exclusively on YouTube. The video selects clips from 25 films and has more than 2 million possible combinations.
Read more here.
Why I am curious:
The idea of “Blinkwashing” attempts to illustrate the brand’s message that consumers can “take control” of their phone experience (e.g. money-saving, no-contract offerings).The initiative offers a completely new experience every time you watch it…however, it is one that you cannot control!
Here is the Retrain Your Brain campaign…
For their new “Just a Reflektor” video, Arcade Fire uses Google Chrome technology to let you interact with the music video on your smartphone.
First you must connect to the Just a Reflektor site on your desktop then follow the instructions on how to connect your phone. The project links your computer to your smartphone through a webcam, turning your phone into a visual effects controller with halos, reflections and wireframes in the video adapting to every movement.
Why I’m Curious
Instead of going with a traditional approach to sharing a music video, I appreciate that the band has created an interactive user experience with their content. It’s a neat application of Chrome technology that we haven’t seen music artists use quite like this. Although it might realistically be annoying to hold up your phone to your webcam while the whole video plays, the project has a personalized element in that it adapts to your movements. That and the fact that it’s open source are enough to attract existing and prospective fans’ attention.
Farmer’s insurance wants to remind people about the small things that could save them thousands of dollars. But who wants to read a list of tips that might seem like common sense? Instead, they made short and funny 15 second videos to illustrate their point.
Created with RPA Santa Monica, The site is YouTube-like in that it shows a number of funny videos with limited additional content, such as more realistic tips below each video. Users can filter the content for advice about auto, home, or other. The videos play on common archetypes and varied video styles to keep the user engaged and entertained.
Starting on August 12, they also started rolling out Vine clips wit the hashtag #15secondsofsmart.
Despite the quality of the content, the number of views is rather low. The action movie spoof earned 33K views in one week, but the other videos earned 300 views.
Why I’m Curious
Even as consumers gravitate more and more to short-form content, quality content doesn’t always make the cut by itself. While it’s great to be playing in emergine media platforms, it’s still important to support these initiatives with more traditional efforts that can drive traffic to the content. I’m curious to see if the tweets and the hashtags will end up upping the traffic.
Skittles just rolled out a new interactive Youtube ad that allows the user to click on different objects within the video. It is a troubling and creepy experience because the user can click on a number of breakable objects and have the actor smash them. Once smashed, the object yells either an unpleasant or cheerful phrase, hence the creepiness. All in all the experience is fun and kept me on the ad for a good five minutes.
Why I’m Curious
The interactive video was done by DDB Chicago and stays in line with Skittles’ bizarre and entertaining campaigns. They draw in a community that likes different and sticks to that theme. I like this interactive video because it keeps the user engaged and their attention on the brand, ensuring their brand awareness.
The moments, which start with dads with babies and end with the kids as adults, will only appear online. The ad is designed to promote the brand’s electric toothbrushes as a Father’s Day gift. In addition, the brand plans to do promote the hashtag #powerofdad over the weekend. Publicis Kaplan Thaler created the ad.
Why I’m Curious
I thought this campaign was incredibly well done. The online-only video captures real life moments, there is a celebrity partnership, a charitable donation, a PR rollout that helped the campaign receive a lot of coverage and a microsite that houses all of the information. The social media campaign crosses all of their social media channels and also there are Twitter chats by Dad Central (part of Mom Central). Plus the campaign rolled out a few weeks before Father’s Day allowing it to gain momentum leading up to the holiday. Oral-B won’t “own” Father’s Day but it’s a really great way to get their product and name talked about and sure to drive positive sentiment. It’s a great example of integration not just within one agency but across agency partners.
Volkswagen launched another clever bit of technology this week in support of its Start-Stop engine feature. The tech comes in the form of a Chrome Extension, and it more or less mirrors the car feature it was built to promote – In the same way that the engine feature will cut/restore the engine at appropriate moments (e.g. at a stop light), the extension acts through Youtube to start and stop the video you’re watching based on whether or not you’re facing the screen.
Why I’m Curious?
Simple and direct, but also fun and innovative, this feature will leave an impression on a user in a way that, say, a banner ad simply cannot do.
The one concern with projects like this is…how to ensure your audience experiences it?
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.
JCPenney has launched a new YouTube ad with hope that it will bring customers back into their stores. JCPenney took a hit with CEO Ron Johnson running the show but recently brought on Mike Ullman, who seems to be turning things around. The video begs customers to come back and lets them know that they heard their complaints.
Why I’m Curious?
JCPenney’s approach and call to action is quite strange and actually made me feel uncomfortable. It seemed to be a bit embarrassing even watching the video. I am curious to see if this will this perform well and actually increase profits for JCPenney in the end. One thing is for sure, they laid it all down on the table and are very vulnerable at this moment. It is now up to the customer to decide JCPenney’s fate and will be interesting to see if their perception of JCPenney changes.
Domino’s is providing a new level of transparency to their customers with a new “pizza-theater” store in Salt Lake City. Five cameras installed at the store capture every angle of the pizza-making process. Customers can then tune into this live, uncut glimpse of pizza action for 12 hours every day at DominosLive.com.
To celebrate the launch, Domino’s is supporting the new pizza stream with Twitter trivia and gift card giveaways. CEO J. Patrick Doyle told brandchannel “We’re proud of what we do in our stores, and the ingredients in our pizzas,” he said. “We assume everything we do will be known by our customers anyway, so we’re better up offering it on our own.”
Why I’m Curious
Domino’s Live is sort of a step toward pizza transparency. I’m sure employees in the Salt Lake City store are on their absolute best behavior on camera.
What the pizza stream seems to be doing more is cementing Domino’s digital prowess among competitors. Apparently, online orders now account for 35% of their business, and showcasing their pizza-making online may not only earn the trust of their customers – it may inspire hunger…and orders from people like this: “So bored right now! Sitting at my desk watching
#DominosLive right now on the PC. #RealRealityTV”
I’m loving this new music video ‘This is the New Year’ by A Great Big World. It’s a video created from all their fan tweets. It does an amazing job of repurposing social visual content to connect with fans. This band recognizes and rewards their fans by pulling fans’ lyric tweets into the video. It used to be that you recorded an album, released a track, took it radio and prayed that it got played and picked up and became a hit. Not anymore. This band was unsigned when they were featured on Glee this season and featured on the Golf Channel. Their audience is growing with them in large part because of their forward-thinking approach to getting fans excited about their music through social media.
They’re making 30 Videos in 30 Days – with a new performance video every Friday speaking to their fans. Their social media presence isn’t huge across Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Soundcloud, YouTube, etc. but they are building and also had a successful Kickstarter last year. They’re headed on tour with another social media music up and comer this spring – Julia Nunes.
Why I’m Curious
I believe fan engagement – for brands, music, anything with a heartbeat – is ever-evolving. It’s disruptive to have a band become a big deal without a big label and the machine behind them. What can that mean for other forms of entertainment or new brands across industries? What is already happening in other spaces that brands should pay attention to. What comes next?
By now we’ve all watched the Dove Real Beauty Sketches video, and seen it shared on Facebook and Twitter all week. I’m not disputing the powerful message Dove is sharing, but a comedy group in California, New Feelings Time, created a parody that turned the table – men are describing themselves followed by women describing the men. And it’s hilarious.
When women are tested on their self-image using a forensic artist working for Dove, the result is a moving video. When men are — as in this spoof by New Feelings Time, a Californian sketch group — it’s a lot funnier.
Why I’m Curious
Obviously the video is entertaining, but the real reason I’m curious goes beyond the giggles. The Dove Real Beauty sketches went (dare I saw it) viral fairly quickly, already racking up 7.5 million views in 4 days, and a parody quickly followed.
I think this could be a new way of measuring success, not just views and impressions, but how fast can someone else recycle your idea for their benefit, whether it’s another brand or a not. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
For most mortals on video sharing networks, hitting the 1 million views milestone is a feat. For Psy’s dance hymn, which was uploaded to YouTube on July 15, millions of views are racking up every hour. It took approximately three hours for the video to go from 995 million to a billion.
An animated dancing Psy now appears next to the video’s view counter:
“Psy’s success is a great testament to the universal appeal of catchy music — and er, great equine dance moves,” Kevin Allocca, YouTube trends manager, said in a blog post. “In the past, music distribution was mostly regional. It was more difficult to learn about great artists from around the world. But with a global platform at their fingertips, people are now discovering and sharing amazing music from all over the planet.”
Why I’m Curious:
As Stan Schroeder at Mashable said, “Some love the song, some hate it, and, by now, many are sick of it. But it captured the essence of pop in the YouTube era: It blended the perfect combination of weirdness, virality, dance moves and catchy melody, and that made it one of the most popular pieces of entertainment in recent times.” And I can’t help but watch the video again myself in awe.
To help create buzz for the Axe Young/Mature campaign, agency Ponce Buenos Aires created a 3D video that tells a different story depending on which eye you are viewing it through.
While wearing 3D glasses, if you viewed the video through your right eye, you’d see the story of a ‘mature’ women. If you closed your right eye and opened your left, you’d see the ‘young’ version.
Why I’m Curious
I think this is a great way to get multiple messages across in one video, while still making it cohesive. Brands seem to struggle with what product to focus on in digital, especially when launching a new campaign, and this is a very creative and unique way to showcase multiple messages.
However, I can’t help but wonder how many people have 3D glasses sitting around where they could get the full effect of it.
YouTube is making its content shoppable. So-called shoppable videos have been around a while (see Target’s Falling For You on Curious Fridays, Sept 28 2012), but actually purchasing the product required a number of clicks.
- New/Evolved Platform: YouTube’s external annotations technology.
- Mechanism: The video alerts viewers to items for purchase by showing a muted box over the item. When the box is clicked, a new web page featuring that item opens. The video pauses when that happens, allowing the viewer to browse the shopping page.
At this point, YouTube is offering the technology up for free. But the video site is benefiting from brands like Juicy which are purchasing ads on YouTube to promote the shoppable video. Juicy is putting plenty of muscle behind the ad, with plans for social-media promotion using the hashtag #GiveMeWhatIWant, as well as in-stream ads for the video.
More on AdAge.
While looking through the Cannes Cyber Lions for this year, I was surprised to discover some curiosities that we hadn’t uncovered yet. The below video was one example:
Why I’m Curious
I love how this branded film gets its message across by integrating seamlessly with the content experience of watching an influential make-up artist, in an environment where there are already a ton of built-in engaged viewers — her own channel. This contextual placement lends credibility to the message and makes it far more compelling as a result.
In Amsterdam and London, Nissan assembled a branded fleet of their zero-emission LEAF cars driven by professional taxi drivers to promote the electronic cars and its ability to offer cheaper rides in comparison to gasoline powered cars.
Nissan offered passengers free taxi rides in exchange for a tweet containing a branded hashtag, #6XCHEAPER, and their destination.
The ‘#6XCHEAPER’ tag emphasises that fuelling an electric vehicle is six times cheaper than a similar sized petrol car. The goal was to show how that cost savings might translate to cheaper taxi fares. Each of the LEAF taxis displayed exterior graphics showing the reduced fares to popular destinations. The events also gave Nissan a chance to evaluate the LEAF for potential use as a fleet vehicle for taxi liveries.
Why I’m Curious
I think the best stunt campaigns include a social component, in particular, requiring a social action for something that has monetary value. Between mentions on Twitter, industry coverage and larger press hits in England, there was comprehensive pick up of the event.
Nissan used the event as not only a way to showcase it’s new car, but also a way to educate a consumer. Each passenger left the car knowing how much cheaper the ride was in comparison to traditional gasoline cars.
It’ll be interesting to see if the LEAF vehicle actually gets picked up in England for taxis.
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.
To celebrate the scientific discoveries of the young brainiacs that took part in Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair, the brand paired illustrators, designers and sculptors with the program’s high school students to translate the ideas into works of art, in the SciArt campaign. The works, from artists like Steve Attardo, Shadrach Lindo and Catherine Casalino, will roll out on the a dedicated site as well as on the SciArt Pinterest page.
Why I’m Curious
I really like the work that Intel does to position itself as a forward thinking brand that is engaged with society. This campaign is a great example of how to capitalize on an brand sponsored event and create engaging “human interest” content that is shared across the latest social channels in a meaningful way. By inviting artists to work with the students to visualize their projects, a unique story is created that Intel captures for broader audiences in video form. Then the resulting artwork is displayed not only on the website, but also on channels that offer increased distribution potential. Distinct elements come together to create a high quality end product: an initiative that a brand can credibly talk about, the presence of a story that can be told and beautifully produced media elements that are distributed and shared by audiences across social properties.
Here is a great piece of social outreach from Call of Duty in anticipation of the next instalment of the mega game franchise, which is due out this week… Tapping into perhaps the most famous gun blogger on YouTube, FPSRussia (who, with his almost 2.5 million subscribers seems to get his hands on literally every gun available) to review very latest in military technology, The Quadrocopter Machine Gun, controlled by a tablet and armed with self destruct!
It’s subtle, and not mentioned until the very very end of the video, but this is a sponsored post by Call of Duty to build hype for the upcoming release around what looks like a new in-game weapon.
Why I’m curious:
Who negotiated this guy’s contract…