Myth #1 – ‘The great thing about social media is that it’s free.’ WRONG
Myth #2 – ‘Can you make us a viral video please.’ WRONG
Myth 3 – ‘It doesn’t matter that we have nothing to say – everyone will come to our Facebook page anyway.’ WRONG
Nothing dispels these commonly recurring myths more than the latest excellent, online efforts by Ultimat Vodka, whose objective was to capture the attention of a difficult to reach target group, predominantly tied to their offices by their work.
Ultimat created a video of a guy lowering himself down the side of an office tower in a window cleaning cradle, showing the workers written signs through the windows and encouraging them to stop working, get drinking.
Here is the video:
Why were their online efforts successful?
1. Insight about the people they wanted to reach
”White collar professionals spend a lot of time behind their desks, so leveraging something like video content that they can access through our Facebook page, made a lot of sense to us,” explained Jennifer Long, brand director, Patrón Spirits.
A typical approach for brands in this situation would be to produce a TV spot purchased in prime time along with other traditional media, some limited digital media to reach this elusive crowd.
Ultimat’s insight made them want to take the brand to the consumer where they worked,in an impactful and entertaining way
2. ‘Share-worthy’ Killer Content
I just mentioned that they brought their message to the consumer in an ‘entertaining’ way – all marketing/advertising content in 2012 needs to either entertain or provide utility to its actual and potential consumers. Ultimat did this.
The tone of the content is also vital to any project’s success – if consumers perceive it as ‘a corporation trying to be cool,’ it is doomed. Ultimat got the tone of their video just about right, in my humble opinion, as the reaction of office workers to seeing this strange man, seemed very natural.
3. Use of Paid media to help generate earned media
The best social initiatives online will not simply happen ‘virally’ on their own, as many people seem to think. Of course, there are numerous exceptions to the rule like :
but these are the creme de la creme of viral content that are not the norm, and the degree of success of these could not possibly have been predicted. Even Old Spice has used massive amounts of paid media to promote their great content.
If these 3 examples above of viral success were pop songs, they would be Bohemian Rhapsody.
If they were movies, they would be The Godfather.
But 99% of content that brands hope will go viral, are not even close to being a Godfather or a Bohemian Rhapsody in terms of their quality.
So they need help to amplify their brand message.
Ultimat used the following paid digital touchpoints to amplify their video content:
- Targeted Facebook buys leveraging their YouTube player
- They created a Facebook App called Social Life Audit that crawls users Facebook content and gives them a social life score based on how often they check into fun locations and whether they smile in photos. (Great use of technology.)
- Used Facebook Sponsored Stories to promote the App
- Ran pre roll ads on Hulu and other digital platforms
So next time someone expects you to produce the next Bohemian Rhapsody or Godfather content for your ‘viral’ campaign, just make sure you mention the ‘Ultimat Social Media campaign’ to them, which wasn’t free and which did have something very interesting to say.
And if they ignore your recommendation, they just might reply to you:
Nothing really matters
Anyone can see
Nothing really matters
Nothing really matters…….. to me !!
I just wanted to share this entertaining, interactive initiative from the UK – creative technologist and designer, Chris O’Shea, created a highly innovative billboard in an outdoor shopping centre whereby it appeared that a hand from above was interacting with actual people on the billboard in real time. Click below to see video:
What I love about interactive projects like this is that the basic idea is extremely simple, fun and easy to understand by the consumer, but yet there is a lot of complexity in actually making it happen from a technology and design perspective.
The technological rationale is as follows, if you’re interested :
The software picks a person based on their proportions and how apart they are from other people, then tracks the blob over time using optical flow.
If the giant hand removes, flicks or shrinks a person, firstly it rubs out the person from the live video using the background reference pixels.
Then the tracked person is redrawn over the top in relation to what the hand is doing, ie being picked up, or flying out to the left of the screen (not shown in this video). When the hand shrinks a person it redraws them into the video at half scale. When there is too big a crowd it resorts to tickling people, with a random selection.”
Creative technologists are becoming more and more sought after in the advertising arena for this very reason. Since the media playing field is changing so rapidly, a good understanding of technology is now required in order to engage with consumers in a truly innovative way, whether it be online or in the real world.
For brands, there is huge word of mouth potential with this type of project if part of an ongoing, longer term initiative to build relationships with consumers.
Even though a project like this may only actually touch a few hundred people in the shopping centre itself , the content created is potentially strong enough to be enjoyed by thousands online who simply wish to observe, enjoy and hopefully share.
You should check out more of Chris O’Shea’s work – it’s pretty impressive : http://www.chrisoshea.org/
Hats off to the brand managers at Purina for this branded ipad App for Cats that combines three games apparently created based on Cat research. Click to see the actual cats in action.
Obviously the research identified that Cats will try to jump on anything that has fast random movements – as you can see, they certainly like to bat digital fish and virtual cat food!
I love how Purina has moved away from a traditional approach to communicating their brand by producing an entertaining app that clearly would appeal to Cat lovers everywhere.
This is not about campaign reach – it is about giving their core cat food buying consumers something that is fun which they know lots of people will want to share virally, and simply putting their brand name to it – 844 000 views on Youtube so far.
The key to this initiative in my opinion is that even though very few people will actually bother getting the Purina branded cat app and let their cats claw up their ipad, hundreds of thousands of Cat lovers want to watch and share the video content showing it.
This is where the brand ‘love marks’ come in that should ultimately convert to ROI, if followed up with other solid brand initiatives
And for those worried about kitty clawing your hi tech ipad – a simple cover will protect it from Cat Scratch fever!
Following my previous posts (click on the singing man below) about fantastic T Mobile viral campaigns in the UK, they have excelled themselves with this great video containing Royal look-a-likes at the Royal Wedding.
Yet again, the key to their latest topical, Royal success is a great, entertaining idea that people want to share in very large numbers – it’s not an ad. It is amusing, powerful video content to which the T-Mobile brand has tagged its name – that’s all. Check it out below.
By the way, I really hope that is actually Harry in the video!!
Nice job, T-Mobile.
Without wanting to be another blogger posting links to the most successful viral campaign of 2010 by Old Spice, I want to discuss 3 specific learnings that I wanted to share about the approach that their ad agency, Wieden Kennedy, took for this terrific campaign, as well as their results.
Click on pic below to see the original video content that started it off.
1, Incredible Creative Idea
The first thing that Wieden Kennedy did right – they came up with a highly original, entertaining creative idea (with genius casting) that was launched to perfection mainly via TRADITIONAL media channels (Note that this part of the campaign is largely PAID MEDIA and lots of it via TV and Web etc etc!)
This is why corporations need to have access to incredible creative talent to find that ‘buzz worthy’ idea that people will want to share.
If you do not have anything worth talking about for your product or service, you have zero possibility of creating viral media (FYI – wiktionary definition of viral media = media that is passed from person to person.)
It is no different in the non digital real world – I am not going to talk to my work colleague about an ad or a piece of video at the water cooler, if it doesn’t stand out from the clutter or interest me.
The same applies to a Facebook fan page – it’s probably the greatest social media myth that if you create a Facebook Fan page, then consumers will like it and share it. WRONG (at least, if you have no entertaining or useful content strategy to provide the consumer.)
The real world analogy that I find best explains this empty Facebook Fan page syndrome is having a dinner party, and once your guests have arrived and sat down around the dinner table, you realize that you have forgotten to provide any food, drink or music for them. They are going to leave very quickly and not return! (Even the dog looks disappointed in the pic below!)
Look at your man, back to Micro-content.
After the initial Paid Media phase to create awareness for this fantastic creative concept, the Response phase began, whereby Wieden Kennedy identified 186 key, influential, North American Bloggers such as Kevin Rose, Founder of Digg, Perez Hilton etc etc and created 186 tailor made videos that mentioned the bloggers’names specifically in the videos.
These videos were Old Spice’s replies to the bloggers’ tweets about the Old Spice campaign.
In my opinion, advertising is going to become more like this going forward, with smaller, more frequent pieces of video content produced that are more tailor made and less generic in nature.
It is likely to become a lot more fragmented and complicated, and communications between brands and consumers are likely to become more like political campaigns, by reacting to situations in real time based on qualitative and quantitative data.
As an example of how a Canadian competitor, Axe, reacted to Old Spice’s campaign by producing a tailor made billboard , check this out!
Look up, back to me!
3, The campaign results
This campaign allegedly generated an incredible 1,4 billion impressions of visibility in the various media channels; in fact, I would imagine that the actual number is significantly higher than this now.
I noticed that web traffic to Old Spice had gone up 300%. Now 300% sounds like a lot, but honestly, for a site that probably had very low levels of traffic prior to this campaign due to the nature of the site, a 300% increase vs. a very low level of pre campaign traffic, is actually insignificant if you compare it against the other incredible campaign metrics achieved.
It demonstrates that advertisers can have huge online and offline success from a branding and offline sale perspective, without dramatically increasing traffic to a corporate web site - Sales increased massively and Old Spice became the number 1 body wash for men. Net takeaway – Let’s not always get hung up on clickthrough rates and driving traffic to sites as online success benchmarks.
- Viral Campaigns need an incredible creative idea or utility to be successful – if not, you have nothing.
- Viral campaigns need to be kick started with Paid Media to create awareness (as a general rule.) If the idea resonates, you can feed it and it may snowball if done well, and if you’re lucky! Difficult to predict the ‘stickiness’ of the big idea.
- Viral campaigns needs a planned strategy to create and maintain momentum.
- The majority of Viral or Social Media campaigns are not 100% free – they are a mixture of :
- Paid media (buying ads to kick it off and maintain visibility)
- Earned media (people sharing the idea)
- Paid content (Tailor made, high quality by advertiser) and
- Earned content (lower quality, consumer generated)
Viral campaigns should not always be measured by an increase in traffic to a corporate web site – a campaign can still be very successful via increased activity of views in Youtube or Vimeo channels, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other less know social channels etc etc, and of course online and offline sales
By the way, I’m not on a horse….I’m on a chair!
When it comes to communicating via social media channels, corporations have existing internal realities and procedures that go beyond the marketing department such as legal (and I completely understand this reality from the corporate side to reduce their perceived ‘risk’), but this clashes directly with the notion of innovative, free flowing, fast spreading viral communications.
David Armano has produced a great visual that explains this phenomenon perfectly, with the result that innovative ‘viral’ campaigns are often a highly diluted version of the original idea simply because of these existing, lengthy, internal procedures and processes.
Perhaps shorter, alternative internal procedures need to be implemented occasionally to accomodate these types of ‘viral projects – just as we find in a financial portfolio, the elements that have a perceived higher ‘risk’ are likely to generate an even greater reward.