Viral video has created an entirely new marketing strategy for a different generation. The Diet Coke and Mentos exploding “science experiment” was an underground phenomenon viewed millions of times and then repeated across the country on many play grounds and in many parking lots with budding scientists dropping Mentos mints into a 2-liter Diet Coke bottle to create a 30 foot fountain of Diet Coke spewing out the top. In fact, becoming viral videos of the viral video. Leave it to kids to run with an idea thus modifying the idea and creating new play ground rockets and more viral video.
Have you not seen the original video of Experiment #137? Go to my YouTube and marvel at creativity, curiosity and fun set to music. And see the genius of viral video.
Viral video is amateurish quality video posted on a website that gets viewed because of the buzz it creates and then takes on a life of it’s own spreading across the country rapidly as people share it with their friends, with the caveat of “You gotta see this!”
Not exactly the intended use for their products, Coca Cola shied away from embracing the experiment video, until they realized the power of viral video and that instead of people changing the channel, muting the audio track or skipping the ad all together, people are actually making the effort to “discover” it.
Coke has now signed a formal deal with Fritz Grobe and Stephen Spangler, the creators of the first exploding Diet Coke-Mentos video, and using a new exploding-soda video has unveiled its most recent “Coca-Cola Challenge” to drive people to their website for the contest.
The new video entitled Experiment #214 is longer, more elaborate and filmed in the same amateurish fashion as the original that started it all. In other words it is in keeping with the anti-slick corporate feel of video media. And the Goliath of Coke tested the wisdom of going down this path. They are trying to understand brand placement with their future product users and they know the game has changed.
The new branding strategies
Just like in conventional advertising you are not always sure what campaign is going to catch fire, but unlike multi-million dollar advertising campaigns viral video can be low cost, and it only gets distributed if it is good (or egregiously bad) because the avenue of distribution doesn’t rely on time slots, channels and packaging for national consumption, rather it spreads virally — passed along from one viewer to another through emails, blogs, website links and copy cats (viral video of viral video!)
Viral Video Strategy #72: The Contest
If you want to capitalize on the speed of viral video faster than you can say Numa Numa get away from those trying to make from creating the buzz. Instead, look for amateur use of your product, create a contest for the general public to create a video and pay big bucks! How much would you spend on a national ad campaign? Think a $100,000 prize to the video selected is a cheaper way to go? Do you think it will create interest in amateur videographers?
Digital video cameras today are as ubiquitous with the younger generation as transistor radios were most of today’s CEOs when they were that age. Remember sneaking your radio into school, using the ear plug to listen in class to opening day of the baseball season? Those memories are being replaced by “remember when we videoed …”
Contests challenge people and everyone wants to win. Digital video and the use of inexpensive software editing on home computers makes becoming a video director as easy as writing a blog so there will be many quality submissions to choose from if people care for your products.
A few years ago Ice House beer took a half step in this direction by having people send in ideas for commercials. Then they blew it by using professionals to create it and then ran it in the conventional manner of television ads. Swing and a miss!
Let the creativity of your consumers become your marketers and use such outlets as your website, YouTube, and MySpace to let the viral videos spread.
Viral Video Strategy # 189: The Banned Ad
Carl’s Jr. found great success in the Paris Hilton ad for their Thick Burger even though it barely ran on conventional advertising outlets yet was downloads hundreds of thousands of times by the exact market they were trying to reach with that product. Unlike the previous strategy they did use high end professionalism and created top quality video.
The benefits of The Banned Ad strategy is how provocative the title is. The Banned Ad is the corporation’s version of the movie industries “Director’s cut.” It has a pull to it that people are curious what was banned? The push back on censorship has driven Sirius satellite radio to the forefront with the Howard Stern effect and the internet has freedom of communication in video form. Why not take advantage of it?
Walking the fine line between edgy and over the line is the delicate balance with huge payoffs offered through this type of brand strategy if successfully navigated.
Agent Provocateur, a custom lingerie company created an edgy ad with Kylie Minogue that I think is the hottest ad I have ever seen. Wanna bet that link is also on my website? It’s sexy, promotes the product and appeals to its target audience, and it’s known as a Banned Ad which just ads to the allure.
Viral Video Strategy #321: Find It and Then Own It
Some video simply has a cool factor and although doesn’t necessarily fit with your product it is viral and will get clicks and attention to your website. You can also discover talent that is waiting to be discovered!
Last year Miller Beer grabbed the Christmas Tree Light house, and ran the best 30 seconds of the longer video in a television ad. The viral video has a 10,000 light display created by Carson Williams of Mason, Ohio using his own home and technology to treat neighbors and drive bys. The light show was set to the song Wizards in Winter by Trans Siberian Orchestra which was broadcast over a radio frequency so people could hear it I the car while watching without disrupting neighbors with blaring music all night long.
It was the sensation of the 2005 holiday season and Miller Beer tried to capitalize on it mainly for the holiday season ads on sports programming they were placing. Good idea?
Once again, a large corporation is afraid to step to the edge by using new ideas and instead crammed the fresh into stale conventional boxes such as the 30 second time slot and network television.
A company needs to recognize the talent of Mr. Williams. Have him create a light show on a house with embedded logo in lights set to a catchy, hooky tune and make it unique enough to create the viral phenomenon.
Viral Video Strategy #499: The Rest of the Story
Honda, in promoting the Civic created an ad where a choir made the “sound track” for the commercial, but not by singing. The choir made all of the noises and sounds such as wipers on a wet windshield, tires going over rough road services, engines shifting noises and on and on.
The actually commercial was over 2 minutes in length and was available in it’s entirely on their website. In addition to that they offered a roughly 10 minute long documentary video on the make of the commercial. Because of its length and customer interest they have also made it available for podcasting so enthusiasts can take it with them, and do what with it? Share it with their fellow enthusiasts! How many ads are you making that are so unique and remarkable that you have demand for a Making of… documentary telling the rest of the story?
This is the age of market segmentation, one to one brand placement and the need for creativity like never before. Millions are riding on it. You can’t force the viral effect anymore than you can force people to watch your commercials. They have to be compelling, unique and created with them taking on a life of their own in mind. Is your brand viral? Do you have viral video strategies in your branding strategies mix? Your answer is an indicator to get with the new marketplace that requires new branding approaches. Now.