Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I'll give you viral!

Next person who tells me they're putting up a 'viral' on that YouTube, I suggest they carry a little medical warning card for the A&E staff, explaining that the word, when used incorrectly, caused an explosion of rage in the person they were talking to and yes, an x-ray will confirm that that is a smartphone up there.

Sorry. Had to get that out. Now, a little on video content.

This has been happening around the edges for a while. It looks like a useable model for YouGoog to make money off, and it certainly represents a penetrating possibility for global brands. The stars of YouTube have been getting jiggy with some of these brands, making ads for them and pushing their creative work out into the world. I really don't know how to say this next part but it's, um, really hard to see where the, like, ad agency fits in here?

If you're unaware of who or wtf YouTube stars are, here are just three.

Of themselves they don't represent fabulous numbers, of course. Sexy old Matt Cooper probably reaches more than any of them directly. But that's missing the point of the true meaning of viral.
Pay attention now. In many, many ways this is the money shot. Virability (which is a word I just invented that neatly fuses viability and- oh you got that did you? Well fuck you, smartie pants.) makes this first of the concentric rings merely the smallest one. The next one to ripple out is wider by far. And so on, until the rings disappear and the campaign has run its usefulness.

Sanyo is pushing its new digi camera on YouTube by using iJustine, Lisa Nova and others to shoot their own ads that show off the spec. From Adweek:
"These cameras allow people to be more creative," said Tom Van Voy, vp of audio visual products sales of Sanyo. "We're reaching a part of the community that can fully utilize the capabilities the camera can offer."
The video I've embedded below has had 2.5 million views, and Lisa is just one of eight acts to be pushing the camera. Her ad is almost 3 mins long and tells me tons about the camera and if I'm to be totally honest I didn't even know I was being played the first time I saw it. Not that it mattered, because I loved the content and I came back again. But I surprised myself with how many geeky points about the camera I'd actually remembered.

Think about it. You're not constrained by a 30" airtime budget. You have way more freedom of expression. And slowly, as this campaign shows, the science is creeping in to placement. Measurement will legitimise everything. Hell, do you think Google would have it any other way?

Next up to try the same approach is Carl's Jr., the US burger king (sorta), who are letting nine YouTube channelistas make their own ads for Carl's Six Dollar Burger. The brief ? Tell how you eat a burger and mention the product by name. Watch this space.


  1. Great post Nick - I love the idea of video blogging becoming the new tv advertising. My only fear would be that we'd get less of the really great tv ads.

  2. There will always be people who need to see it on the big screen and will want the latest youtube sensation pushed to the box. But youtube is a great testing ground. What we should hope is that it gets rid of the truly awful ads from the box!

    With less revenue for television advertising meaning more program time, wouldnt it be great if your station break was made up of O2 Priority Booking (gives me shivers) or Cadbury's eyebrows, The evolution of man, etc etc?

    rather than:
    badly dubbed but beautiful spanish models refilling the airfreshener in the bathroom so their child can take a dump?

    Stealing Virability now.