Videos “going viral” latest marketing hope (Beyonce, Trident, Gillette)

28 April 2009

Seems like everywhere you look a brand is trying to be connected to the next (or the current) viral video madness that is entertaining the world.  Sometimes brands do it well while sometimes they seem like they are just tagging on and don’t exactly mix in right.  All are just new ways to entertain people enough that hopefully they want to share it with a friend for instant credibility and endorsement (versus straight product advertising focusing on features).  Now its all about driving conversations, talkability and buzz.  And the best part, the ideas for entertaining short videos that could “go viral” can come from anyone – all that is needed are companies willing to experiment and see what happens.

For today’s class we’ll take a look at two different approaches to video entertainment by two different brands (and two different size budgets).  First up, Trident, who recently jumped on the Beyone “Single Ladies” worldwide phenomenon, which shows no signs of stopping.  Recently Trident hired 100 ladies to slip into leotards and hit the strees of London at Picadilly Circus, performing the Beyonce dance number for unsuspecting crowds.  The focus, however, was just getting the content filmed and then posted on YouTube – with some strategic placement on some forums and blogs to drive awareness.  I just one week the video is nearly the magic 1,000,000 views number.  The performance was connected to Trident giving away tickets to an upcoming free Beyonce concert – and has a reference at the end of the video, directing people to visit a campaign site to win tickets.

Next up, some supermen starring in a new Gillette video – the supermen being Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and Derek Jeter, all spokespersons for the razor megabrand.  The brand brought the three together, dressed them up in some stylin’ 70’s outfits, dropped some “staying alive” music into the background and away they went.  The success of the video depends on the “look at what they got these big sports heroes to wear” factor, hoping it is enough to get people to tell a friend about it.  The idea doesn’t have the same talkability as Beyonce (just because that one already has a life of its own online) but the brand does a good job at directing people to a campaign website where people can try and win one of 500 free Gillette razors given away every day for 30 days.  You have to enter your name/email/address to enter and you can enter as much as you want (but only one razor per person).

For me I think both are great efforts, driving buzz for both brands and not doing any type of hard sell.  I wish the Trident Beyonce dance would have had some connection to the chewing gum – like all of the dancers putting in a stick of Trident at the beginning of the routine, or blowing a bubble in the middle of it, or some connection back to the brand.  It looks like a classic “sponsorship” instead of creating something new or putting a little twist on it.  It works with regard to being fun enough that people want to pass it along to friends, but think it was a missed opportunity to add something new to it. With regard to Gillette, I wish it just went a bit further on the “on my God” factor to motivate people to watch it again and send it to friends.  It’s fun but, in my opinion, a funny plot twist (beyond the platform shoes) or visual or something could have ensured it was a huge success.

Hats off to the people behind both videos, as the more brands experiment and try new things we all actually win – people get a new kind of entertainment, more free stuff is up for grabs, imaginations get bigger and hopefully boring ads of the past are gone forever – and true brand engagement is here to stay.

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2 Responses to “Videos “going viral” latest marketing hope (Beyonce, Trident, Gillette)”

  1. Peter I.

    I have to say that I fear for the role of professional services firms in a world obsessed with “going viral.” I enjoyed the Trident video but there’s no brand takeaway for me and I fail to see how the company has taken advantage of emerging digital channels to become a better communicator. Granted, these kinds of stunts have always had a consumer appeal but I’m far more impressed with how brands like Zappos have adopted these channels to get closer to a stakeholder group that is much more important to driving positive word-of-mouth (and isn’t “viral” just a form of WOM?). Selling gum may not require much more than the right combination of impressions but efforts like this give me no sense of who Trident is as a brand so I have nothing to identify with. Therefore, I don’t want to buy Trident, I don’t want to talk about them and I’m really only left with “hey, did you see the Beyonce dance thing in London?”

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