Last week, Hyundai posted a video showing their Genesis racing versus an arrow. They went out to some old runway, gave the Genesis a running start so that it was up to speed at the moment the arrow was loosed (I think that’s the verb,) and then used super-slo-mo cameras to show the car beat the arrow to its’ target. It was pretty cool, but lots of cars can accomplish this feat, so it seemed a bit flat, at least to me. The expression is faster than a speeding bullet, after all.
Recently, HBO aired the third season premiere of its cult-hit, Eastbound & Down. The show follows the missteps and exploits of a self-centered and foul-mouthed former big league baseball player, Kenny Powers.
Just to help make sure we don’t get cultural tunnel vision by focusing too much on American branded video campaigns or American audiences, we like to make a point to talk about some of the best social video successes internationally. As usual, January 2012 was a month that saw international brands grabbing tons of attention and buzz from social video.
Palencia33 is a YouTube channel/brand that has had several successful videos, many in the realm of “explainer videos.” And they also serve as a great example to remind us of the power of international audiences: the English language version of Palencia33′s SOPA video has over 300,000 views… but the Spanish-language version went mega viral, grabbing over 6 million views:
Finnair has a viral hit on their hands with a mid-air dancing flash-mob to celebrate India’s Republic Day (the flight was headed to Delhi):
While the government takedown of Megaupload and the ensuring controversy has made plenty of headlines in the U.S., it’s the international audiences (and Megaupload’s international fans and users) that drove their mid-December music video to over 13 million views:
Coke is one of the savviest American brands in terms of tailoring their online video for multiple audiences. In early January they put out this ad, which is also doubling as the official anthem for the national team of Tunisia:
Every country and every culture in the world is unique. As the global community continues to break down borders, successful brands will begin to tailor their social video campaigns more and more specifically for all possible audiences.
January is regularly stocked with great video ads because of the Super Bowl. This year took Super Bowl advertising to the next level with a huge variety of trailers, extended cuts and other creative content released along with the spots. Since we’ve covered the Super Bowl in great depth of late, we thought we’d do a round-up of non-Super Bowl social video highlights from January.
One of the most successful branded social videos of the entire month actually hit the web just one day before the month was over. It’s a piece of viral marketing for the film Chronicle, and it features some clever contraptions used to trick New Yorkers into thinking real humans were flying in the skies above. The UFO-sighting quality of the stunt propelled the clip to nearly 7 million views in less than a week, and hundreds of thousands of social media shares:
Only one day earlier, HBO launched the latest trailer for their highly-anticipated 2nd season of Game of Thrones. And it’s already sitting near 5 million views, with press mentions on more prominent websites and blogs than you can shake a stick at:
Disgraced former pitchman, Vince Offer, is apparently no longer disgraced by his prior arrest. Instead, he’s started a YouTube Channel… and apparently a pitchman business as well. His first product, which appears to be a real product (despite many notes in the ad that suggest it could be a parody), is something called the Schticky (Update: the copyright police have come a callin’ to Vince, so we are gonna post the Auto-tune remix)
ok fine, we’ll throw in something from the Super Bowl. This video gets the all-time award for gratuitous brilliance, enjoy 5 hours of Adriana Lima in 1080p courtesy of KIA:
Improv Everywhere–the kings of video social experimentation–did their annual no-pants subway ride. And judging by the 12 million views, it’s more popular than ever:
By now most brands are aware of the potential of online video, and more and more brands succeed with video every day. But it’s the rarest of brands that is able to harness the power of the user community and turn it into free advertising.
Almost as long as online video has been around, brands have been launching contests for users to submit their own videos. Doritos has been doing this with their Super Bowl commercials for years–they let anyone submit potential commercials, hold audience votes for the finalists, and the winning entry becomes an actual Doritos commercial. But where Doritos’ use of crowdsourcing really pays off is in the videos that don’t win.
Filmmakers who submitted for the contest but did not win are still likely to share the Doritos commercial they made with friends. Like David Ward Film did. They had three potential ads rejected by Doritos for this year’s Super Bowl contest, and decided to submit them to Reddit, where they hit the home page yesterday. Here’s the first rejected ad they posted:
The view-count is stuck around 300–which happens to most popular videos in the first day or so of activity–but I have no doubt it’ll be in the tens of thousands or more very soon. Here are the other two rejected ads David Ward Film posted:
Doritos has to pick the ad they think will entertain the largest possible Super Bowl audience, which means there are surely plenty of rejected ads that are probably still funny, like the ones above. Because filmmakers are passionate about their craft, Doritos reaps tons of free publicity annually from their Super Bowl crowdsourcing efforts.
Late night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live is another brand that has absolutely mastered the art of letting your fans do the work for you. The latest stunt is yet another challenge from Kimmel to viewers to share footage of Christmas morning–with the specific instruction to give your kids a terrible gift and film the reaction. And despite none of them getting paid for their work, thousands of viewers created and submitted footage at Kimmel’s request. The result is another likely viral hit for the TV talk show, who barely had to lift a finger:
Food brands are typically appealing to the same consumer needs as their competitors: hunger and thirst. So most food brands focus their ads on product quality (“Ours is better than theirs”) or else they do something out-of-the-box to get the audience’s attention (brand awareness). But even with those two main destinations, there are countless paths to get there.
Coke seems to really care most about making people smile with online video, and the company has several videos that have gone viral just by sharing happiness:
Natural Light also likes to make people smile. Instead of trying to make the case that their beer is more ‘premium’, they’ve decided to try to be more memorable instead. And sending a beer into space seems to have done the trick:
I mentioned Nando’s in a previous article rounding up some recent international branded video success. Nando’s is a restaurant chain in multiple countries, and has opted to take their social video campaign in a very unique direction:
Martini accomplishes multiple things with this ad that shows two possible lives for one man. The video is entertaining, while also driving home the subtle message that the man whose life had Martini in it was much better:
Hollywood is loving the online video boom. Taking a major product or service and boiling it down into a short, concise video message is what they do best–they call them movie trailers. And the things go viral every week. Film fans and online video viewers have a natural–and large–overlap, and it drives social video action for Hollywood on a consistent basis.
This holiday season has already seen several great trailers for anticipated upcoming films. None bigger than the Batman himself, in the just-released first trailer for The Dark Knight Rises:
Borat prankster Sasha Baron Cohen is at it again with his new film, Dictator, which should tick off as many people as his other movies have:
Jack and the Beanstalk gets a pretty cool update with Bryan Singer’s Jack The Giant Killer:
And it looks like Stallone has rounded up even more 1980′s action stars for his Expendables sequel:
Another action sequel hoping viewers will be drawn to new co-stars is G.I. Joe:
Every year we see a ton of year-end top ten list articles from publications around the web…just in time for us to go on holiday and not fully indulge in them. It’s a lot to keep up with, so we’ve consolidated the best lists into the ultimate round-up of round-ups. Read up and then you can officially move on to 2012 as an expert on all of last year’s viral video highlights.
YouTube was kind enough to compile a list of the ten best video ads of the year, based on view counts. The list leaves room for smartwater’s Jennifer Aniston commercial, Apple’s first Siri video, and of course DC Shoes for this incredibly popular ad featuring some insane stunt driving:
AdWeek and the Hollywood Reporter got together to rank the top 10 commercials of the year. They gave roster spots to Google’s “Dear Sophie” ad, Chrysler’s acclaimed “Born of Fire” commercial, and this fantastic ad from Chipotle:
Mashable brought in Feed Company’s Josh Warner to talk about something more subjective–the “most innovative” video ads of the year. Warner includes the K-Swiss Kenny Powers campaign, YouTube’s Life In A Day, and the Ojai Valley Taxidermy TV Commercial. Here’s the entry for Go Pro that made the list:
Venture Beat also combines video ads and non-ads into one top ten list–theirs is the “most hilarious and surprising” videos of 2011, like the cat mother hugging her baby, Nyan Cat, and this gem about bike lanes in New York City:
Billboard magazine charts the music industries’ 10 best viral videos of the year in the world of music–including amateurs and pros. Rebecca Black made the list, as did Lady Gaga (obviously) and the Saturday Night Live digital short crew. Here’s KarminMusic’s explosively viral cover of “Look At Me Now,” which grabbed over 51 million views:
Time Magazine has a Top 10 Viral Videos of 2011 feature. They like My Drunk Kitchen, Anderson Cooper’s laughing fit on the air, and some other great gems of the past year. And they actually present their list in video form. Here’s Jorge & Alexa Narvaez, who made Time’s list with their adorable cover of “Home”:
Of all the brands that are creating social video campaigns, entertainment brands might have a slight advantage. After all, creating entertaining content is already their core business, so it’s not as much of a pivot for them to add video marketing to their PR arsenal.
But it’s encouraging to see so much variety in the social video campaigns from entertainment brands, and not all of them are playing it safe or sticking with what they know.
ESPN and Monday Night Football, for instance, got together for this excellent behind-the-scenes documentary video that sheds light on how the decades-old program is pulled off:
Online video gives some brands that aren’t typically known for a comedy a chance to try their hand at humor. World of Warcraft pulls it off brilliantly:
Jimmy Kimmel is definitely known for comedy, so in a way he’s been sticking with what he knows with his online videos. However, Kimmel’s path to viral dominance has involved making his viewers a part of the video-creating fun:
Of course, some brands just stick with what they do best. Some don’t even bother creating new content for their online video campaign. Take TLC, for instance, which has a much-buzzed-about show called Virgin Diaries, chronicling the lives of self-proclaimed virgins. They found the most outrageous, over-the-top, ridiculous moment from the premiere, and loaded it up on YouTube so they could watch it go viral and build anticipation for the show: