Why Do “Successful” Videos Have to Be Viral?
Yeah, we get that millions of views translate into higher brand awareness, bragging rights and potential ad dollars, but let’s admit it – as PR professionals, doesn’t the term “viral” make you grind your teeth…hard? Most “viral” videos are comical, shocking, emotional or stupid, ergo supremely entertaining or moving. Sometimes brand awareness is enough. But we also believe in building in calls to action that create qualified leads, increase sales and otherwise create return. Viral status aside, here are a few videos worth mentioning.
Brandware Take: Thumbs Up!
Sierra Nevada launched a new website after nearly a decade of the same-old, same-old. In conjunction with the refresh, they released a video that details the brewery’s history. The video has caught the attention of many a beer blog and forum. It features older footage of the brewery mixed with clips of the lifestyle of its target audience. It’s very well produced and speaks to the spirit and passion of Sierra Nevada and the craft beer category as a whole. – Jordan Walker
Harvard Baseball Team
With no shortage of “Call Me Maybe” parodies this year, it was hard to pick a favorite. But the Harvard baseball team video definitely gets a thumbs up. Why? There’s just something about a men’s college sports team jamming out to the pop anthem of the summer that makes you want to watch…and share. The video has been seen by nearly 17 million people and drew the attention of Mashable, Time, Billboard and NBC Today Show. Media coverage like that can instantly rocket a group, client or product to pop culture icon status. For the next 15 minutes, anyway. – Kelly Nichols
http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?v=10151313894748529&set=vb.682778528&type=2&theater Great marketing hits you in the gut, not just the head or the heart. The video “Security Cameras Sometimes Catch Something Completely Different” did exactly that. I saw this video the week of the Presidential election and it had already received 1 million shares. This video isn’t selling anything at all. It simply puts forward evidence that human kindness, compassion and decency exists abundantly in this world. I give it a thumbs up because its hyper-relevance and timing could not have been more perfect. – Lisa Aloisio
AT&T has the best example of capitalizing on a viral video this year. A short clip from a high school scrimmage game turned into an online sensation when a football player flipped over his defensive opponent. AT&T caught wind of the video after it received millions of YouTube views and immediately produced a commercial capitalizing on the video. Now, this commercial is featured during primetime hours and almost every major televised sporting event. Thumbs up all around in terms of content and results. – Amanda DeMarcus
Thumbs up for “The Queen Sequence” from the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympic Games – It sells the many sights and symbols of London, right down to the very thread used in the Queen’s Guard’s tunic. These images and details made it easy for viewers at home to imagine what they would see on their own trip to London. This video was also timely with the then upcoming release of Skyfall, the latest in the James Bond movie series. (The actors did fall from the sky, after all!) Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the corgis gave this video the cute factor – and for many, Daniel Craig gave this video the HOT factor! – Lindley Presley
Brandware Take? Could Have Been Better
Nicole Westbrook’s “It’s Thanksgiving”
This spoof on Rebecca Black’s mega-huge “Friday” is tough on the ears and a bit limited on comedic value. Nevertheless, it still manages to earn its place on numerous “Top Viral Videos of 2012” lists. Thumbs down for its lack of focus on creating monetization value. Companies with Thanksgiving ties (Butterball? Ocean Spray Cranberry sauce? Stouffer’s stuffing mix?) could have capitalized on this with a fun take at how their products can transform even the most miserable, lonely and uneventful Thanksgiving into a festive occasion. – Jeff Perlman
The Kony 2012 campaign from Invisible Children was the epitome of “viral video.” Currently, it has over 95 million views and millions of people pledged their support. While it initially generated a lot of awareness, it quickly faded from the spotlight. The focus shifted to the CEO’s public meltdown and the company never regained control of its message. I give it a thumbs down because the video missed the opportunity to capitalize on its expansive reach and drive viewers to action. – Alyssa Applegate
I was appalled when I viewed the recent Ukrainian parliament brawl. Despite intractable partisan bickering and the imminent threat of financial collapse in the U.S., our politicians still don’t legislate through violence. That’s a distinction that not every nation can claim. This video is a reminder that utter chaos can erupt at the drop of a hat (or gauntlet) and that civility and peace should always be preserved. It also reminds us that our petty insecurities – thinning hair, thickening waistline, etc. – pale in comparison to our fundamental need for security. Thumbs down for content but thumbs up for motivation. – Andrew Saluke
Photo courtesy of Booher Consultants