Video Killed The Radio Star

Is the internet the future of all advertising? Probably. And once internet TV becomes mainstream, then definitely. We've seen some great campaign ideas launched across the internet, and as they begin to integrate social media too the experience becomes very, very immersive. The Old Spice Guy is one we all know and love, and was rightly one of the most viewed online video's of 2010. Sales rose by 107% (source) and the campaign was hailed as nothing less than a revelation. In short, following the original ads, Old Spice ran YouTube variants where the Old Spice Guy answered real life tweets in real time across YouTube. A quick search for the ad will tell you all you need to know about the creativity and success, but here for those who may have missed the original (how?) it is...

So it’s obvious that internet video and the virility that offers will play a massive part, but how do you create the perfect viral for your business?

Conventional adverts would feature three main aspects; women (women for women and women for men), something visually impressive (explosion, fast car, beautiful scenery) and thirdly a massive celebrity…. (or Iggy Pop if you are strapped for cash).

But the new wave of internet adverts show a shift in the dynamic. The main focus now seems to be comedy (always contentious), viewer inclusion (by integrating social aspects) and… well just the ‘different’. You don’t even have show your product any more, just get them to remember you!

Bringing an old childhood story to life, or putting a slant to old fables and stories is a good tactic. We all know about the little pig going wee wee wee all the way home, and we’d all assumed it was an endearing tale, but American insurance firm, Geico see it differently…

But how does this relate to you and your advertisement? Well it just shows that the power of association and the way the internet has changed our perception of product adverts means almost anything is fair game - just entertain us! Let's face it some products are harder to sell than others, so if you product is hard to sell, put a face to your product, make it fun or emotionally engaging in some way, and then find the right channels and tools to make it spread. Get it right and you'll begin to reap the rewards.

Of course, if you have the budget then celebs can make a massive difference. And no one has star power like Sports wear. Adidas last year took their troupes of mass celebrities into another Galaxy when they featured in the famous bar scene from Star Wars...

The mix of pop culture with modern culture is a great clash, and to an extent this is what Geico did with their Piggy advert but nevertheless, the star power in this advert is phenomenal. Seeing David Beckham being interrogated by a creature from a distant land (Star Wars geeks feel free to let me know the exact name of the alien) and Snoop be seemingly as powerful in another galaxy as he is in our own is just what we’d expect!

So we’ve seen the funny, the celebrity, the socially engaging, but what about the instant interaction that today’s technology makes possible?

We’ve got that here too – and another example of how the unexpected sells. Who’d have thought that something as mundane a Tip Ex could be this engaging (NSFW)…

The interesting point about this (well there are many) is that it could only work on the internet, and the more online ads we see like this, the more the bigger the role internet video will play. Giving us the choice to shoot the bear or not is a power that is both massively engaging and sharable. We control the advert, and that’s an idea that will shape the future of web advertising because it extends beyond asking us to choose a product or service. We are being asked to choose what happens next.

There are stats all over the web about the growth of online video, but we’re more interested in what works and what makes companies money. Hopefully we’ve highlighted some key points and given soma prime examples here. But remember… if all else fails, use kids!

Paul Shepherd

I've worked in digital communications for around 15 years, and specialised in social media for the past three. Passionate about new technologies, media, and the impact it has on businesses bottom line, I try to bring that passion to every campaign for every brand we work with.