Tagged: Video

Trucking Great Advertising

We all know that B2B advertising is boring, and almost never creative, don’t we? It seems that no-one told Volvo Trucks*.

You’ve probably already seen their recent piece of content which shows Jean-Claude Van Damme doing the splits between two moving lorries. It’s at 21 million views and counting. But what you may not know is that this is just the latest in a series of great pieces of content, each of which simply and clearly demonstrates a product benefit.

They started with a ballerina, took in a hamster and some bulls (no bullshit), put their President on the line and were willing to risk everything to get ahead.

Now views aren’t everything, and they haven’t all reached Van Damme levels, but most of them have done a great job at turning entertaining (and informative) content into large-scale audiences. As phrases like content marketing and native advertising gain traction it’s great that Volvo can serve as a positive case study, as opposed to the recent efforts by Guinness.

*Volvo are a client of Mindshare

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Redefining Viral: B2B Social Marketing

Earlier this week I was lucky enough to be invited to an event organised by Dell & Microsoft to discuss whether social marketing is relevant for B2B. There were some fascinating presentations (available here & here) as well as some lively discussions: all focussed on the challenge of making social marketing relevant when talking to niche audiences, often made up of high-level execs who, the argument goes, ‘don’t do Twitter & Facebook”.

During the course of the day I was reminded of a discussion I had in a previous role with the marketing team of a major B2B company who, so they told us, wanted to ‘do a viral’. When we pressed them they said that they wanted to create funny videos which would amass millions of views. Considering the fact that their products cost millions of dollars I always felt that getting the man on the street to chuckle at a video might not be the best use of their marketing budget, and I still feel the same.

However, if we challenge the conventional definition of viral in modern marketing (something, usually a video, that is seen by loads of people) then actually we can start to see how a B2B company might use such techniques.

First, what do we mean by viral? At it’s most basic level it refers to something that is passed from one person to another. However there is nothing that says it has to be passed along by millions of people. If your target audience is made up of a few hundred decision makers worldwide, then if a piece of content is passed from a CFO to a CTO, you’ve done your job.

And who says that piece of content has to be a video? In today’s Guardian there is a post about a piece of infographics developed by Japanese agency Information Architects, showing the 140 most influential users of Twitter in a format that resembles maps of how the universe was created.

By packaging data in an interesting and attractive way, they’ve managed to make a PDF go viral within the tech sphere. And in a similar manner, Socialnomics have managed to make what is, essentially a Powerpoint/Keynote presentation, a YouTube smash.

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Both of these should challenge what we think of as viral marketing. And, coupled with a different view of what going viral actually means, we can start to see how social marketing can be just as relevant for B2B audiences as it is for B2C. And that’s an idea that truly deserves to go viral.

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The Viral Con: Ray Ban, Quiksilver, Kobe & Yossi

One of the best things I saw at Stream 09 was a video by Yossi Vardi, the Israeli tech-legend who co-hosts the event with WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell. It’s a spoof of the excellent Kobe Bryant Nike viral and got a big laugh when he showed it on the last night.

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The Kobe video has racked up a few million views so far, with many of them certainly coming as a result of people watching the video more than once, as they try to work out whether it’s been doctored or not. What’s interesting about the video, other than trying to work out whether he really has just jumped over a car, is that it was another example of a type of video that has become more & more popular.

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The video above was an ad that Levis drove viral, showing people supposedly leaping into pairs of jeans. Whilst it’s gained a lot of acclaim, I personally feel that it’s a rather weak imitation of the Ray Ban Never Hide video, which gained huge exposure due to the fact that it seems to show a guy catching sunglasses on his face that are thrown at him as he drives along in a car. What I particularly love about Never Hide is that although there is no sign of any branding, the final shots show the back window of the car with the words ‘never hide’ written on it in dirt. A search for ‘never hide’ at the time the video was released, led you to Ray Ban’s site. Genius.

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Of course these sort of viral cons don’t just have to show people catching things, or jumping into or over them. The people at Quiksilver caused a wave of attention when they released a video which looked like people surfing on a river in a major city, on waves caused by dropping dynamite into the river.

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Despite the fact that all of these videos appear to be manipulated in some way or another, you can create even more impact with something that people don’t believe, but which is actually true. The TFL Do The Test video I worked on whilst at Altogether generated a lot of views because people rewound the video, as they didn’t believe that the two pieces of film shown were one & the same. They were, and that’s probably why it even made it onto network TV in the US. Who said you need to trick the public to cause a stir?

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Hostelworld Wins A Webby

I love the internet, I really do. Not just the fact that it comes up with things like this & this but because it really is a way of meeting new people and finding things you never would have done otherwise. For instance last year I spoke at SMX London (where I’ll be again in a couple of weeks) and, luckily for me, a couple of people from Hostelworld saw me speak.

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These lovely people were then kind enough to invite me to speak at their own Hostelworld conference which I did & thoroughly enjoyed. Not only was it a great show, but I got to meet some fascinating people including Colm Hanratty, the editor of the site. It was fantastic to meet Colm because not only is he a really nice guy, he’s also putting into practice many of the things that I talk about on a daily basis – involving users with the site (through Twitter amongst other things) and creating content that’s designed with social media in mind (as I’ve explained in the past).

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Anyway, it’s because of all this that I’m so chuffed that Colm & Hostelworld have now won the internet’s equivalent of an Oscar: a Webby. And whilst Colm’s content is obviously created by a brand and isn’t truly UGC, the fact that he won a People’s Choice award goes to show that whilst big brands might be taking over the web, there’s still some room for the little guy.

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Cheers Colm!

Award image by Dave Bullock (eecue)

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The Streets – The Escapist

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The Streets’ new single The Escapist has been released as a free download and it’s definitely worth getting hold of. It’s got a lot more in common with Dry Your Eyes than Don’t Mug Yourself or his other more lively tracks and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Mike Skinner’s not the same young man he was when he first burst onto the scene so it seems only natural that his music should mellow as he does (although his antics on his TV show Beat Stevie suggest that there’s still a bit of mischief in the old boy yet). And, in keeping with that, the video for The Escapist is really quite beautiful. If Skinner is to be believed, and I don’t see why he shouldn’t, the video was made with no help from his record label and with no script. Instead it simply documents Skinner’s epic trek when he decided to walk from Dover to Cannes (770 miles!)

I particularly like the video to The Escapist as I’m pretty sure that the sand dune which Skinner is seen walking down at the end of the video is the Dune de Pyla. It’s the largest sand dune in Europe and, being about an hour outside Bordeaux, is pretty close to where my Mum lives. I’ve been twice and it’s one of my favourite places in the world: watching the sunset from the top of the dune, with a beer or a glass of wine, is something you should all try to do.

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Cut Chemist – (My 1st) Big Break

Via Jus’ Like Music (which I think is run by a guy I used to know on MOG), this is the video for the track (My 1st) Big Break by the amazing DJ & producer Cut Chemist, taken from his debut solo album The Audience’s Listening. Not only is it an amazing song but the video is pretty bloody cool too, not least because it’s (apparently) the first video ever to be filmed entirely with a 360 degree panoramic camera.

The track itself is a lovely bit of funky instrumental hip hop with lots of scratching, cute little samples and an addictive beat. Which is only what you’d expect from the man who formed Jurassic 5 and was responsible, with DJ Shadow, for the amazing Brainfreeze album. And interestingly, according to Wikipedia (which means it must be true), Cut Chemist appeared in the movie Juno. And that’s pretty fu**ing cool!

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Weezer – Pork and Beans (Video With Internet Meme Stars)

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Alternative US rock band Weezer have come up with a great video for their new single Pork and Beans. It ‘stars’ a load of people who have become ‘famous’ over the last few years thanks to the memes that have littered the web.

So, you’ve got the guy who sang along to Numa Numa, but this time he’s miming to Weezer; the highly intelligent beauty queen, also now singing along to Pork and Beans; the Diet Coke/Mentos scientists providing a background for a gig, and just about every other web meme you can think of (and some you probably can’t.)

It’s awesome and, as Tamar points out, also a very clever bit of marketing as people like me just can’t stop blogging it, driving the video to 4 million views in just under a week. I’m also impressed by the fact that it’s an official Weezer YouTube page and they haven’t turned off the ‘embed code’, unlike some major record companies who obviously still don’t quite ‘get’ the web.

Weezer, Pork and Beans: all your pop videos are belong to us.

UPDATE: Obviously I can no longer use the official Weezer version due to YouTube’s spat with the PRS in the UK. Ho hum…

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Erykah Badu – Soldier

Erykah Badu’s track Soldier has an amazing video which is very close to my heart; unfortunately she, or her record company, have seen fit to deny it to us (can’t find it anywhere), so you’ll have to take my word for it..

If you know anything about Erykah Badu you won’t be surprised to learn that it is a very righteous tune, with a great beat and some lovely melody. And the video has Ms Badu shopping for vinyl and every LP she picks up is a classic, but with her face superimposed. I was going to list them all, but having only seen it once and not being able to find it on YouTube or the like, I can’t.

What I do remember is that the video for Soldier by Erykah Badu ends with an exhortation to support your local record store; the irony of course is that I downloaded the album (New Amerykah – do you see what she did there?) from iTunes last night. Well maybe if Badu supports her local bloggers by putting the video for Soldier on YouTube I’ll go and get the 12″ from my favourite record store.

In the meantime some enterprising young soul has put together their own video for Soldier by Erykah Badu (a still photo over the song basically) so at least you can listen to it.

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Erykah Badu image by crowt59 on flickr

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Beyonce – Greenlight (Tribute To The Robert Palmer Videos)

Robert Palmer’s videos are probably some of the most imitated in the history of music videos. And now, adding to the list of artists who have done that whole ‘women in leather, playing instruments” thing, comes R&B goddess Beyonce. And boy does she look like she’s not worried by what people see her wearing anymore.. Surely Beyonce’s Dad can’t be her manager anymore?!

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Seriously, I really don’t know what to say about Greenlight by Beyonce. It’s kind of funky; nice brass section; decent beat; Beyonce’s vocals are, as always, excellent. But the video. Blimey. I’m in danger of losing any claim I have of being a feminist. But seriously, wow.

I’m not a gambling man, but I’d wager that Greenlight by Beyonce could prove to be one of the most succesful of all the videos that have been inspired by Robert Palmer’s 80s classics (even though I’ve only just seen it despite the fact that it appears to have come out ages ago). Although I’m not sure what kind of odds I’d get on that. Anyway, here you are – Beyonce ‘doing’ Greenlight is above & here’s Robert Palmer so that you can compare the two. On their relative artistic merits, obviously. Ahem.

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PS – Why do record companies set up profiles on YouTube, post their videos, then disallow embedding? It’s like they’ve learned a language but not understood what any of the words mean.

Green light image by downing.amanda on Flickr

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