Viral video is simultaneously the most entertaining and the most infuriating element of online marketing. Let’s clear the air quickly: No one can promise you a viral video success. Ever. Viral videos succeed because the audience likes them and spreads them on to other people. If the audience doesn’t get it, the video doesn’t go viral, and there is nothing that can guarantee the response you want.
That said, there is every reason to continue developing video content with the aim of going viral. In terms of investment-to-value ratio, viral videos remain some of the most economical efforts a brand can put out for itself. If even one video you produce hits the entertainment nerve and goes viral, you’ve done your brand a world of good. Let us consider the success of one particular viral series to see some of the benefits available from this branding tactic.
Benefit 1 – Funny and Factual
Blendtech is a company with a fairly simple business model: Sell blenders so powerful and reliable that they will destroy just about anything you put in them. The company’s big success story came with the “Will it Blend?” series for its new high-powered blender. The videos are simple: a charming man with an amiable manner puts something unexpected and expensive into the blender and turns it into its constituent elements.
In very brief, powerful videos, Blendtech ended up demonstrating both that destroying expensive electronics in a blender is entertaining and that its blenders were incredibly powerful. People’s immediate reactions were, in order, “He just blended an iPhone!” and “I want one of those blenders”.
So a good video can get the information about your product out there in a compelling, dramatic way that can’t be argued with.
Benefit 2 – Cheap, Cheap, Cheap
Viral video is incredibly cost effective. The costs of many videos are incredibly high, especially for television advertising during prime marketing hours. Just consider the sheer volume of investment that goes into Super Bowl halftime commercial extravaganzas.
On the other hand, the Blendtech commercials apparently were shot on an utterly shoestring budget: perhaps $500 for a reasonable-quality video camera, the wages for a decent cameraman, the blender the company is selling and however much the gadget of the week cost. In the case of the iPhone Blendtech demolished, say $600 depending on where they got it. Either way, the production costs of the video probably didn’t exceed a few thousand dollars, and that’s at the outside.
Benefit 3 – Free Transmission
Once you have the video up and going, and people find it entertaining, you don’t have to devote much effort to keeping it going places. If it hits that funny bone like the Blendtech video did, people will show it off repeatedly to just about everyone they can, because they want to see other people laugh and enjoy it too. Just make sure the video has a dedicated YouTube or video link that people can reference.
Benefit 4 – Specialization
Have you ever looked at most commercials? They’re rather generic, and seem to cast their nets fairly wide. This is particularly true of infomercials, which try to make the whole of humanity into bumbling incompetents unable to pack their drawers, cut their food or clean their homes without the aid of some wundergadget. The result is bland pointlessness. On the other hand, a good viral video allows you to ignore all that and focus your efforts specifically on reaching a certain audience. Take Blendtech – they wanted to go after people who wanted a good, strong blender. They built an advertisement that therefore does nothing BUT promote the strength and efficacy of their blender, and does so in a shocking, eye-catching manner.
Benefit 5 – Entertainment
As we’ve discussed, the most important element in the Blendtech campaign’s success is its entertaining quality. People tuned into the videos because they wanted to see some guy demolish technology that hundreds of others were probably still waiting in the rain for. The commercials were short, exciting, funny and evocative.
Now, there’s an associated effect. Consider the reality of a blender: Is it really that entertaining? Are you actually going to use it to demolish your priciest electronics or devour your leftover garden rake? However, even if Blendtech’s customers aren’t going to do any of these things, they’ll still think of them fondly when they use their blender to crush up some stubborn ice for a daiquiri.
By putting out a good, entertaining video that goes viral, you’re creating the implication that your brand is itself entertaining and creative. Your audience will want to see what comes next, will want to share their favorite moments with friends. Most of all, they’ll want the thing that you’re selling because it was so funny.
So, while once again we must reiterate that nothing in the world can guarantee you viral video success, there is every reason to devote part of your marketing efforts to developing entertaining, informative videos that can capture the imaginations of your target audience. All it takes is one success to get your brand out there in proper fashion.