Tag Archives: viral video

Video everywhere, all the time

Throughout my career i have tried really hard to create advertising that has a legitimate shot of being seen out of choice by consumers. And that legitimately competes with the very best of what’s vying for consumers’ attention at any given time.

That is hard. And has always been hard. It’s hard to create things that really interesting. The path from idea to finished execution can be a tricky one. Ask the Weinstein Brothers!

And there is always a ton of new content to compete with. BUT…the good news is that 99% of it will be uninteresting dreck. So really you’re only competing with 1% of the new content. (I’m making the numbers up obviously, but you get the picture).

And of course the Internet is simultaneously the best thing and worst thing to ever happen to someone who traffics in attention. Lots of new ways for you to engage people. Lots of new ways for them to tune you out.

So it’s kind of sobering to read these statistics… (The audience for online video reached new heights last month, as over 158 million Americans streamed a total of 21.4 billion videos in July according to comScore — both new records for the medium)

I remember ad agencies being vilified in the early years of this decade for trying too hard to use old tricks (video) in the new and interactive medium of the internet. Well, guess what. Turns out video is still the most compelling and fastest way to tell a story. you just have to compete with 21.4 billion other videos.

time to get yourself one of them sneezin’ pandas!

Seth Godin commented on our blog

You can find it here. And of course the spam filter rejected his comment like a jaded nightclub bouncer in a 1950s movie. “Sure you’re Seth Godin, and I’m Victor Mature. Beat it pal!” So I only just found it yesterday by chance.

Seth commented in reference to a post i did about a post that he did on his blog. Let me be clear. I am a huge Seth fan. bought the books. heard him speak. the man talks a torrent of common sense. and common sense is always in short supply. I subscribe to his email list. which is how i came across this post. in it seth disses the very notion of somebody being able create a viral sensation. which, to me, is like discounting the possibility of having a string of hit movies. in other words, it’s not easy but that isn’t to say that it can’t be done. and i took issue with that in my counter-point blog post to his blog post.

telling a creative person that they can’t do something was bound to get my dander up. but as long as i’ve been in advertising i’ve been creating videos that seem to tickle the public’s fancy. i think mostly because that is exactly my goal at all times. and i have put enormous energy into doing it. and one thing i’ve noticed over the years is that there is a tendency out there among some to disbelieve that that I, and quite a few others, can in fact summon up a hit commercial at will. simply because they cannot imagine it, it must not be possible. I have actually had people tell me flat out to my face that it’s not possible and it’s all a fluke and…you get the drift.

i will now share with you Seth’s original post, my rebuttal, his comment and my reply.
And leave it to you to decide if i was being snarky or not.

(seth’s original post)
Making commercials for the web

TV advertisers are finally discovering that YouTube + viral imagination = free media.

The good news for you is that money is not a barrier, which means that marketers of any size can play. But the rules are different, as they always are online.

Because media is free but attention is not (this is flipped from TV world) you need to make a different sort of ad for a different sort of audience.

1. Assume that the viewer has the attention span of an espresso-crazed fruitfly. That means slapstick, quick cuts and velocity.

2. Find a word or phrase that you can own in Google, that fits in an email, and that comes up in discussion at the cafeteria table or in the playground.

Castrol gets both rules right in this inane commercial.

3. Length doesn’t matter. 10 seconds is fine and so is five minutes. Media is free, remember?

4. Challenge the status quo, be provocative, touch a social nerve or create some other sort of interesting conversation. In other words, a commercial worth watching.

Dove does both in this now-famous commercial.

Because of the power of free media, I expect to see a whole host of commercials that would never be deemed effective enough to spend big media money on, but that generate huge views online. Look for plenty of irrelevant slogans and catch phrases and off strategy content… anything for an eyeball.

Also, understand that this is out of your control. Once launched, what happens, happens. One commercial I know of caught fire and ended up with millions of views. The client then called the producer, screaming in anger. He wanted to be able to turn it off, to decide how it got used, who talked about it, etc. You can’t. Once it spreads, it belongs to the community, not to you.

The biggest shift is going to be that organizations that could never have afforded a national campaign will suddenly have one. The same way that there’s very little correlation between popular websites and big companies, we’ll see that the most popular commercials get done by little shops that have nothing to lose.

(my counter-blog post)
Seth Godin hasn’t made a lot of videos
April 28, 2009 · 6 Comments

From a recent post (i subscribe to his email list) it’s obvious that the Great Domed One hasn’t shot a lot of film. Not that this stops him from telling people how to do it. I love that about internet ad guru types. Never let not actually having experience of doing something hold you back from holding forth on it.

Let me tell you how to create viral video. First, spend years studying what people like and don’t like and what works. Then spend years shooting a TON of all sorts of things to learn the art of film-making. Because film is a very executional medium. It’s art. And art is hard.

There is no short cut to great content. Unless you happen to have a lion somewhere that you raised as a cub and that’s just dying to be reunited with you years later. like now. or you happen to have a sneezing panda in your basement.

There’s an old cowboy saying: never mistake a clear view for a short distance. just because you’ve watched a lot of video doesn’t mean you’ll be any good at creating it.

Here’s my tip: hire someone who actually knows what they’re doing.

(seth’s comment on my post)

6 responses so far ↓

*

Seth Godin // April 28, 2009 at 7:50 pm | Reply (edit)

That was a pretty snarky post, I think, and undeserved. Of course it’s important to hire people who know what they’re doing. And tell them what, precisely? Tell them to shoot you a TV commercial? No, that won’t work. Tell them to make you a commercial just like Numa Numa? Won’t work… it’s been done.

Being a client is just as difficult as being a creative or a director. Lousy executive producers ruin as many movies as lousy directors, right?

Be well. Sorry that I annoyed you.

(and, finally, my reply to his comment)

Seth,

your comment got snagged in my spam filter for some reason. it couldn’t believe it was actually you i guess. sorry about that.

i don’t think my post was snarky. irate perhaps.

i remember your post rubbed me the wrong way because i know what you’re saying to be untrue.
you’re saying something isn’t possible just because you can’t imagine it to be so.

“Tell them to make you a commercial just like Numa Numa? Won’t work… it’s been done.”

You mean it’s been tried and been a miserable failure a million times? Yeah it has. So what? that doesn’t mean it CAN’T be done. and i would argue strongly that experience is invaluable here. but of course if you have no concept of success in this area i can see how you might have difficulty imagining it.

but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

(end of comments)

So, you tell me. who’s being snarky and who is right? as much as i respect seth i respect actual experience of what you’re talking about more.

Seth Godin hasn’t made a lot of videos

From a recent post (i subscribe to his email list) it’s obvious that the Great Domed One hasn’t shot a lot of film. Not that this stops him from telling people how to do it. I love that about internet ad guru types. Never let not actually having experience of doing something hold you back from holding forth on it.

Let me tell you how to create viral video. First, spend years studying what people like and don’t like and what works. Then spend years shooting a TON of all sorts of things to learn the art of film-making. Because film is a very executional medium. It’s art. And art is hard.

There is no short cut to great content. Unless you happen to have a lion somewhere that you raised as a cub and that’s just dying to be reunited with you years later. like now. or you happen to have a sneezing panda in your basement.

There’s an old cowboy saying: never mistake a clear view for a short distance. just because you’ve watched a lot of video doesn’t mean you’ll be any good at creating it.

Here’s my tip: hire someone who actually knows what they’re doing.

film-kieslowski-camera-buff-032-1

Making stop sense! (two part)

Here’s another good example of an “aesthetic whole”. My old art director partner Justin Reardon is now a successful director. He created this gem for his beginning directorial reel. It was all his idea. It is insane. And brilliant. And without doubt the best ad you’ll ever see for Nutrigrain bars. Like whassup, it doesn’t ask you to please like it and to please, please laugh. It just overwhelms you. And takes you on a little trip to its own fully-realized little world. It sounded crazy when he described it to me. But he had a vision for it.

It was a sort of an accidental viral hit. Someone from geek.com stumbled upon his site and it spread from there like wildfire. If you haven’t seen this before I highly recommend that you do so now.