Six of the Best Special Edition: The 2008 Virals ~ Brand Mix

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Six of the Best Special Edition: The 2008 Virals

What counts as a good viral campaign? Is it just a question of circulation and buzz? Or should we be asking for a little more? A little more, I think. Here's my own evaluation criteria:

1) Popularity: Did it actually go viral and create buzz?
2) Watchability/Engagement: Did it hold attention and engage the audience?
3) Branding: Was it on-brand and did it enhance the brand's relevance and differentiation? Or, setting the bar a little lower, do you even remember the brand?
4) Call to action: Did it influence/support sales?

This three-part (yeah!) SOTB Special Edition takes a look at the 2008 viral campaigns that have risen to the top of "best-of" lists. Most of the ads on these lists are enjoyable to watch but many are not so strong in terms of branding and especially call to action.

This first set of six campaigns are what I'm classifying as "high production quality" spots. These are ads that use online as another media channel making some adjustments for content (focus on watchability) and length (not restricting themselves to the 30 second format). The challenge for all these spots is that the single-minded pursuit of entertainment tends to crowd out everything else. "Great ad." "Which brand?" "No idea."

The blue star (*) is for virals that actually made it into my (heavily-defended) inbox.

Viral ads (High production)
1. Extreme Street Football *: Electronic Arts. Football/soccer from Brazil as never seen before.
2. Adam and Eve *: Centraal Beheer Insurance company ad featuring Adam and a disappointed Eve that was banned from TV before becoming an online hit.
3. Doghouse *: JCPenney's ad about men being thrown into the doghouse for giving their significant others bad gifts. Generating big holiday buzz and a lot of blog commentary (reviews here (critical) and here (positive)).
4. Penguins: The BBC's iPlayer service was launched with this video of a colony of Adelie Penguins flying thousands of miles across Antarctica to the Amazon Rainforest. It later released a viral video showing how it faked the footage.
5. Take it to the next level: Nike's GuyRitchie-directed tale of a teenage football/soccer star.
6. SFW XXX Party Invitation: Diesel's naughty montage of 1980s porn films, supposedly SFW (safe-for-work) but that may depend on where you work.

My favorite of these six: Penguins: BBC

For me, the best combination of popularity, watchability, brand consistency and call to action. Also, in the tradition of April Fool's jokes for the BBC that goes all the way back to Panorama's famous spaghetti trees.

Next up: YouTube-style ads and then viral marketing

1) Top 10 viral ads of the year: Organ Grinder Blog @ The Guardian
2) Top 10 Virals of 2008: Campaign
3) Top 100 funniest virals of 2008 The Sun's Funny Ad Clips
4) Viral Hall of Fame: Marketing Sherpa's 2008 list via "The Browser"
5) ViralBlog: Viral Ideas. Trends. Inspiration

No comments:

Blog Directory - Blogged