On Friday, I spoke at a social media conference with Aaron Calloway, a brand manager from Axe. He shared the story of the provocative Axe Detailer CYB Campaign, which earned Axe a Cannes Gold Lion and propelled the brand to major growth. It was ranked the single most viral video of 2010.
At one point, Aaron said, “Marketers often say they want to ‘do a viral video’. You can’t just ‘do a viral video’.”
Most things are not viral and you never know in advance what ideas will work. The best approach is to try lots of things and bring the best forward. Aaron described a long journey bringing this campaign to life and the details involved, far beyond the actual 3-minute video.
For every Axe breakthrough success, there are hundreds of brands that put all their eggs in one viral media basket. Or they chase low quality traffic through frivolous gimmicks that are only loosely related to the brand.
Orabrush is a remarkable case study of building a brand through creative video content. You couldn’t pick a duller category. They sell tongue scrapers for oral hygiene. The founder approached a classroom for help and a student created a clever product demo to bring the brand to life. That student product demo achieved 16 million views and this article in TechCrunch:
“Here’s the surprising thing: The video isn’t really that funny. Saying it “went viral” isn’t quite right. People weren’t forwarding this around saying “YOU HAVE TO WATCH THIS! LOLOLOL!” People seemed to resonate with the product itself and a desire not to have bad breath. Many viral videos do little more than rack up page views. This one not only sold ten thousands Orabrushes, it spawned hundreds of videos of people using it and showing the camera the gunk that came off their tongues. Another four million people watched those video responses. And a whopping 20% of people who watched Orabrush’s video went to the site, and 5% bought a brush– metrics that have stayed steady over time.”
Orabrush extended this success to a YouTube channel with a weekly video series called “Diary of a Dirty Tongue”. Their channel is the second most trafficked on YouTube with 33 million views. Remember, this is for a company that sells tongue scrapers.
Their head of marketing (the former student who created the first video) credits their success to “the four Cs of authentic content, collaboration with the YouTube audience, consistency and a clear call to action.”
Most branded videos posted to YouTube miss the boat on those four.