Persuasive Picks for week of 3/5/12

Forbes contributor Anthony Kosner breaks down the success of YouTube’s recently Most Popular video KONY 2012, a poignant 30 minute video with over 50 million views that begs the question; can the power of social media do what foreign policy cannot?  Kosner’s piece provides  12 Lessons from KONY 2012 from Social Media Power Users including be positive, get their attention and make it personal.

Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post looks at the impact of  Social Media in the media. Has the viral nature of news accomplished anything? Read more in her piece Virality Uber Alles: What the Fetishization of Social Media Is Costing Us All

This week also brings us a creative picture painting of  The Beauty of Social Media, an infographic posted by Shea Bennett that takes a closer look at how the beauty industry has embraced Social Media, and the innovative ways the top brands are using Social Media channels in this post by AllTwitter.

For most, Social Media brings to mind Facebook or Twitter. Krista Neher points out that there are more opportunities beyond the obvious to grow brand presence in her recent post 6 Effective but Ignored Social Media Marketing Sites on ClickZ.

Jennifer Aniston Goes Viral with ‘Smart’ Sex Tape

What do you get when you throw a gorgeous actress into a room with adorable puppies, a cute lip-synching kid, dancing babies and double rainbows and then give it a title that makes people stop in their tracks and do a double-take? A viral video that’s the talk of the Internet this week, with 4.7 million views and counting on YouTube, that’s what.

SmartWater hit a home run with spokeswoman Jennifer Aniston’s cleverly-titled “sex tape” spoof, a nearly three-minute ad that showcases the key elements that make viral videos spread like wildfire. The premise goes something like this: Aniston, coached by a team of “three lovely Internet boys” attempts to make an advertisement for the bottled water go viral – or, as she says, “apparently, um, turns into a virus.”

Dancing babies seem like a good option, until they start grinding on one another, prompting Aniston to ask, “Where’s the mommy?” She then apologizes to one fan, an unsuspecting victim of her crotch kick, explaining, “Apparently, that’s worth about 100,000 hits.” The former Friends star even pokes fun at herself with a parrot, which instead of saying “I love SmartWater” squawks, “Rachel, I love your hair.”

The video ends with Aniston asking, “Is it hot in here?” and shocking her Internet gurus by tossing her hair in slow motion before sexily sipping SmartWater, even letting a few droplets fall onto her chest. When asked what she thinks of the “sex tape” title, she says, “I love it!”

And apparently we all do, as the explosive number of views indicates, bringing the video to official viral video distinction.

But beyond gimmicks and clichés, what really makes a video become an Internet sensation? Here’s why we think SmartWater struck (liquid) gold with this one:

  • They took a chance: As we all know, you can’t make something go viral. If it’s good enough it just happens. But you never know until you try.
  • They thought outside the “bottle:” Ever thought there would be a viral video about water? The folks at SmartWater knew they’d have to step it up and think creatively to get people talking.
  • They lightened up: By teaming up with current viral stars and even poking some fun at herself and her own brand, both Aniston and SmartWater come across as refreshing (pun intended) in the video.
  • They kept a few key things in mind: It’s what every ad should be – simple, fun, memorable and appealing to the eyes. And the call to action? After watching Aniton’s slow-motion hair-tossing sequence, I’m betting more than a few folks will be reaching for that water to cool off.

What do you think – do you like the video? Is it worthy of its viral video status?

Persuasive Picks for the week of 03/29/10

Artwork: Chip Taylor10 Signs You’re a Social Media Addict
CIO.com’s Kristin Burnham shares the results of a recent Retrevo Gadgetology survey that shows how addicted people are to their online social communities. She also provides some additional survey questions of her own to help determine how addicted you are.

9 social media topics that need to die
This Ragan.com guest post by Amber Naslund from Radian6 debunks nine  ideas in social media that we’ve all heard repeated – and that at one time were practically touted as gospel. The post provides a nice wake-up call for those still new to the social media space.

Attacks Exploit Growing Use of Social Media
Michael Cheek highlights findings from the “Blue Coat Web Security Report for 2009” which shows that cyber criminals are migrating to social networks as fast as the rest of us.

Dating Advice for PR Pros
This post on Jeremy Porter’s Journalistics blog provides an entertaining read that compares media relations to the process of dating. Don’t miss this one!

What Makes Videos Go Viral – And Should Marketers Even Care?
While there’s no magic formula for creating a successful viral video, the most popular ones do share a few common characteristics. This MarketingVox post shares some of those as well as the success that Coca-Cola had with their recent vending machine viral campaign.

- Artwork: Chip Taylor

Meeting of the New Marketing Minds, Part 2

This is Part 2 of my series of takeaways from the 2008 New Marketing Summit at Gillette Stadium. Part 1 focused on the importance of listening. Today I’ll share some of the ideas mentioned around becoming a content creator.

Content Creation – Be the publisher!
Content Creation

During a panel moderated by Paul Gillin, William Cava (Ektron), Darren Guarnaccia (Sitecore), John Munsel (Bizzuka) and Peter Nieforth (Documetrics) defined content marketing as “using content to drive behavior and action.” In today’s environment, ultimately everyone has the opportunity to be a marketer.

Another point they discussed was unlocking your content. Take down those web forms because you are losing 95% of your potential readership. Try looking for different ways to engage with the reader and give THEM the option to give out their information in return – you will see a greater success rate with this open mentality.

Cava stressed that organizations should not underestimate the power of fresh content, and it should be treated like a living, breathing thing. Avoid “Content Rot” explained Gillin. A steady schedule of new content will keep your site fresh and will help drive SEO.

Some suggestions discussed during the panel for getting more mileage out of existing content include:

  • Post a video. Tape simple events your company might be involved with. The company BBQ, a re-enactment of the scene from “Office Space” that involves the office printer and a bat. This type of content creation is easy to develop, free, and it works to drive visitors.
  • Viral videos. Ok, everyone knows you can’t “make” a video go viral – you can just post it, promote it and hope for the best, but again, it is another avenue for attracting eyeballs and getting people to interact with your company/brand.
  • Press release – yes, they said press releases. As more people are doing away with the press release, there is not as much noise.

During Gillin’s own keynote presentation “Why Content is the New Currency of Marketing” he stressed that while marketers no longer have control over what customers are saying about them, they can and should participate in the conversations. Using the same tools as customers, marketers no longer need the media to help influence public opinion, they can do it themselves!

Stay tuned for the third and final part of this wrap-up series coming up tomorrow.

Interactive video campaigns begin to emerge

Back in September Jeremiah Owyang created a post entitled “YouTube Videos Get Interactive: Choose Your Own Adventure” that featured an example of a video that makes use of YouTube’s new annotation functionality. This functionality allows content creators to embed notes, speech bubbles and clickable hotspots into their videos after they have been uploaded to YouTube. While this type of interactivity has been possible with other technologies like Adobe Flash, YouTube is making it extremely easy and accessible for all “YouTuber’s” to integrate into their projects.

Being a social media guy and new media creator, I naturally saw some great potential for using these new features as part of a future client campaign. Coincidentally, the opportunity to do just that came about a few days later for our client TeleMessage and their TeamText campaign – geared toward educating consumers (specifically teens and tweens) about the ability to send text to landline.

The result is a “Choose Your Own Adventure” style video dubbed “Jenny’s Dilemma,” in which the viewer can choose from one of three different endings to the main story. The correct outcome features a call to action that directs the viewer to a landing site for additional information related to the campaign.

Other examples that use the new annotation functionality include a trivia question from Val’s Art Diary (as featured in Jeremiah’s post) and a racy (mildly NSFW) “choose your own adventure” campaign for the Samsung Instinct mobile device called “Follow Your Instinct.”

It should be interesting to see how marketers integrate this new YouTube functionality into their campaigns moving forward. We hope that you’ll take a look at our submission to the interactive video genre, and let us know what you think!