Sunday, April 17, 2011

Anantomy of a successful viral video campaign.

Guess which brand's YouTube channel gets more views than BMW.  Even more than Disney.  Did you guess Orabrush?  Nah, didn't think so.

The story of Orabrush's success with its YouTube video campaign is very instructive.  Even the NY Times has covered it in an attempt to decode its success. 

Orabrush's YouTube channel has received more than 33 million views and is the seventh-most subscribed channel, beating brands like BMW, Disney and Nintendo Wii.  Why?  After reading the NY Times article and viewing a bunch of Orabrush's videos, I think their success in going viral can be attributed to a few factors which many marketers would be wise to consider:
  1. Be funny, even slightly outrageous.
  2. Don't be slick.  YouTube is not TV or web.
  3. Be prolific. Program the channel. Make a lot of videos and release them over time to build a following.
  4. Cede creative control.  Persuade the community's "alpha-producers" to make parodies of your video.
  5. Be authentic.  Don't let the dark magic of Madison Avenue be seen or felt.  
  6. Cross your fingers.
Relatedly, check out Ad Age's list of the top viral videos, with commentary on why they were so successful.  

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