You’ve seen all the hype that video campaigns like The Best Job in the World (extra ingenious because of its user-generated content) and The Scarecrow received. Everything from the pressing question of what noise the fox indeed does make, to Japanese lighter commercials like Jii have hit the sharing jackpot.
Lately, a couple of clients have asked us whether we think viral video is right for them, so we thought we’d discuss the idea in a little more detail. Before you go off trying to become the next YouTube sensation, let’s assess a few of the pros and cons of contagious content.
Granted, the pros are rather self-explanatory:
- Reach is global, and the content spreads at an incredibly rapid rate. The focal product, service, or company is met with mass awareness.
- They’re almost cost-free, and cheaper than other video campaigns due to their marginal distribution costs. Sit back and relax, the online community will do the work for you.
- Such global recognition provides opportunities for similar promotions in the future – though the sequels never seem to be quite as good.
- With any luck, others may create copies of your branded content, further extending its reach.
Unfortunately, viral videos aren’t without their pitfalls:
- You might miss the mark. Videos become viral when they elicit a strong emotional response and viewers are prompted to share them. You can sift through data and make an educated guess at the formula for shareable content, but ultimately, it’s up to the online community to make the call.
- Sure, others may duplicate your video, and this means you’ve done an excellent job creating engaging content. But you’ll now have multiple videos associated with your brand, and no control over their creation, nor the messaging. A prime example is Funny or Die’s Honest Scarecrow, a response to the aforementioned Chipotle video.
- Not all products or services are destined for virility. (Though, to be fair, I used to be under the impression that bodily excretions wouldn’t make for shareable content, but Poo-Pourri has made me believe that anything’s fair game.)
- It’s hard to sustain momentum. You hit the big leagues, you ride it out, and then your video becomes another of those one-hit wonders.
- Sometimes virility comes at the expense of a well-thought out and informative video. What’s the point in aiming for a global reach if viewers aren’t able to utter your company’s name?
- If you’re jumping onto a bandwagon – say, a dance craze – you can bet other companies will be hopping on it too. It’s highly likely that you’ll soon be battling it out for much-desired ad space, and it might get a little pricy.