viral campaign

5 second films

I was excited but a little skeptical at first about because I didn’t know what you could possibly say in just 5 seconds.

But after spending a bit of time on the site I have to say if you haven’t seen or heard of 5 second films yet, you’re missing out.

The site is, in a word, awesome. And it’s awesomeness lays with its very clever design – the lack of time to waffle on. The creator has to have their beginning, middle and end relayed to an audience fast, very fast.

5 second films

Films are, as the name suggests, limited to around 5 seconds in length and the majority are very entertaining.

Any comparison that 5 second films is to Youtube what twitter is to Facebook just isn’t right – 5secondfilms hasn’t just taken the concept of user generated video and dumped it on a site, they’re asking less from the viewer and more from the creator.

As a viewer you know you’re only commiting a few seconds of your day but as a creator you have to work much harder to get the point across quickly and effectively.

As far as I can see from the contributions so far, all entriely user generated – no giant slabs of copy and pasted video from the Daily Show here, and likewise you won’t see it being used as a medium for traditional marketing and advertising (yet). Although as a marketer you could say much more, many times over with multiple short videos than putting all yout eggs in one big epic viral attempt basket – so I definitely think this format has legs.

And one of the major benefits to the user is that they’re commiting much less time so they may be more willing to give the video a chance – if it sucks well at least it only chewed up 5 seconds of the viewers’ day instead of 90 seconds or more.

I’ve talked previously about the Schweppes viral campaign Signs, which I really like, but the viewer is commiting over 12 minutes of their time to watch it, and I wonder how many people thought about forwarding it but didn’t because they felt guilty asking their friends to set aside over 12 minutes.

I think a series of short videos that spanned the length of a campaign could be just as effective, if not more effective. The agency or company could change the message frequently and this is handy should a campaign not be tracking so well, and it also gives any viral campaign much more chances to capture someone as different aspects will invariably attract different audiences. In addition costs would be lower, it’s easier to test and the chance of a good 5 second viral getting forwarded should be higher.

I’m definitely putting this on my ‘next big thing’ list.

So how much can you say in 5 seconds? Well, as it turns out quite alot.

Check out some of the videos below and make sure you visit the 5 second films site.

Masters of the Viewniverse, here.

You need the twist-o-matic, here.

Coming of Age, here.

A good viral should get me humming.

I woke up this morning playing the intro theme music to the 1980’s cartoon, Roger Ramjet in my head.

I have no idea why it was there, or what got me thinking about it, but there it was nonetheless.

That unbelievably catchy/annoying tune was playing over and over again in my head and I got all nostalgic and had to hunt it down on youtube.

It’s well established that music, more than anything else is a binding force in our memories. Francis Mendez once famously said “for every memory there’s a song”.

Some of the best marketing and advertising has had an effective soundtrack, jingle, or accompanying song that gets you going is what many people remember long after the campaign has concluded but the imprint of the brand associated with it may linger too.

Recent campaigns that spring to mind include:

  • Telstra’s ‘Everybody’s talkin’ at me’, clip here.
  • Commbank’s ‘Come Together’, song here.

But there are counless others, like JB Hi Fi’s breaking glass,

I guess I’m asking the question: Would viral go even longer in the memory of consumers if a famous or nostalgic (nostalgia depends on who you’re targeting) sound was included?

I’m asking because right now I can think of heaps of television jingles and campaign songs but I’m struggling to think of one online viral that’s employed music effectively.

Roger Ramjet intro

Be prepared for people to love the brand you were, not the brand you are.

Mumbrella, an Australian media and marketing blog, reported here: this week that an online campaign for Schweppes called ‘Signs’ produced by Publicis Mojo finally went viral after “online users belatedly fell in love with it”.

The video is below, more from this post below the jump:

Reading that it took around a year for this campaign to become popular and viral,  it got me thinking about a whole bunch of questions regarding branding and brand exposure.  I’ve been asking myself for days ‘are people experiencing the Schweppes experience that Schweppes still want them to be experiencing?’

‘With viral campaigns being dependent on the users to make it ‘viral’ what was it before this? Was it a failed campaign?’ – Did Schweppes classify ‘Signs’ as a failure?

‘What happens if a meme forms around a campaign or brand concept that is no longer relevant or indeed is now shunned by the company it represents?’

In short, ‘what happens if people fall in love with the brand you were, not the brand you now are?’

As a marketing message, as a campaign and as a company, often times the market moves quickly. The campaign is about ‘quick churn’ because of the competitive nature of the business and consumer environment etc. In most cases the message, the media used and the infrastructure around the campaign are finite. They are generally controllable. Rarely, for example, would you have an individual or large group of individuals hold onto a campaign message from a newspaper or magazine for around a year before trying to claim the limited offer, the extra value mentioned or the experience the company was promoting.

But the internet doesn’t work like that. Once it’s out there, it’s out there. Forever. It’s never coming back, and as a company you’re now stuck with that message which will be floating around forever, being a part of that company. Like a child becomes to a husband and wife, like an ipod becomes attached to me whenever I’m on public transport and like that half dozen Facebook friends that you finally agreed to have on your profile because it just got embarrassing when they tried to ‘friend’ you for the third time.

Now, obviously in the case of a campaign that was meant to go viral, it’s all well and good, virality and popularity is the goal. But what if by the time the campaign goes viral the company has moved on? What should the company do? What should the people who are now enjoying that message do? Should the company pull back it’s current message to accommodate that one?

In the case of Schweppes campaign, it took roughly one year for this video to become popular. Even then it only really happened after a powerful Youtube user thought it was cool and posted it. But surely Schweppes haven’t been sitting on their hands for a year hoping against hope that it’d become popular. They must have tried different messages between then and now.

I’m not sure if it is possible to stay relevent to your current consumers when you’re trying to appeal to those ones who’re still playing catch up based on an earlier campaign. But nor am I sure that a company necesarily has to. Brands mean different things to different people at different stages in their life and that’s fine. However I’m not sure how it would work if the company has shifted too radically i.e. Porsche moving out of tractors and into sports cars.

As a marketing professional it provides sobering food for thought that now more than ever much of what is produced and put out there is put out there for life and that it may come back and haunt us in the future – this blog post included I guess. And that we as the primary group of people responsible for how a brand and a company is seen, interacted with, experienced, enjoyed and consumed. We need to be aware that just because the focus is on ‘campaign A’ this week, month, season or year, doesn’t mean that when our focus is on ‘campaign B’ there isn’t a core group of consumers, or potential consumers, who are only just starting to experience ‘campaign A’.

What I’m saying here is that campaigns such as the video above clearly have longevity because it’s about a beautiful little story of two people finding each other. But what I’m also saying  is that it is a very good thing that Schweppes didn’t see it as a failed campaign, a lost marketing opportunity and then focused it’s branding attention on attracting the ‘extreme sports drink’ market. Because if they’d written off the ‘signs’ campaign as a failure and gone the ‘extreme’ path that would clash significantly with what the world, their consumers, their target market, is currently experiencing and enjoying.