Without getting entrenched in the politics of what is undoubtedly one of the worst environmental disasters in US history, the fact that millions of gallons of crude oil is still spewing into the Gulf of Mexico more than a month after the oil rig explosion seems obscenely absurd. People tune in to their news source expecting to hear that the oil leak is at least contained but even now it appears the latest attempt by British Petroleum has failed to have an impact.
It is this absurdity that has given rise to a fake BP Public Relations Twitter account @BPGlobalPR that tweets satirical sentiments like: “Sadly we can no longer certify our oil as Dolphin Safe.”
The account’s owner remains anonymous (for now) though “he” recently had an interview with Brenna Ehrlich of Mashable. At the time of this writing @BPGlobalPR has collected over 84,000 followers since the first tweet on 5/19/10. That’s more than 10 times the followers of BP’s official Twitter account @BP_America which has about 8,100 followers and twice the tweets. It is really no surprise that more people would rather laugh than cry (so to speak). And as every good marketer knows, humor is a powerful memory hook.
Some people may feel that a parody of this kind is in bad taste but apparently BP doesn’t think so given they have not asked Twitter to take down the account (see this AdAge article); a smart move on BP’s part as they have enough to worry about without adding Twitter to the list.
The reason I write this post at all is that both BP and the fake BP make good use of the social network to address their respective audiences. For one it is about damage control and for the other it is about cause awareness (albeit in a droll sort of way not unlike John Stewart).
But before launching your own YouTube sensation, consider only 15% of all video ads actually go viral according to a new study from Millward Brown (this actually sounds pretty good to me considering users now upload over 24 hours of video to YouTube every minute). The marketing research company just announced their Creative Viral Potential (CVP) metric for predicting viral success of video ads (you can view the press release here). After analyzing behavioral data from YouTube for 102 video commercials along with survey-based data, they’ve come up with four essential components to viral success:
Awareness Index – a measure of branded engagement that has long been used by advertisers to predict the success of their TV advertising
Buzz – which identifies whether an ad is likely to generate pass-along
Celebrity – the profile of a celebrity when used in an ad
Distinctiveness – a measure of originality
However you prefer to break down viral success, these free online services can help you research, measure, and manage your video campaigns.
YouTube Insight – YouTube’s analytics and reporting product that enables anyone with an account to view detailed statistics about their videos.
Viral Video Chart – offers at-a-glance basic statistics on all videos. Good to see how competing videos compare.
TubeMogul – the first online video analytics and distribution company serving publishers large and small who need independent information about video performance.
Visible Measures – an independent measurement firm for Internet video publishers, advertisers, and viral marketers. Currently offering a free public beta.
I’m sure there are other free video metrics so if you have found something worth sharing, leave a comment.
Juliette Gordon Low would be proud of her enterprising young ladies for utilizing viral marketing to sell Girl Scout Cookies while promoting a positive message about leadership, community service, and financial responsibility. Cookies have been a lucrative tradition of the Girl Scouts since Low’s day (circa 1917), bringing in about $700 million in sales each year. Using social media to reposition this classic American brand is smart and, quite frankly, it is about time.
The YouTube video What Can A Cookie Do? has already received over 35,000 views since its launch on 1/18/10 and is part of a much bigger re-branding effort that will be kicking into gear this Spring. The message: “Every Cookie Has a Mission: To Help Girls Do Great Things.” Hey, isn’t that what we all want.
The American Red Cross has pledged $10 million in aid for Haiti earthquake relief (as of this morning). Within 24 hours of the disaster the Red Cross raised over $3 million in mobile donations using text message donation provider mGive.
On 1/12/10 Haiti was hit with a devastating 7.0 earthquake (largest on record) about 10 miles west of Port-au-Prince. If you would like to help, you can text “haiti” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. You can also donate online here.
One of the featured case studies at last week’s B2B Social Communications event held by the Business Development Institute in New York City was IBM’s use of Social Media, specifically, their YouTube viral video series entitled Mainframe: The Art of the Sale. The brainchild of comedian Tim Washer, the series started 3 years ago and has since dramatically increase awareness of the company’s mainframe computers not only with IT execs but with college students (the next generation).
The take-away for B2B communicators and marketers: leverage your in-house resources, use “absurdity” to tell your story, and don’t let fear hold you back. You can watch part of Tim Washer’s presentation on 3 Minute AdAge.