Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Viral Video - why getting it right as a client rarely means zero media spend.

I was in a pitch meeting recently with a local Polish creative agency. As part of their impressive creds, they showed a viral campaign they had developed about a year ago. It was a subversive and quirky idea in a category untouched by usual viral work - pharma.

Clearly the client was impressed with the idea and, rather predictably, was even more impressed when the agency proudly annouced that there had been zero media spend behind it - it just happened.

This irritated me slightly as it showed a lack of ambition and knowledge on how to really use the media - beyond the most important aspect - having a great idea.

Yes of course viral often means 'free'. There are 1000s of now globally famous virals that have just 'happened', they caught the public imagination, were shared and spread before they are consigned to the library of 'remember that one with the fat kid / kid cute / sexy girl / exploding coke bottle / guy falling off the tread mill ....'


However the vast majority of these are classic UGC that did not have the brief to sell / build awareness / create Excitment in a brand. They were simply a fun way to spend 10 secs to 3 mins.
When you are a brand in this space, it seems to me you have to follow a few rules. Here are some rules from some guys who do know what they are talking about in the viral space -- The Viral Factory. I found their words of wisdom in the BA Business Life magazine March 2010 edition and thought they were worth sharing, I have paraphrased a little bit so forgive me:

Rule 1: Respect the audience

If traditional advertising has been occasionally guilty of treating people like idiots - avoid this tendency line. People can and will talk back to you and about you - through blogs, comments etc.
And while the size of potential Internet audience has us delirious with excitement, bare in mind that if you get it wrong - it can go really really wrong.


Rule 2: Audience 1st, Marketing 2nd

When you buy a 30 sec TV spot - you want to Squeeze every last penny of value from the investment. And why not, its yours and you control it in an environment of apparent focused attention (the commercial break - however we've been talking about Ad Advoiders for 15 years)

With viral you have to earn the audience attention by giving them something they want to watch. So start with that and then figure out how to get key marketing messages across without ruining the idea you thought was so good in the first place.

What do people like? Well Hollywood has a pretty good grasp on this: people like to laugh, they like romance, they like watching people in jeopardy, they like sex, heros, cute things, and they like things that make you go WOW!

Rule 3: Get rid of barriers

If you want people to share what you've created, then make it easy and fun for them to do so. Use content-sharing tools and platforms like You Tube, Flickr, Facebook, Blogger. These are freely available and people are comfortable using them. Of course you can make you're own but that is an additional expense, when money spent (beyond creating the idea) should be focused on....

Rule 4: Promoting your viral

This should be done shamelessly and relentlessly especially in the 1st 2 weeks after realease. By getting into the 'top 100' of viral, work does disproportionately better as more people see and share.

You can focus on getting influencial people - journalists, commentators, well-followed bloggers etc - to spread your message.

However, a greater chance of success sits with having a viral promotional plan and budget in place. We use people like Go Viral to seed brand content- via social networks, content placements, SEO with behavourial targeting. There are 2 main approaches; "pull" seeding - one to many, or "push" content placement in high volume/traffic spaces.

Both are essentially charged on a pay per view model which adds some accoutability to this area and shows that great viral marketing campaigns don't just happen and they like any great marketing campaign, they need focus and investment.

The difference being, if you get it right in viral the idea will fly and your ROI is almost unimaginable - a was in the case of Evian's Rollerskating babies - which was 'planned' to get 2millions view and is currently on 58 million.

Friday, 5 March 2010

TEDx Warsaw - session 2

The second session of the inagrual TEDx Warsaw event. I was 'live blogging' so expect a few typos and the odd loss of thread.....

Kicking off session 2 - Jonathan Ornstein

Jewish life in Krakow

How HRH Prince Charles helped to build a Jewish Community centre in Krakow -but now the need to attract Jews back to Krakow given there are only 150 Jews in Krakow.

Interesting view on how most Jewish people come to Krakow on hertiage tours - and go from ghetto, to concentration camp, to another camp to a cemetary. He compared this with a 2nd generation Japanese going back to Japan - only to visit Hirosima and Nagasaki.

2nd speaker - Noam Kostucki

How selfishness is the best reason to cooperate

3rd - Marek Minakowski - chief scientist at - a leading local portal

He's going to have a stab at predicting the future - excellent

Bascially nothing will change as human brain will not change. Its still going to be a case of Pull and Push - as we pull from Google now and Push to Facebook

Pull might become the 'crystal ball' to which you can pose any question. And push will become some kind of 'perfect secretary' who protects you from the over-burden of infomation.

Hmmm interesting guy but not sure I caught all he said.

4th Speaker -Sandra Bichl

2+2 is less than we are not predisposed to teamwork (apparently in German TEAM stands for "great, someone else to do the work")

Moving on to our hidden talents as individuals - either you've found them and its working for you, or you have yet to discover them (thats nice to hear!)

5th - Sebastian Straube

At current rate of development - we need 3 more Earth's to keep us sustained. That could be a problem

Sustainovation is the answer he tells us.

Bottom of the Pyramid innovation - focusing on the worlds 4 billion who have less than $2/day

Cradle to Cradle innovation - closed cycles for zero footprint

Catalytic innovation - disruptive innovation for social change - such as giving up your time for free

Next - Alek Tarkowski - given I have about 20 mins of battery left, might not get thru the session.

How do you protect culture in the digital age.

It seems that building culture actually means building another building - cultural institutions could use the internet to supplement whats missing.

If instituations move online, they need:

Openess - making stuff available so someone, somewhere can help and find an answer

Sharing -

Sustainability - find ways to support creators over a long time

Durability - what would a 100 year Wikipedia look like?

Indeed the battery did cut out half way thru this talk - shame as it was one of the best (in my view) so far. He went on to talk about cultural curation and how this will become more and more important yet easier - even creating a playlist is an act of curation.

Session closed with an amazing recital by a cellist and acordian player - playing a modern composition by a young Polish musician. Excellent - there is more music to come later. Probably better to see that on

TEDx Warsaw session 1 - live from Warsaw Uni Old Library

The lecture theater of the Uni Old Library building in Warsaw is pretty much packed - that makes 376 keen souls pushed through the morning snow to be at the inaugral TEDx Warsaw.

Its 10am - And as promised we're off with a video from the founder of the TED TEDx why it was set up

Now its the organisier Ralph Talmont-brief housekeeping

1st speaker for precisely 18 mins-Ian Hernandez. "Ever been to the circus?" Trapeze Acrobats and flying

Its all about collaboration. 3 stages
1) Competition: In a positive sense, going the extra mile, self-imporvement

2) Co-operation: its all about agreement

3) Collaboration: its all about creation

Summing up - lifes lessons come from very unusual places, and that achieve remarkable things you need the same trust and committment as an acrobat.

2nd Speaker - Lori Kent - importance of the arts in human culture

30.000 yrs of art in 18 mins - here we go - Cavemen, The Greeks, Dark Ages, Renaissance artists = as superstars, Modernism, right up to the post-post modernism now.

7 things to love about artists: they ...

1 - see well ... have vision - imagination
2 - aritists find a problem
3 - are self-aware
4 - are experts at play - like finger painting as a child
5 - embrace difficulty - Michalango imagine looking at a block of white marble
6 - oopps missed that one
7 - reflect and critique. well before 'crowd sourcing'

By the way - its great seeing an artist present using her own pictures rather than ppt.

Asks us to make our own day more artful, and put it at center of what we do

3rd up - Sergei Sawin - how to build an innovative organistion

1 Have courage to explore - from rubber to nokia phones
2 Know where you want to be in 10 years - if you can not predict the future invent it
3 See the world through your clients eyes - get out of the office
4 Focus on the job people are Tyringe to get done not on the product itself --
5 Discover your non-customers - eg use of the Wii by over 60s - bowling on you tube
6 Find out your lead users --
7 Foster collaborative creativity - Dutch ministry of transpostation has an amazing creavtivty facilty
8 Be open to new ideas
9 Prototype - helps turn ideas into a reality - try and fail a few times - this helps
10 Prepare for tough resistence - innovators are like Rambo - limited resources and no support.

"When the wind of change is blowing you can either build a shelter ... or a windmill" syas the chinese proverb.

4th speaker - Hodge Hodgson

Building carbon-neutral economies. A project at Berlin University - building a building that produces more engery than the inhabitants consume

A solar decathlon architecture in Madrid in June 2010

Oh quick one - all done in 4 mins

Number 5 - Jacek Olechowski

Networks and Trust - can we trust the networks that bring us together?

Toyota, Anderson, Madoff - lose trust, lose everything

Efficient ways of building trust? Because lack of trust is the biggest barrier
Thats why networks can be efficient and builder of trust - eg simply being TEDx event at a level of trust develops between strangers

Effective networks

Peers vs. Hierarchy - everyone feels at the same level
Long term goal v deal driven - not common vision quick deal
homogeneous v too diverse - a few set of rules and values that people can agree on

The social networking sites that are winning are fulfilling certain needs

6th Speaker - Stephen Kines - we're flying through them - do not think everyones getting close to their 18 mins, certainly no buzzer used yet.

Man walks on stage with a cucumber and a condom - this is getting random now - whats the metaphor - oh he's a lawyer and its about protection.

How rules can kill and constrict the entrepreneur - hence a new biz model for his law firms without Billable hours - is that one going to catch on?!

And last up this session - Michal Malinowski

A story teller dressed in traditional Papua New Guinea outfit- setting up a digital repository for stories from all over the world. Quite a trippy end to the session.