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Interactive Virals – Connecting With The Brand

Blog | Web + Social

Charlie | Friday 15th, 2011, 12:00am BST

Hopefully you will have read my recent blog about Adidas‚Äô effective use of large-scale outdoor projection mapping at the public launch of their new global campaign. For this post I‚Äôve decided to focus on another relatively new method of brand activation that‚Äôs seen an upsurge in effective deployment over the past year: Interactive Viral Ads The rapid evolution of web technologies has meant that more opportunities are opening up for advertisers to design and deliver experiential ad campaigns that immerse consumers in the world of the brand. As a marketing tool, Interactive Adverts have been utilised with varying levels of success and sophistication over the past decade. In 2004 Burger King introduced us to Subservient Chicken: and then in 2005 Pontiac offered consumers the chance to win a new car by chatting up Rachel Perry. But with the cross-medial interconnectivity provided by social networks combined with the popularity of viral video, marketers are now focusing a lot of energy on harnessing the medium to deliver cost-effective online campaigns that raise brand awareness and inspire brand loyalty. One of the stand-out successes in this area came in July last year when Old Spice gave consumers the opportunity to pitch questions at The Old Spice Guy via Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and YouTube and receive a full-blown video-response in as close to realtime as was possible. For example: In September Tipp-Ex launched the now infamous ‘a hunter shoots a bear’ campaign. The way it plays out, a hunter with his gun trained on a bear in the woods has a change of heart, reaches out of frame to grab a Tipp-Exx Pocket Mouse from a neighbouring on-screen ad and erases the word ‚Äòshoots‚Äô from the video title. The viewer then has the choice of writing any word they can think of into the blank space, which the hunter and the bear then act out. You can give it a try yourself below, but be advised that the initial video contains, for whatever inexplicable reason, some offensive language: So if a person types in ‚Äòhugs‚Äô then the hunter and the bear share a hug. If they type in ‚Äòeats‚Äô and you get a video of the hunter being forced by the bear to eat a teddy bear at gunpoint. And so on. Both of these ad campaigns went successfully viral, pulling in millions of views across the world and contributing to a 107% increase in overall sales for Old Spice ¬†and a 30% increase in sales for Tipp-Exx. And so on to the latest, and funniest, interactive viral that I’ve seen so far this year. Skittles have recently launched a campaign via YouTube that gently subverts their ‘Taste the Rainbow’ strapline to ‚ÄòTouch the Rainbow‚Äô, reflecting the tactile core of this new campaign‚Äôs approach: The above video has already had over two million views and the four others have each attracted several hundred thousand views each. What I love about this campaign (apart from how funny it is) is that it interacts with the viewer in an entertaining way whilst simultaneously cementing the brand’s central values. It‚Äôs cheeky, colourful and fresh and most importantly it doesn’t feel like entertainment for it‚Äôs own sake. Instead, the consumer‚Äôs relationship to the brand is heightened through an experiential encounter that impels them to share it with their friends. I‚Äôm certain that over the next couple of years there we‚Äôll see a raft of new interactive viral campaigns that draw from the success of the ads covered in this post. I only hope that due time and consideration is given to the architecture of both the concept and the execution so as to avoid falling into the trap of trendy gimmicks and instead produce modern advertising classics.