The digital consumer’s universe revolves around communities. From voicing opinions and reviewing products to playing games and bookmarking favorites to sharing photos and watching videos, there are an infinite number of communities in the online world built around common interests.
The biggest challenge and opportunity for brands is to creatively engage with audiences in these communities. Instead of trying to tap into these conversations, agile brands are starting new ones by creating short-term, high-impact video campaigns.
Here are 5 recent brand initiatives that are successfully generating buzz among audiences, both old and new:
Crash The Super Bowl is perhaps one of the most prominent and successful displays of user-generated content in the industry. Rather than pay an agency to create the perfect Super Bowl advertisement, Doritos asks fans to send in their own 30-second Doritos spot, with the simple guideline to “just make it awesome.”
After sorting through many submissions, a panel of judges has selected 10 ads that fans can vote for leading up to the big game. Check out this awesome finalist:
2. Newcastle Brown Ale
The one problem with the Doritos formula is that it’s an open invitation for creative parodies. Newcastle Brown Ale, in a stunt echoing last year’s incredible “If We Made It” almost-Super-Bowl ad, made their own entry into the contest. Well, sort of.
In its own 40-second spot, Newcastle pretends to craft a generic comedy ad that masquerades as a promotion of Doritos (bleeped out in the video) chips, all while actually doing a pretty great job of showcasing a lot of Newcastle ale.
Doritos isn’t the only brand to use a crowdfunding strategy this year. Newcastle also announced a new campaign called “Band of Brands” that is aimed at producing the “first-ever crowdfunded Big Game ad” by teaming with other brands. “In exchange for a small contribution, any brand can join Newcastle’s team and have its logo and messaging featured in an actual Big Game spot,” the brand said in a statement.
The effort, by Droga5, is the latest play by Newcastle to mock conventional advertising techniques with snarky videos that often star celebrities. The “Band of Brands” campaign was launched today with a video starring “Parks and Recreation” star Aubrey Plaza. In the spot she says, “We can help your brands sell tons of whatever the (bleep) your brands sell,” adding that “football is a team sport, now advertising is, too.”
3. Pepsi MAX
The brand uses a stunning chain reaction involving 2,014 mousetraps and 2,015 ping pong balls to mark the arrival of a new year. The mousetraps took almost 5 hours to set up, with the end result captured in a single take lasting just 15 seconds in real-time.
Although it’s a promotional video for Pepsi MAX, it has very little to do with the brand itself. The buzz generated around the video is simply because it’s a visual masterpiece that’s inherently attention-grabbing. With close to 4 million views, I’d say the stunt has certainly paid off for the brand.
“What happens when you put a girl in front of a boy and ask him to slap her?”
Domestic abuse is a longtime problem in Italy. Online Italian newspaper Fanpage.it addresses domestic violence in its video, but it features an unlikely group of people—children.
The video, a project by Ciaopeople Media Group, has been viewed over 44 million times on Facebook in just over a week. It’s heartwarming and contains a powerful, effective message addressing a serious problem. It’s the kind of video that you’re happy to see go viral.
Pet food company Freshpet teamed up with the Humane Society of Utah to create a very pet-filled holiday dinner. Its video, The Holiday Feast, features 13 dogs and one cat—all with human hands and holiday sweaters—enjoying a meal together.
What audiences may not know is that the video isn’t just about humor—it’s about humanity. Many of the dogs featured in the campaign were dogs from the Humane Society that were in need of a home. And since the launch of the successful ad, many of those dogs have been adopted.
The internet loves animals and they love animals doing silly things even more, so it’s not surprising that the campaign has generated more than 7.3 million views and 280,000 social shares. Hats off to Freshpet for the lovable video and the brand’s biggest campaign to date.
Why were they successful?
Our CEO Tod Loofbourrow says it best: “Today isn’t about the death of marketing. It’s the birth of conversation.” And that’s exactly what these branded videos do—spark conversation.