Recently, I was sent an email with a link to a YouTube video titled “NSFW. A hunter shoots a bear!”. You may be asking yourself now, what does this have to do with marketing? Well, this was no ordinary video. It was an extremely creative interactive video that may just revolutionize the word of advertising.
The interactive video was created by Buzzman, a French ad agency, on behalf of their client Tipp-Ex (a brand of correction fluid sold in Europe) which is owned by BIC. In it, you watch as a hunter discovers a bear in his tent. The hunter pulls out a gun to defend himself but is unable to pull the trigger, so he asks you, the viewer, to change the title of this story. He grabs the Tipp-Ex from the sidebar of the YouTube player and whites-out the word “shoots” and asks you to type in a new word – the result is one of many hilarious scenarios.
In a very short time, this video became a viral sensation resulting in millions of “views” on YouTube. According to BIC’s official website, in less than 5 days the video was viewed more than 4 million times in over 200 countries. In addition, individuals spent on average 6 minutes interacting with the campaign as they made more than 15 keyword requests per visit. On the surface these are amazing numbers yet it left me thinking about the following:
- Was there a strong enough call to action? There are no links that drive website traffic to an information or sales page. There is a link to a Facebook page however there is no call to action on that page and it contains limited information. It is not until halfway through the second phase of the ad that individuals are given the option to share this experience with their friends via email, Facebook or Twitter. It is obvious from the number of “views” that the share functionality was a success, but was this enough to impact the bottom line?
- Will people remember the product behind the ad? There is no questioning the fact that this advertisement reached a very large audience, but did it leave an impression? Since there was no immediate sales call to action, one must assume the intention was to increase brand exposure and recognition. Were they successful? In my opinion, yes (from a brand exposure perspective) and no (from a brand recognition perspective).
Missed Opportunities From the Tipp-Ex Viral Campaign
1) It is surprising to me that BIC would have approved the campaign without any call to action. Even something as simple as a link to their corporate website or a “where to buy” page would have been sufficient
2) The user is so focused on interacting with the video that the brand gets lots along the way. While the visual of the hunter whiting-out the word “shoots” is cool, it plays such a small part in the overall experience. In addition, the banner ad to the right of the video player is nothing more than white-noise (you cannot even click on it). I watched the video about 12 hours ago before starting to write this post and I could not remember the brand name of the product. I recalled it was for a white-out product but had to search on “hunter vs. bear” when researching for this article. I am willing to bet that the majority of viewers will forget the brand name as well. Meaning that Buzzman and Tipp-Ex / BIC were successful in creating an ad that generated tremendous free exposure yet it failed to help the consumer recall the brand behind the campaign.
3) In addition, it was slightly disappointing to see that when you search on “Tipp-Ex” the Google results are filled with blog posts (just like this one) and no results for an official website. They had to assume that the advertisement would increase internet searches for the brand keywords. Below is a look at a Google Trends report that shows the significant spike in searches for the keyword “tippex” immediately following the launch of this campaign.
Why not optimize the BIC website so that it organically ranks on the 1st page of search researches for the brand term “Tipp-Ex”. At the very least, they should be running a paid search campaign to support the program. Something like the following:
3 Campaigns That Tipp-Ex Should Have Examined Before Launching
Burger King’s Subservient Chicken – This campaign was designed to build awareness for Burger King’s TenderCrisp sandwich and capitalized on the company’s established slogan, “Have It Your Way. Unlike the hunter and bear, the chicken in this ad has a direct connection with the product being promoted. In addition the video was hosted on a Burger King micro-site with actionable links. The brand promise (“Get Chicken Just the Way You Like It”) was also included as individuals were instructed to tell the chicken what to do.
Old Spice Viral Videos – The concept was simple. The Old Spice Guy used short YouTube videos to respond to questions and comments that people submitted to this fictional character. The reason why this worked was 1) the Old Spice Guy was an established brand spokesman (something the Tipp-Ex ad is missing) 2) they were funny.
OfficeMax’s Elfyourself – Over the years this campaign has become a holiday staple and provides a fun way for consumers to interact with the brand. The micro-site includes links to the OfficeMax’s official website and allows users to buy customized mugs, cards and/or mousepads with your image on it – leaving a lasting impression.
From a creative standpoint this advertisement was highly innovative and I am sure it will win numerous design awards but I ask you, does a viral marketing video without a strong call to action make a sound? If your goal is brand awareness, is measuring pageviews and “mentions” enough or should we be thinking about long-term metrics such as brand recognition?
Author: Brian Rice