Already five years ago Heineken unveiled a common global tag line (‘one brew, many counries’) which was supposed to sell its brand across borders and cultures. Now, Heineken is making a come back with a new international tag line that ‘opens your world’. The new viral campaign features 2010’s second best man a man could be after P&G’s Isaiah Mustafa and is about to reach 200.000 hits by today. This is quite remarkable as the spot has been uploaded on the 17th this month whereas the spot started to become popular only yesterday.

I believe that the fast success heavily piggybacks on previous spots such as Heineken’s Walk in Fridge and Walking Fridge. The brand has established an image as a successful repeat offender (check this recent and interesting read from Craig Daitch). In the collective brain of the online population Heineken is now associated to engaging advertising which the consumer is actively looking for. The new consumer is not a Pavlov’s dog any more that is one way educated by TV. Instead, the online consumer has turned into a cat, choosing who she wants to engage with and for how long. Still, she knows where to get the good food and comes back to it.

Online video has got the potential to leverage emotions across the world. This is why in 2005, when online video was not that potent yet, Heineken wasn’t quite successful with its international approach but now is going to open a new world in its internationally unifying marketing efforts. A great exemplary ending for the year 2010 forecasting what 2011 will be all about for international marketers.


Virals to watch: “I has it”.

Posted: October 13, 2010 by Alexander Nick in Uncategorized

Investment bankers tell you which stocks to buy. We will tell you which videos to watch.

Anyhow, let us start with this bold prediction: 230.000 views at the moment, millions to come.

Emotional Advertising.

Posted: October 4, 2010 by Alexander Nick in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

There have been a few major trends when it comes to the content of videos ads going: The usual suspects usually were cute animals, even cuter babies, humor and discussion stirring fake videos which created plenty of buzz spreading the ads around the globe. Three ads from Thailand though seem to hint to a new trend: Emotional advertising.

You might have seen before this Pantene commercial from Thailand which tells the heartwarming story of a deaf girl which competes against an evil pianist in a music competition. It is very interesting how the product benefit of ‘shine’ is communicated in the spot. P&G’s marketers have done a tremendous job connect the spot which makes the viewer to voluntarily expose herself to the 4 minutes long commercial. The spot has been watched more than 4million time, mainly by English speakers (48%) but also by Chinese speaking (28%) users.

One of the rising stars in the same category is the insurance company Thailife. Right now, 2 older spots are trending and might reach a similar amount of views. One ad tells the sad and heartwarming story of a girl suffering from final-stage leukemia who is asked by her boyfriend to marry him. The other ad is about a mother which urges doctors to deliver her baby early so that her dying husband may hold her before he passes away.

No matter if this trend is going to continue it shows that in our globally connected world advertising is still prone to different cultural contexts. Using similar stories for the purpose of advertising would be in most of Europe culturally unacceptable. Still, most of the views originate from English speaking users (the ‘marry me video is mainly viewed by English speaking audience (70%), only 9% of the viewers are from Indonesia and 16% speak Chinese). Often, Asian societies are a very difficult terrain for Western marketers who are unaware of local customs. Rather than just learning local cultural differences for crafting effective advertising messages for local consumers, we should try to adopt the best strategies and transfer them to test them out with Western and global audiences.

Today, YouTube is more than just a streaming service for watching videos online. The video site has become a social platform where users were exchange opinions. Also, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world (after Google and before Yahoo). As a result more and more brands are trying to find creative ways in connect with their target groups and engage with their audience.

French connection, a UK based fashion retailer with stores around the globe, has found an inspiring approach morphing YouTube, which traditional has been a branding medium, to a direct response medium with direct impact on its ROI. French Connection runs a YouTube channel named ‘YouTique’, basically an online shop within YouTube. Online shoppers can browse different videos in which Louise Roe, a stylist, presents items and accessories that can be bought via the external annotation feature (only available to selected YouTube advertisers). By clicking on an item in the video the viewer gets directly taken the selected item on French Connection’s online shop. The videos also make use of internal annotations (available to everyone) which direct the user to a series of stylist videos such as ‘How to shine on a night’ out or ‘How to sparkle at a wedding.’

Major luxury brands have traditionally been hesitant to sell their items online as they want to make sure that their customers are exposed to controlled shopping experience. The value of luxury goods to the consumer is more than just the item but also the service which the consumer gets within the store when purchasing. I believe that this type of shopping format can be taken as a starting point for luxury brands which want to create a comparable in store experience online.

Recently, AXA, the French global insurance group, launched a quite innovative ad format in Belgium. The print ad displays a strange accident and invites the user to type in the URL in his Iphone and place it on the ad to find out what happened. Its a smart way to enhance traditional print advertising with a simple mobile solution.

This innovative approach to enhance traditional print advertising is quite interesting and should be replicated as it allows to communicate longer and complex messages in an more engaging way. Moreover, this format obviously should generate a longer lasting effect on recall.

On the other hand, AXA did some evident mistakes. Today, there are more Android phones than Iphones sold in Europe. Excluding the former ones is probably a bad idea. Second, a simple 2 dimensional bar-code of which the user takes a picture taking him to the landing page where the video is displayed is a way quicker solution. Apart from that: Way to go AXA! Who would have thought that insurance marketing can be that sexy?! We expect to see more like this with the ongoing dissemination of latest generation smart-phones.

Yesterday, you probably noticed that the google logo (also called “doodle”) was out of the ordinary. It consisted out of several dots, which literally exploded when the user hovered with his mouse over it. A reason or explanation was not given why google was doing that. A official hint though was given that something big is coming. As a result wild speculation started. For instance the German tech website expected the launch of a new social network, which of course was not true. A few minutes ago, the secret was finally revealed:

Google launches google instant. It is a new search enhancement that shows results as you type, allowing scanning a results page while you type.

Why is google doing that? Well, it saves time. The average user takes more than 9 seconds to enter a search term. On average google instant saves 2-5 seconds per search.

So why I am telling you this? This is a marketing blog, right? Well here comes the news which is actually interesting for you as a marketer:

Impressions for text ads on google are not what they used to be anymore.

Until now, google instant an impression was counted when the user hit enter, clicked on search or selected a prediction in the search field. Now, this is different. As soon as a user pauses for 3 seconds or longer while entering search queries an impression for an text ad will be counted. Also if a user clicks on a search results this counts instantly as an impression for all text ads on that search page.

Google expects performance metrics to fluctuate as a result of Instant and we encourage you to monitor post-launch metrics and adjust accordingly. Your quality score will not be impacted though.

Social media, internet word of mouth, video sharing portals…….all quantum-shift enablers of communication for brands. The most amazing thing to me is that big brands (like P&G’s Old Spice as outlined in Alex’s last post) and little brands have an equal shot at breaking it big.

Pepsi’s recent viral video for the Chinese market (launched on Youku – China’s YouTube) has fizzled thus far, generating about 40 views per day (1071 views over 1 month). The creative is pretty hilarious…whether you are aware the spot is playing off of the Fight Club concept or not. Apparently this spot has not yet hit Chinese TV, and I am confused as to why Pepsi so blatantly filmed this in a brand-heavy TV style 30 second spot as opposed to other viral spots which utilize unique formats and/or subtle branding. Perhaps this is a TV spot that didn’t qualify for on-air status and is being recycled online, but I doubt that given the quality of the creative. I think this spot might be an example of a viral that is a little too forced on the branding and not unique enough to explode virally without any help. Had Pepsi promoted the viral more aggressively, perhaps through paid placements on Youku and Tudou video portals to get it rolling, it might have performed better.

The second viral I want to discuss is from a little-known American agricultural chemical company that has its even lesser-known Chinese brand named Jinkela. This viral exploded for them and has averaged about 3,000 views per day (2.1 million views over 2 years), its super low budget but hilarious in a very smart way. If you take a look at the ad (in Mandarin with no English subtitles, sorry), its pretty funny even not understanding what they are saying…but if you are a Mandarin speaker the dialogue is off the richter scale in terms of humour, execution, rhyming, punning, etc. This viral worked while the Pepsi one did not because its humour is delivered in an incredibly unique way. Who the hell has ever seen a black guy, a white guy, and a Chinese guy with a Hitler mustache rhyming off puns like Bill Shakespeare while scrambling to get their hands on agricultural chemicals? Unreal. What would be very interesting to see in this case are the sales results…did Jinkela’s target market even see this thing?

Finally, the major disadvantage for small brands vs. large brands is that once you do have a viral home run on your hands, how do you maintain the awareness? Viral concepts are oftentimes one-off executions (P&G’s Old Spice has retired the Man-on-a-Horse viral already) and unless you have the coffers and skills of a P&G to use traditional media to maintain this newfound awareness level…you have to rely on praying to discover an additional effective viral vehicle or just leave it as a one time sales booster.