Advertising Week 2006

All Eyes on Viral Video (at Least With the Under-25 Set)

Advertising Week Session Dissects the Burgeoning Ad Trend

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- TV watching, moviegoing and music listening all took a backseat to the internet for Americans under 25 this year. So it's no surprise the viral video has made such a strong impact on the ad industry in recent months.
Smirnoff's 'Tea Partay' spot, for example, garnered 1.3 million YouTube views in its first two months.
Smirnoff's 'Tea Partay' spot, for example, garnered 1.3 million YouTube views in its first two months.

Leo Burnett Worldwide, Contagious magazine and Campfire Media hosted "Wildfire: Ideas That Spread and Sell," a veritable film festival for the emerging genre at Tribeca Cinemas yesterday, featuring clips and stats about key moments in viral history from 2006.

YouTube's 'magic number'
For a traditional ad campaign, generating millions of dollars in retail sales of the product is the No. 1 goal. For a viral campaign, 1 million YouTube views is the "magic number," said Paul Kemp-Robertson, editorial director at Contagious. Smirnoff's "Tea Partay" spot, for example, garnered 1.3 million YouTube views in its first two months. The clip was a dead-on spoof of hip-hop videos, featuring an all-rapping, sweater-and-polo-clad cast of Martha's Vineyard WASPs.

It is out-of-the-box, irreverent approaches to marketing that are catching on with consumers and generating the most of what drives today's ad campaigns: word-of-mouth. "The beauty is if you understand the audience, you're guaranteed to see them responding," Mr. Kemp-Robertson said. "People enjoy content when it's speaking to them."

Success with the under-25 set
Recent examples from ABC Family's "Schooled" promo, McDonald's sundial billboard in Chicago and Australia's Lynx Jet campaign for Unilever's Jet body spray were all huge successes aimed at the under-25 set. Adidas' recent series of "Adicolor" shorts has also generated internet interest, including director Roman Coppola's animated "Red."

"This is the most energetic, most exciting time to be in this industry," Mr. Kemp-Robertson said. "The challenge now will be to make brands more independent, more confident and definitely more contagious."
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