Viral video boosts Qualcomm's brand recognition

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Qualcomm's brand and products are well-known in its industry—wireless and communications equipment and technologies. However, few people realize the brand's chips power some of the most popular smartphones and tablets on the market. This past fall, the company set out to expand its marketing footprint, focusing on a broader audience, including early adopters and technology influencers in the marketplace. “It doesn't change who we are selling to, but [the focus] was more around creating awareness,” said Dan Novak, VP-global marketing, PR and communications at Qualcomm. “In the mobile space, specifically, people have not been as aware of the technology in their devices. We want people to know that what's inside does matter.” The new campaign would help that happen, he said. Qualcomm had focused on traditional b-to-b marketing and advertising, but in order to build awareness, its marketing team and its agency Denizen Company, Culver City, Calif., set out to create a viral video. The video was designed to demonstrate the thermal efficiency, battery life and performance of its Snapdragon processors, which are used in smartphones and tablets. The video, called Snapdragon Presents: The Bug Circus Generator, launched in October 2011. It shows real insects such as spiders and scorpions charging a smartphone with a Snapdragon processor inside. Aside from the Snapdragon logo, there's no mention of the product or what it is or does in the video. The 89-second video was released on YouTube and posted to a similarly named Facebook page on October 11. The video caught on quickly. Twitter was the first platform where it took on a viral quality, with more than 2,300 tweets about the video by such media as Mashable, Adweek and USA Today's Tech Twitter feed. Bloggers loved the video, too, with 425 people posting about it within the first few weeks. On Facebook, Qualcomm's page went from 5,407 likes to 16,376 likes in the span of four weeks after its October 2011 launch—a 204% increase. The video itself was shared more than 21,600 times on Facebook via the Qualcomm page, and spawned 7,564 comments. The video even made it all the way to Hollywood, with late night talk show host Conan O'Brien taking notice on his October 12 blog. Today, the video has more than 1.2 million views on YouTube, 4,300 likes, and hundreds of comments. Qualcomm is continuing to embrace and disseminate this type of fun messaging. For instance, the company did a campaign around Qualcomm Stadium—San Diego's football stadium—in December, rebranding it Snapdragon Stadium during three nationally-televised football games, including the Holiday Bowl and Poinsettia Bowl. “During the campaign, Snapdragon was the number three trending topic,” said Novak. “The engagement was getting people to go search the brand. It drove that engagement.” Also, in March, Qualcomm introduced a digital magazine called Spark. The magazine has a centerpiece video with accompanying articles. “If you look at the site it's not heavily Qualcomm branded, but its content heavily driven by us,” said Emily Kilpatrick, director of PR and associate publisher/acting editor in chief of Qualcomm Spark. Novak added: “True, [these efforts] aren't solely trying to reach the CTOs at the manufacturing companies that make the devices, but the mission is to raise awareness overall and these efforts are doing that in a more organic way.”
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