On NBC Today Show… this morning. maybe.

Greetings boys, girls and willvideoforfooders!
I’m your substitute, I mean “GuestOfNalts (.)” today 🙂

As you know this self proclamied viral video genius, Kevin ‘Nalts’ Nalty, started talking to himself early on, as we see in several of his more delightful films: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, AND here!

WHEEW!

Kevin has developed a number of personalities, alter egos and of course clones over the years. This is me here in my pre-natal state along with my other clone brothers and sisters. And here is the first generation of a Nalts’ Clone. As you might have guessed he didn’t quite make it. Unfortunately, he was unable to grasp the finer points and magic of editing and fell into a very tragic incident involving a can, the local trash collector and the very large trash collector’s truck. Since, much progress has been made and as you can rightly read I am one of the current generation ‘CloneofNatls’. However, we do prefer being called ‘Spawnsof Nalts’. We have advanced far more than the initial copy, even though we still titter on lame.

As a copy and a real live SpawnofNalts it is my position to make sure that anything Nalts does or thinks when indisposed makes its way to the beautiful eyes of his darling readers, fans, lurkers and all the rest of you, ASAP!

Tomorrow (July 9), on NBC’s Today show in a segment called “Frustrated Fliers.” The interview was shot in NYC yesterday and prompted by “USAIR Sucks” and not “Crawling Through Airport.” See if you can spot the original Nalts at the airport. If not, enjoy these little vignettes to make up for the possibility of a brown out we predicted in NYC. If you missed it because you just couldn’t drag your lazy ass out of bed before 11am, you know who you are, and barring some possible genetic or technical malfunction, me and all the other SpawnsofNalts will try our best to accommodate Today the day after yesterday or sooner right here!

Oh, and bring a clothes pin!

Nalts at the airport Today!

Be glad smell-a-vision never took off!

END TRANSMISSION

Kevin is a poopie head

!

discuss!

Pratfall Spices Up Viral-Video Panel

Guy falls on stage during panel about viral videoSo I took a deliberate spill while hosting a panel at Streaming Media East called “Creating and Promoting Amateur Videos.” Paul Kontonis, CEO of For Your Imagination, screamed like a teenage girl, but was one of few people that realized it was a joke.

The fall is 1 minutes and 9 seconds in. Warning: Per my YouTube video today explaining this, when you do a pratfall that people think is real, you’ve backed yourself into a corner. If you say “I was just kidding,” you simple make it look like you’re saving face. So I didn’t bother to explain.

You actually may want to watch more of this video because it explores what makes a video viral, and how marketers and amateurs can promote their video using online video sites and blogs. It was an all-star cast (except me): Paul Kontonis, CEO, Co-Founder, For Your Imagination; J. Crowley, Founder, Black20; Ben Relles, Founder and CEO, BarelyPolitical.com (the guy who created Obama Girl); and Kip “Kipkay” Kedersha, Viral Video Producer, Metacafe Top Producer.Here are the rest of the Streaming Media Videos, including a session called “Young People’s Attitudes Toward Online Video,” which includes Dylan of Dylan’s Couch (CinemaFreaks on YouTube). And be sure to comment on the “For Your Imagination” blog. Something like “Nalts is a genius. I can’t believe you signed Xgobobeanx and not him.” And thanks to Jennifer and TubeMogul.com for help embedding this (I finally installed a “Raw HTML” WordPress plug-in so I can insert widget thingies and other Web 4.0 things).

Viral Video YouTube Moshup in Weezer’s “Pork & Beans” Music Video

Weezer Pork and Beans Viral Video MontageSome time ago, we were watching Weezer write a song with his audience on YouTube. His blog even mentioned my little post, resulting in fan traffic that oddly didn’t assault me for making fun of his unibrow.

Well now Weezer’s “Pork and Beans” music video has paid even greater homage to YouTube, and has garnered more than 2 million views in the past few days (and probably well more by the time you read this). It showcases the band performing “Pork and Beans,” alongside Chris Crocker, Mentos’ EepyBird, and even on the face of Dramatic Gopher.

The lyrics are below, and the song contains a rather interesting message about being yourself instead of worrying about what others think. I can only hope the line “Timbaland knows the way to reach the top of the charts” is sarcasm, and that Weezer is being slightly ironic by moshing itself with viral-video cliches, while singing such lyrics as “I don’t give a hoot what you think” and “I’m finally dandy with the me inside.” I’m sure any of the viral “weblebrities” that participated in the May production of this music video can attest to the soul-sucking emptiness of the 14 minutes of viral fame.

Parenthetically, you mighta heard about Weezer’s YouTube channel here on WVFF, but even the smaller, less progressive blogs are finally catching on. It’s even getting mentioned by little bitty bloggers like ValleyWag (which once named me one of the hottest guys of the Internet). But let me tell you, “I don’t give a hoot what they think” because I’m “tickled pink” when I look in the mirror (unless it’s a full length one).

Here’s Valleyway’s nice rundown of all of the viral sensatinos that “Pork and Beans” showcases, from “Numa Numa Kid” to “Charlie the Unicorn.” From “Leave Britney Alone” to “Peanut Butter Jelly Time.” And here’s Weezer.com’s announcement of it:

Shot May 7-10 in North Hollywood, CA, this video features a cast of, well, many! And what a cast! An amazing group of well known ‘Youtube celebs’ was tracked down and flown in so they could do their thing(s) with the Weezer men. Its pretty much impossible to properly describe what went down, so just have a look!

If you can’t recognize more than 75% of these clips, friends, then go to your room and start surfing YouTube’s “most watched” videos immediately. Start with the Weezer references, so you can flex your viral muscle by explaining clips of “Pork and Beans” to your less virally inclined buds and family members on Memorial Day.

I’ve even included the lyrics below, in case you want to sing along like Zack Scott (who has been tracking this closely, as the biggest viral video junkie I know who also is clinically obsessed with Weezer).

A final word. Clever folks, those Weezers. Their hardcore fans will argue the band has never “jumped the shark,” but if they had… what an interesting way to sail behind the collective wind of of other motorcycles zooming like Fonzie over netted sharks (see Happy Days “jump the shark” video, thanks to Mary Quickbowlmana). But at the same time, serving up a meaninfull message about being happy inside instead of through the eyes of fickle fans.

Pork and Beans lyrics:
They say I need some Rogaine (paid promotion?) to put in my hair
Work it out at the gym to fit my underwear
Oakley makes the shades (paid promotion?) that transform a tool
You’d hate for the kids to think, that you lost your cool (self referential?)

I’mma do the things that I wanna do
I ain’t got a thing to prove to you
I’ll eat my candy with the pork and beans
Excuse my manners if I make a scene
I ain’t gonna wear the clothes that you like
I’m finally dandy with the me inside (good, guys- I am the soul behnid the unibrow)
One look in the mirror and I’m tickled pink
I don’t give a hoot about what you think

Everyone likes to dance to a happy song
(Hey, hey) With a catchy chorus and beat so they can sing along
(Hey, hey) Timbaland knows the way to reach the top of the charts
Maybe if I work with him I can perfect the art

I’mma do the things that I wanna do
I ain’t got a thing to prove to you
I’ll eat my candy with the pork and beans (which has more sugar than candy)
Excuse my manners if I make a scene
I ain’t gonna wear the clothes that you like
I’m finally dandy with the me inside
One look in the mirror and I’m tickled pink
I don’t give a hoot about what you think
No I don’t care I don’t care

I’mma do the things that I wanna do
I ain’t got a thing to prove to you
I’ll eat my candy with the pork and beans
Excuse my manners if I make a scene
I ain’t gonna wear the clothes that you like
I’m finally dandy with the me inside
One look in the mirror and I’m tickled pink
I don’t give a hoot about what you think
Totally different?

The Advertising Agency’s Five Stages of “Online Video” Grief

grief.jpgRemember how major advertising agencies handled the Internet? Let’s recap their 5 stages of grief:

  1. Denial: The web is not a big deal. It’s a fad. Let the little Internet agencies form. We’re not losing much in fees.
  2. Anger: Who’s coming to our monthly all agency day? The Internet agency? First the Public Relations agency, and now this? Well this much is true: they’re not sitting near the client at lunch.
  3. Bargaining: We have an Internet division too. It’s one guy, but he knows what RSS stands for.
  4. Depression: We need to reinvent ourselves. Fire someone. Anyone.
  5. Acceptance: Let’s buy an Internet agency.

But the Internet agencies did the same thing when it came to paid search. So it’s bad all over.

Now, dear Madison Avenue, I will predict your five stages of dealing with online video. Fortunately, you have some progressive chap that’s smart enough to read WillVideoForFood, so you might have the forethought to skip a stage or two.

  1. Denial: Online video is a fad. Big TV is still the key to awareness.
  2. Anger: What the heck happened to general awareness? Why is some of our work going to small online-video agencies and amateur producers? We must kill them.
  3. Bargaining: We have an online video guy. He has a MySpace and a YouTube account. We don’t let him out much.
  4. Depression: We need to change our model. Fire someone. Anyone.
  5. Acceptance: Let’s buy a small production house or partner with one.

I could see the look of disdain and fear in the eyes of the agency attendees when I spoke at AdTech last week about doing Mentos ads for $2-$5,000. Then I reminded them (partially to avoid getting booed off the stage) of some good news for agencies.

We consumers aren’t consuming less. We’re just breaking into content-consumption niches and online communities that shape our thinking and purchase decisions. That actually creates a need for more content, and that can make an agency fees actually grow.

popular youtubersI also cautioned that the model I used for Mentos isn’t scalable. As an amateur videographer I dealt directly with the product director. That’s not scalable. For a brand to develop creative content for a variety of different online audiences and channels, the product team needs to hire a variety of lower cost creators. Twelve amateurs instead of a giant “one size fits all” television ad with exotic models and expensive shoots in Hawaii? That creates more — not less — of a need for an agency.

So how can your big agency stay ahead of this and avoid the pain you felt when the Internet and paid search became important? It’s as simple as five different kinda steps:

  1. Pay attention to social media, industry changes and viral videos that help market. There’s a lot you can learn from positive and negative example. If you catch your agency staff watching online videos at work, don’t stop them (unless it’s porn). Find out what they’re watching and why.
  2. Hire someone who understands this medium. At first it might not feel like headcount you can justify, and you may want to find a subcontractor or consultant. But as a product director myself (yeah I’ve got a day job) I’m going to look elsewhere if I don’t believe your agency has a clue about the impact of online video. Nothing makes me giggle like an agency that boasts that they are pioneers because they made a brand page on MySpace or Friendster, or had a viral video that got viewed ten thousand times.
  3. Begin to experiment with lower cost and adaptive forms of video content. The next time you do that “big shoot,” get some footage you can use in other forms. It could be as simple as footage from a decent high definition camera, but be sure to arrange the rights with your models and the shoot’s director (who will probably grow quite irate at this prospect).
  4. Pitch your client on doing something experimental online — before they find someone else with a more robust and compelling story. Don’t stop with online-video ads — try creating entertaining content that subtly markets. There is no shortage of inventory for paid promotion, but that’s just one arrow in your online-video quiver.
  5. Partner with amateurs who have existing audiences and online “street cred,” and they’ll keep you from doing anything that will be repulsive to skeptical online viewers who have ADHD and love the power of stopping ads and lambasting blatant promotion. If you’re brave, approach some online-video “weblebrities,” (like top YouTubers or amateurs that have had success on other sites). This is a lot of work, so if you want a more turnkey approach hire a specialist to manage it (xlntads, for example, is brokering relationships between big brands and promising amateurs).

We’re approaching the tipping point for a fantastic time in the evolution of media consumption!

computer toiletConsumers are in control, but advertising is the currency because we consumers are too cheap to pay. Reality television and online video is exploding because we’re tired of perfection: scripted shows, polished ads, good looking models. We want to see people like us, and content that speaks to us individually. Advertisers can help pave the road, or wait until it’s built and buy billboards along the highway. What’s your agency going to do?

Promoting Your Brand With Viral Video

I debated heavily before posting this, because this blog is supposed to be a review of the fun world of viral video and marketing (not an advertisement for my services). That being said, I think some of you readers may be interested in how I work with sponsors.

As you know, I advocate that brands participate in consumer-generated media, but many have invested hundreds of thousands, and have seen little in return. Here’s a presentation I recently gave for some clients of Atlanta-based interactive agency, Spunlogic. It takes you through a number of ways your brand can enter this space cost efficiently — from contests to partnering with known creators.

Background

Earlier this summer, I read The Secret. The big idea (while not being entirely new) is that you can attract things you want, if you ask for something and have an unwavering belief that it can happen. My day job as a Marketing Director pays well, but we live out of our means. So I decided to pursue an additional $4-$5,000 a month. And it’s been working. I’ve created several videos through XLNTAds and here’s a recent example for GPSManiac (it has nearly 40,000 views and was rated among the top videos of the day when it posted). I’m working on scheduling some promotional workshops because I believe most agencies and brands are still in the dark ages in this arena. October happens to be a slower month because a few of my promotional videos have been delayed to November and December.

So this month, I’m offering a “sale” for custom entertainment/promotional videos.

nalts-product-placement.jpgYou can promote your product or service for $2,000 flat fee (I’ve charged $1,500-$5,000). You’ll get a video you own for use on your own website, and a guarantee of no less than 20,000 views via my channels (I’m able to do that primarily thanks to YouTube). I perhaps should charge a higher premium because these are implied endorsements, and I don’t ever want to fatigue my kind, devoted viewers. But I enjoy making them and getting additional income. Two thousand dollars comes to no more than a dime a view, or $20 CPM (cost per thousand), which is the price YouTube charges for its new “InVideo” ads that appear briefly in the first 10 seconds of the video.

I hope you can appreciate that I tend to be selective about the brands I promote. I typically avoid unknown startups, brands that don’t fit my personality, or anything to do with healthcare marketing (since that’s a conflict of interest). My favorite sponsor is Mentos (see Mentos example that they ran as an ad on Google Video and Break) because they are very hands off the creative and it’s a great brand. If you’re interested, please send a note to kevinnalts at gmail.com with the subject header “PROMOTIONAL VIDEO.” That ensures it gets my attention among the myriad of spam I get.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You present your brand’s goal, and any ideas you have. GPSManiac actually provided a script for this video (What GPS Thinks), but typically I create the concept and script.
  2. I brainstorm some ideas (3-12), and you decide what makes sense. For this to work, the video has to be entertaining first. Promotion needs to be subtle. Otherwise it won’t get views or good ratings. Since I’ve made more than 500 short videos and work in marketing, I can usually find a good intersection between promotion and entertainment.
  3. Once we settle on an idea, we flesh it out via an outline. Only when that’s approved by the sponsor will I shoot footage.
  4. I edit a draft (usually 1-3 minutes with a promotional message at the end and links to your site). You can make up to 3 revisions of the video. Ultimately I won’t post the video until we both believe it’s funny and achieves your marketing goal.
  5. I’m always transparent when it’s a promotional video. People think I do “product placement,” but I’ve never been paid by a sponsor for subtly incorporating their brand. It’s always clear if it’s a promotion.
  6. I upload the video to YouTube, and several other sites. I track the views and ensure that you achieve at least 20,000 views (but often more). GPS Maniac is using the video referenced above on its own, and paid less than a nickel a view via my channels. Not a bad deal.
  7. Note that promotional videos have limitations. They’re good for brand building, but they need to be entertaining since viewers will skip them or give them poor ratings otherwise. They also don’t typically result in instant conversion, so they aren’t yet a good direct-marketing play. I’ve found that a small (under 5%) number of viewers will actually visit the site mentioned, but I’m working on ways to drive that up. I’ve created a microsite for a client called “Mr. Complicated,” that I think will result in more visits from a video I’m currently editing.

As I’ve always said, anyone can get into this space. It helps when you have a sizable audience (I’m fortunate to have large following via YouTube) because that increases the views to your videos. At the same time, I have to walk a careful balance, because I never want to violate the trust of my viewers or promote so frequently that they stop watching.

I know some of my fellow YouTubers have also begun to do promotional videos (see Charles Trippy’s recent video which has already been viewed more than 75K times), and some have charged more or less. A few are new at this, and are happy to promote a fun brand in exchange for free product.

I look forward to your feedback. Do you think this is a fair deal? Any advice about ensuring brands meet their goals without compromising viewers experience? I want to hear from you. We’re still working things out on the WillVideoForFood forum, but that will eventually be a place we can compare and debate approaches.

EepyBird Planning Mentos & Diet Coke Geyser in NYC on Saturday (7.7.7)

Thanks to help from a friend at Coke, the Atlanta-based company will be turning out at the NYC Meetup with EepyBird (the duo made famous for their elaborate displays of Mentos & Coke fountains. They will showcase a geyser display at about 1:30 EST at Washington Park Square (near NYU). It’s part of a number of different informal events that will roll out in the coming days. Visit www.youtubemeetup.com for more details. You can also call 866-YTMEETS to reach people and find out where the crowd has landed.

I Made Trevor the Mentos Intern Bark

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnMJTJJVahs]

In another online-video first, Mentos tears down the entire wall between its brand and its customers. And they bestow the dipomacy post to Trevor the intern. The Mentos Intern is available for live discussion, tasks and constant webcam.

I’m biased as someone lucky enough to have them sponsoring my vids, but this is remarkable marketing. A Purple Cow.

I made Trevor bark in the above video. Too bad the Snapz wasn’t grabbing the sound.

Mentos Geyser Reaches Record Heights

After record views with EepyBird’s Mentos Geysers, the candy is reaching new beights.

A Guiness record apparently. “Mentos Madness” was produced by Dustin Dow, Glenn Hartong, Michael E. Keating and Andy Knight. Says the description on the video:

It wasn’t “500 bottles of pop on the mall, 500 bottles of pop …” It was 504 bottles of Diet Coke on Fountain Square on Thursday. Participants drop Mentos candies into the pop, creating geysers and setting a world record.

For photos see GetFreshWithMentos.