Nationwide Dead-Boy Commercial (Memes)

Memes for dead kid from Nationwide commercial in Superbowl 2015

Nationwide pulled a “Debby Downer” during last night’s Superbowl, and the ad went over like an ISIS beheading at a Circus. Here’s the commercial, titled “Boy.”

Here are a few of my favorite memes. Yours?

nationwide, dead, boy, kid, superbowl, ad, commercial, memes
Nationwide dead boy memes

Old Spice Moms Singing is Superbowl Material

Old Spice’s 2014 Superbowl ad shows moms singing and stalking their sons

Mother’s everywhere are mourning the loss of their young boys as they become a man. And in this Old Spice “Mom Song” commercial, they’re singing as they stalking their children, clutching to their cars while riding laundry bins, and showing up in odd places like beaches and cafeteria

A superbowl commercial website is calling this ad creepy, but it’s absolutely my favorite Old Spice ad since Mustafa’s “this is what your man could smell like” viral hits of 2009 and 2010. I hope the agency (still Wieden and Kennedy) runs it on the 2014 Superbowl. There’s a also a shorter alternative with a woman popping her head from a bowling ball machine.

old spice mom song lady
The first Old Spice mom in “Mom Song” looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall (remember she shouts “two weeks” as her robotic head explodes?).

My day job, when not a Viral Video Genius, is insights strategy at an advertising agency (which works in healthcare and has nothing to do with this spot). I’ve worked with P&G but not in many years.

So I like to try to imagine what “insights” drove this campaign. Here’s my guess:

  • Guys are sold on Old Spice. But moms are buying Old Spice — especially for young teens.
  • Moms see Old Spice as a brand for grownups, and they’re reluctant to let go of their boys.
  • Moms don’t want to be sold Old Spice or told they’re clingy.

So the creative challenge was likely to win over moms  by satirizing the clingy mom who won’t let their kids grow up. “You, dear shopper, do not look like Arnold in drag in Total Recall.”

Note what the spot doesn’t do: it’s not telling moms to “let go,” or “buy Old Spice to help them get the girls,” which would have the opposite of the desired effect. This just in: seems I called it right according to this AdAge piece that attributes the song to musical agency “Walker.”

What ya think? Love it like me? Freaked by it? Think it will work?

Bank of America is Your Sweet But Senile Grandmother on Twitter

momDigiday writer Saya Weissman lists Bank of America in the top-5 brand fails on Twitter, and I just had my own amusing experience with the bank. Today’s lesson for brands is simple: while it can’t hurt to integrate your customer service help desk with your social media efforts, you probably shouldn’t have customer service reps manning the Twitter voice.

I’d characterize Bank of America’s Twitter voice as “well intentioned but lacking mental clarity.” But we can’t judge or condemn the bank! It’s kinda like an aging grandmother who may not be completely lucid, but she certainly means no harm.

Weissman’s gave BOA a “fail” because the bank provided a human but robotic response (“we’d be happy to review your account“) to tweets by activist Mark Hamilton (@darthmarkh). Hamilton, of course, wasn’t exactly keen to discuss an account. He had been tweeting about being chased away from a Bank of America by cops… it seems Hamilton had been drawing an anti-foreclosure message on the sidewalk.

My recent experience with the bank was almost as strange. Yesterday I saw that Bank of America television commercial (“Flowers“) featuring a dude bringing his gal a bouquet of flowers. Inexplicably the dude decides just one flower will do, so he leaves the rest in his cab.

My reaction to the ad wasn’t quite “I need to open a Bank of America account.” I was more thinking “I wonder what the next cab passenger thought when he found a bouquet of flowers in an otherwise empty cab?” So I tweeted: “I found the rest of the dude’s flowers in a cab. Can I keep them?” I didn’t expect a response, and frankly I was pleased to have one.

Naturally, my Tweet made absolutely no sense to anyone but me. That’s quite often my MO on Twitter. So we can’t blame Bank of America for asking for account details for clarity, right (“I’m not sure I understand the question… please send me a DM with more detail.” It’s just an odd response that sounds more SIRI than human. The logic appears to be: “when in doubt, a comment about our bank is probably an inquiry to discuss an account.” Hey that’s cool, though. The next time I have a problem with my account… I’ll just tweet something like: “increase my credit by $5K.”

Bank of America on Twitter: Your confused but sweet grandmother
Bank of America on Twitter: Your confused but sweet grandmother

 

 

 

YouTube Changes: Gremlin Enters Pupil Stage

The Gremlin after his pupil stage

YouTube Changes: Phases, Winners, Losers & Gremlins

While preparing for an article for ReelSEO, I happened to be watching Gremlins (1984). I couldn’t help but see the parallels between YouTube changes and the cute and fuzzy Mogwai’s mutating into the entertaining but deadly Gremlins (pictured here). We’re about to see YouTube go “pro” in an extreme form, and that’s one of the biggest changes the video-sharing site has made in its history.

Don’t get me wrong. I like change. Even if it involves some interim puss-oozing pods during the “pupil” stage. And while I mourn for my RIP and decaying fellow independent creators (and my own channel), I am excited to see how YouTube/Google becomes a cable network despite the significant battles by studios, networks and serious content producers. It’s inevitable progress… even though I’ll miss the community (but they’re there somewhere, right?).

This post will be somewhat jumbled since my thoughts for the ReelSEO piece are still sorting themselves out. I would also value some input from people who’ve been watching YouTube’s transitions even more closely than me.

Some facts & phases of YouTube’s evolution (with considerable help from Urgo6667‘s ugly but robust SocialBlade data repository)

  • Phase 1: YouTube in the 2009-2010 placed considerable emphasis on an exclusive and select pool of YouTube Partners. These independent content creators were rewarded with preferred placement throughout the site (driving views), advanced channel features, and premium monetization (sharing the income from higher yield advertisements from brands that feared consumer-generated content).
  • Phase 2: Just as some governments reportedly destabilize other countries by introducing currency, the income caused new behaviors. As Archfiend laments in this video, the advertising income helped fuel desperate habits like faking thumbnail images, begging for comments and asking for 5 stars or thumbs up.
  • Phase 3: YouTube, once the home of free speech and cat videos, began to become increasingly commercial. Once subtle ads soon blanketed the homepage. Optional prerolls became mandatory. The lines blurred between popular content and what was “featured” (based on advertising dollars or preferential content placement for select creators).
  • Phase 4: Some prolific YouTube pioneers left the site jaded. These include Renetto, Pipistrello, and Comedian SeanBedlam (see his frustrated video posted in August announcing he’s quitting).
  • Phase 5: As a great magician distracts you from his slight of hand, YouTube introduced the NextUp program. It gave $35K checks to a new crop of YouTube Partners to fuel their content.
  • Phase 6: Now YouTube is going after cable and investing $100 million in professional content

But as 2011 progressed, YouTube changes resulted in views spread out in cryptic ways. Some YouTube channels have taken significant hits from these changes in which videos appear in powerful areas such as search results, “related videos” and “spotlights.”

I’ve shared my own sharp decline since September (in October I averaged 64% fewer views then 3 months ago), but this chart from once-popular HotForWords tells a typical story…

HotforWords decline is happening to many once-vibrant content creators

Fall of Pioneers… The decline of solo creators is not unlike the fate of Indie singers online… as viewers shifted to mainstream content that arrived late to the party. But check out some non-trivial examples:

  • TheStation, which was launched by top YouTubers, went from more than 272,000 views October 2010 to under 110,000 in October 2011.
  • Smosh, one of the most subscribed channels, is down 94% last month relative to 6 and 3 months ago. They were once the darlings of YouTube with frequent sponsors.
  • SMPFilms, an early pioneer of YouTube meetups, is down 56% from 6 months ago… getting about 63,000 views currently (the drop is almost identical to the decline of Google’s channel on YouTube). MysteryGuitarMan (MGM) took a similar hit, and so did MediocreFilms.
Obviously there are few caveats to these declines:
  • Some (but a minority) of the decline could be the creator’s diminished productivity. For instance I posted less frequently. But this seems unlikely given that MGM and Smosh are still rolling out new videos that get significant views.
  • The decline is, perhaps, simply a return to normal. Most Partners saw a dramatic “artificial” lift in monthly views that were not dependent on their new content. In effect YouTube throttled creators and then stopped.
  • More than 50% of my own views comes from related videos. Some of that might be based on an algorithm that attaches similar videos, and that’s presumably less likely to change. But YouTube may continue to “throttle” my videos as related videos, meaning I’ve got further room to drop. Here’s hoping the Wizards of Al don’t decide to beat me down again for this post.
So where’d all the views go? And why my lip all bufted up?
  • YouTube has not seen a decline in viewers, so the views are being spread out to the new “mini Partners” and other creators.
  • Here are some of the fastest-growing Channels according to SocialBlade analysis: Vevo (which took a 1900% growth relative to 3 months ago), HollywoodTV, StanfordUniversity, and PlayStation with a remarkable 500K views a month.
  • Stay tuned… working with Urgo I might publish a list of the biggest losers/gainers.
Thoughts? Observations? Insights? Bring ’em. And thanks mystery man (you know who you are).
WVFF remembers YouTube solo artists, represented by Gizmo... 2006-2011

Are Video Preroll Ads on Rise or Decline?

Yes. Video prerolls are both growing and declining. The good news for viewers is that we saw fewer prerolls. But we saw more “polite prerolls” (option to escape) in Q1 2011 as reported by AdoTube/eMarketer. Since this doesn’t include YouTube data and presumably a small sample of total online-video ad streams it does need to be taken with a grain of (Morton’s: when it rains it pours!) salt.

Viewers will appreciate fewer prerolls (as reported by AdoTube), and advertisers will enjoy more "engagement" models
This "Right Guard" ad begs for engagement. Did you notice the "close" button?

Forget prerolls, friends. The increasingly competitive ad networks have a whole sleuth of weapons in their online-video ad formats that range from the innocuous “polite pre-roll,” to a bit more ominous names like in-stream takeover, ad selector, in-stream skin, inside-out roll, interactive overlay, video-in-video, interactive gaming overlay, data entry and capture, branded player, over the top, and beyond stream. I believe that Seroquel example, placing a “reminder” ad without “fair balance” adjacent to depression content is (shhh) a violation of FDA guidelines, but I digress. ANY of these ad-format names beats the “fat boy” branded by Point Roll.

Take a look at some of the bold “engagement” formats presented in AdoTube’s ad-format gallery and you’ll see why viewers are, according to eMarketer, about 30% likely to engage in an ad… even when not forced (hence the term “polite”). You’ll also see that it’s often not clear there’s an opt-out available.

The eMarketer report, titled “Options for Online Video Ad Viewers Leads to Higher Engagement” is encouraging. With online video being one of the leading (if not #1) fastest-growing portion of a marketer’s “media mix,” advertisers will want and expect formats that achieve their goals: from branding to engagement. This chart is important to viewers because it shows that “cost per impression” remains the dominant percent of spending. In “cost per impression” (often called CPM, or cost-per-thousand), the advertiser simply pays a few bucks to reach 1,000 eyeballs without much accountability.

"Cost per impression" still leads, but more interactive "engagement" ad formats are increasing (Brightroll Data)

While few of us welcome more aggressive online-ads, this also substantiates a business model to fuel the medium’s growth. While it’s easy to complain about intrusive ads (especially as the pendulum seemed to swing dangerously to the advertiser’s benefit in the past year), it’s a vital element to online-video’s maturity. If the advertisers don’t get what they need, friends, we won’t be seeing our content for free.

There are three ways to increase “engagements” in this online-video advertising medium, and I’ll list them from best to worst in order of sustainability: novelty, creative and targeting:

  1. Novelty: A new ad format generally enjoys a period of high engagement that’s deceptively high. We’re curious about what the ad does, and may not realize we’re engaging, so it’s not necessarily suggestive of purchase intent. In early February, a debut YouTube customer of YouTube’s “skip this ad in x second” preroll told ClickZ he was seeing a 30% engagement rate. That’s far higher than we’ll see as a norm, and a tribute to the novelty effect.
  2. Creative: Great creative always wins, and this is a fairly enduring trait. While overall engagement might slip when we’re “numb” to an ad format (like monkey-shooting banner ads, or even the “InVid” format that creeps up on YouTube… the best creative wins the best attention, engagement and results.
  3. Targeting: Ultimately the most sustainable and important characteristic of a high-engagement online-video ad is its ability to reach the right target. I can engage in a tampon ad, but it’s not going to sell more maxi’s. But if I get a rich-media ad over (or adjacent) to my valued content, then we’ve got a win-win-win (advertiser, publisher, viewer). That’s where we can expect Google/YouTube to be better in the long haul, but it appears the sophisticated advertiser networks are ahead. These ad networks marry data from a variety of sources to serve ads invisibly on the videos across a variety of websites.

So what are the takeaways to advertisers, video sites and us viewers?

  • First, the options available to advertisers means that online-video ads will begin to get as aggressive as other forms of interactive ads. This has positive and negative effects, but as long as it’s targeted it’s sustainable.
  • YouTube, which reports very little about its ad performance, has not radically departed from its debut formats, with the exception of breaking its early commitment to make pre-rolls optional. Now most pre-rolls are mandatory, but we can opt-out of some after a few seconds (at which point the “opt-out” means the advertiser pays YouTube and the creator less).
  • Ads are a vital cost-offset for those of us that have been enjoying free video content for 5 years and would like that to continue without avoid pesky Hulu-like subscription models (unless a “value ad” bonus to the cable contract, assuming we haven’t “cut chord.”).
  • And finally, Morton’s salt can be trusted. Trusted I say.

 

YouTube Takes Roadblocks, Takeovers and Fat Boys To Yahoo Level

YouTube puts Yahoo and even About.com for the most intrusive ad campaign in the history of online-video advertising: Kung Fu Panda 2.

While it’s not exactly consistent with Google’s ad model (subtle and relevant) it wins a few points for creativity. And hey… What would YOU do to market this Dreamworks sequel?

http://mashable.com/2011/05/11/kung-fu-panda-2-youtube/

Double Dream Hands Guy on Sprint Ads

Double Dream Hands Guys on Sprint Ad

Who’s that guy in the green shirt dancing in Sprint ads? Well you heard about “double dream hands” guy here first, right? (Heck I even own one of his yellow shirts).

Now he’s back with “double dream feet,” which appearance in a Sprint television ad (and, above, as repurposed on YouTube). He’s John Jacobson, and his new YouTube channel is here.

Double Dream Hands Guy is Back With Double Dream Feet (and Sprint Ad)

 

 

The President’s Speech (TelePrompTer Video Satire of King’s Speech)

The White House Correspondents’ Association dinner is a historic break from the tension between the White House and the media covering it. This year President Barack Obama joked about a sequel to the film the King’s Speech. Here’s the video that was shared, and it’s a clever self-deprecating parody of the film, and shows rare out takes of the president’s recorded addresses.

When I worked at Georgetown, President Clinton (an alumnus) sent some video footage to us for an event, and there were a number of outtakes they included. I wonder what I might have done with those had YouTube existed in the early 1990s.