Possessed Baby Stroller Prank: Screamingly Good Viral Marketing

Hear a baby crying in a stroller in NYC? May want to let that pass. Could be a devil baby that contorts itself and pukes. In this particular case, it may be a robot designed by the folks at Thinkmodo for another horror film promotion (remember the Carrie telekinetic prank in a NYC coffee shop?). This one is to promote “Devil’s Due,” and in about 24 hours it’s past 15 million views (1/16 update: 26 million views in 2 days). That, friends, is viral.

It’s “Devil Baby Attack” and it’s taking YouTube by storm. I’m probably most impressed by the way I learned about this. On a phone call with my mom this evening. I guess I’ll have to call her more often.

Some feedback/thoughts:

  • The prank is beautifully executed from beginning to end. We’re shocked. Then we see behind-scenes. No wasted shot.
  • Excellent job on “seeding” it. There’s no way it would have been seen this many times — so quickly — without a smart promotion of the clip itself (bloggers, journalists, etc).
  • Given the 22K comments, I’d say the majority of the views are real views. When videos are “gamed,” you see a really low number of comments. Rough math: 22K comments divided by 15 million views is .0015 percent of viewers commented. With more programatic  stuff, you see a slightly better ratio. For instance a recent RWJ video got 200K views and 1,700 comments (.0085 percent).
  • I would love to see a bit more of the off camera laughs and the team behind it — It helps when the viewer has a chance to connect more with the creators. But it’s a horror film promo so I suppose you have to keep it somewhat dark and mysterious.
  • I’m glad we’re no longer concerned about making these appear non sponsored. The video’s end reveals it’s a promo. And if you’re gonna have a logo at the end, there’s no shame in providing a link to the movie site for Devil’s Due (www.devilsduemovie.com). This would drive traffic to the film site’s real trailers and almost invariably help convert more of these 15 million views into ticket-paying customers. Even better: give us a reason to hit the horror site. As long at the viral stunt is this good, we’ll forgive the plug at the end.

Finally, a note to Thinkmodo team: for the love of God people, I missed my invite to these productions. I’ll consult for free to see you guys pull the next one off. I’m one of YouTube’s most-viewed pranksters, an author of a book on viral video marketing, an advertising executive and a horror fan. And I can keep a secret. What else do you need? 

Thinkmodo created the robotic possessed baby to promote the film "Devil's Due."
Thinkmodo created the robotic possessed baby to promote the film “Devil’s Due.” Who’s missing from this shot, friends?

How to Advertise on YouTube

We YouTube Partners require two things to make money: a large number of views, and advertisers. Thanks to Kalle Tompros of SearchEngineWatch for summarizing the options available to advertisers. These include promoted videos (which requires advertisers to have videos on YouTube), homepage takeovers, instream ads (prerolls), and text overlays. For more options, see YouTube’s how-to page.

With online-video advertising projected to grow 30%, advertisers are increasingly looking at YouTube ad options. And as Mashable reports, the first quarter of 2012 showed record-high online advertising revenue, citing an IAB/PWC (see AdAge).

Online-advertising revenue continues to grow with an all-time high last quarter (click image for IAB/PWC report)

Here is my 2 cents on some of the right YouTube options based on the primary approaches (direct response and awareness):

  • The best option for direct-response oriented advertisers are promoted videos and text overlays. They’re not expensive and can be triggered on search queries like Google adwords. Time magazine also covered online-video advertising for small business.
  • Advertisers with larger budgets can gain reach and awareness through more expensive prerolls/instream and homepage takeovers.
Want a crash-course on how to buy YouTube videos? See the YouTube Advertising channel. There’s a nice page that triages advertisers based on their goals: direct response, brand awareness, product launch, and even reputation management and audience engagement.
YouTube describes its offerings based on various brand/media goals (click image to see page)

Finally, there’s a video that explains the analytics tutorial. Go forth and advertise, media buyers. And be sure to keep Nalts in your media plan!

Is Online-Video Catching Up to TV?

It's getting harder to make a case that TV still reigns.

Brightroll published its annual report about video advertising, and here are some highlights via TechCrunch.

This information jives with Forrester’s prediction that online-ad spending will overtake TV in 2016. And eMarketer’s statement that online-video is the fastest-growing portion in digital advertising.

Highlights:

  • The Brightroll data comes from a survey of advertisers about how they’re approaching online video and what their budget plans are for the coming 12 months.
  • 64 percent said they believe that online video advertising is equally or more effective than the ads that show up on TV. That’s a big deal.
  • Why is online-video rivaling TV?  Because 70 percent of Internet users watch video online, meaning scale/reach is now possible.
  • Most respondents see online video as more effective than both display and social media. That’s notable given the market’s increasing obsession with mobile and social-media ads.
  • 30 percent of respondents said they expect online video to grow faster than any other type of advertising. That’s actually oddly conservative. Remember eMarketer estimates that US online video ad spending will grow by a compound annual rate of 38% in a five-year span ending in 2015, making this by far the fastest-rising category of online spending. Do the other 70% feel otherwise?
  • Performance metrics continues to confound media buyers. About 70 percent said that they needed a more clear ROI and success metrics to justify increasing spend on online video. And about a third want more info about the impact their online video buys have on offline purchasing. TV has had more time to develop metrics and prove results.

As any new media emerges, there’s a dance between the evangelists and skeptics. We saw it when the web arrived. We saw it at the dawn of display. We saw it with paid search (which the survey suggests is still the favorite of advertisers). Now we’re seeing it with the ongoing debates about the merits to TV and online-video.

But now it’s hard to deny online-video and praise TV has the bedrock of branding. With apologies to Mark Cuban (who is still a skeptic of online-video). It’s time to recognize that both TV and online-video have a powerful role in advertising and marketing, and that’s why most media-buyers are savvy enough to plan, buy and measure TV and online video together (eMarketer).

Remember what Nalts has been saying for many years, kids. Eventually we won’t have terms like “TV” and online-video. We’ll just view video as a channel or media manifestation whether it occurs on a computer, mobile device, HDTV, pad or those new fangled cathode ray tubes.

YouTuber Cameos on 30 Rock, SNL

It was a good week for YouTubers on NBC. Key of Awesome’s Mark Douglas appeared as Ian in the “Woggles,” a PG-13 version of Australian children singers, “The Wiggles.”

And “Chocolate Rain Guy” (TayZonday) gets an SNL impression by Kenan Thompson!

Woggles 30 rock

See Buzzfeed for a collection of Woggles media or see the entire episode of “30 Rock” which includes more of YouTube’s Batman (that’s a link to my Batman video with Mark to show I’m 2 degrees of separation from Liz Lemon).

Sing along, kids

Feelings, feelings. Feelings say how you feel.

Apples. You taste good.

Trees. You give us wood.

Grandma. I am gay.

Bridge. You turn me on in a sexual way.

Spaghetti. You’re my favorite food.

Dog in sunglasses. You’re a real cool dude.

Police. I killed a man.

Son. Your father’s dead.

Wife. I’ve been to a whore.

Feelings. Feelings. Feelings say how you feel.

Twin. Get back in your cage.

Teacher. Put your penis away.

Moon. Turned me into a wolf…

ReelSEO Interviews Viral Video Genius

Tim Schmoyer interviews the Viral Video Genius for ReelSEO. Get smart, be entertained, watch Tim try to salvage an interview with me.

Three so far… three coming. Enjoy. They’re free. Comment below about how awesome we are.

Your Viral Video Shouldn’t Be a Commercial (Celebrity Apprentice Lesson)

Perhaps you watched Celebrity Apprentice last night, where the b-listers teamed up to create a “viral” video for O-Cedar’s ProMist Spray Mop.

Note that I put “viral” in quotes since it’s not a viral video unless it goes viral. For that matter, let’s call it what it is: try-ral. It’s trying. It may go viral, but it’s not.

This isn’t the first time Celebrity Apprentice has tasked the (has-been but charming) celebrities to create a “viral” video. But here’s my favorite quote from NJ.com on the coverage and the decision made in the boardroom after the competition:

The execs didn’t get the women’s “number” concept initially but liked the entertainment aspect of the video. They liked the men’s slogan… and thought the concept was clear and highlighted the mop’s selling points, although the video was a bit too much like a traditional commercial. The men win.

Did you notice anything there? The video was a bit too much like a traditional commercial, but… by the way… it won.

At the risk of stating the obvious, please don’t learn from this. They didn’t win despite the video being too commercial. They won because the women’s video was entertaining but not purposeful. That’s not good either. But if your “viral” video is a commercial, prepare to spend your media dollars to get it seen as prerolls. We almost never share commercials… we sometimes send entertaining videos that happen to pitch a brand.

Do not expect people to share your commercial. Please.

YouTube for Entrepreneurs & Small Business

Entrepreneurs and small businesses sometimes struggle with YouTube and online-video marketing. So I teamed with ReelSEO to write a guide called “Online Video 101: Small Business.” It’s free, and you won’t get a pesky sales call if you register and download it.

Sorry the blog’s gone a bit grey lately, but I’ve been busy posting a video each day (every time you poop). Caught the virus from Trippy at his wedding. See ’em in this playlist called “Holiday Blitz.”

6 New Rules of Marketing: Get Enlightened, Stupid.

Apparently I have to relearn marketing again, which is fine... it wasn't hard the first time.

The coolest thing about marketers are the titles they give their books. Common, right? They’re marketers. What do you expect?

Yep, while marketing and advertising may be dead, the business of proclaiming it even more dead... is booming. Here are the six rules, and as you can see they defy the 6 marketing rules I learned in my MBA (which I’ve added in italics).

Oh- I think it goes without saying that I haven’t read the book, but I am considering adding it to the prized bookshelf of “The Enlightened Stupid Marketer.” At least he embraces book covers over books, right? Is there any irony to the fact that years after shooting that video I’d write a book and, to date, not read it?

  • The Core is Everything (screw the customer, kill or be killed, don’t sleep)

Key chapters: Brand essence is important, customer knows best, your reputation is vital, play nicely, sleep soundly and work fearfully.

  • You Have Nothing Without The Foundation (integrity is for the unemployment line… Ps in 2006 were product, price, piss the customer, and pimp it)

Key chapters: Integrity, single word or symbol, whole is larger than parts, mind your P’s….

  • There Are Many Choices But Only One Customer (there’s a sucker born every minute; it’s easier to find a new customer than try to keep one).

Key chapters: Strategy is the heart and measurement is the blood, frameworks, perception really is your customer’s reality, communication, more than channel surfing.

  • Do the Right Things for the Right Reasons (we watched Wall Street in Ethics class, talked about Walmart, and then all proclaimed: greed is goooood).

Key chapters: Relationships matter, partner, it’s about them not you…

  • Infrastructure is More Than Pipes (in fact, a virtual tributary allows for add-drop multiplexing of subrate traffic… come to think of that, I might have learned that when my boutique web agency was acquired by Qwest Telcom).

Key chapters: Technology is just an enabler, right information, right people, right time… and don’t have wrong thought.

  • Lead And Others Will Follow (be a fast follower… let your competitor take the arrows, then pull them from their body and use them against anyone that tries suing you for stealing their idea; be sure to pluck out their gold fillings… they won’t need them anymore because they’re dead).

Key chapters: Leadership is a verb not noun.

So, yeah. I have to relearn marketing again, but this time there’s not a test (which sucks because I would have cheated off of my friend Mike Skoler). I wonder if my damned MBA comes with a money-back guarantee (It probably does, but the small print says “not valid on days ending with the letter Y”).

For the record, this marketing-satire video (“Enlightened Stupid Marketer”) was indeed shot in a conference room of an employer who shall remain nameless. You’d never know that unless you worked there, so while I maintained the spirit of the no-camera law (confidentiality), I broke the “letter” of the law. More importantly, it was a satire not of my co-workers at the time but of a Coke executive I’d seen a month prior at a conference. Nobody believed me, and a number of people took offense to this (like the guy who sucked my will to live).

The nice thing about this video is that if you’re offended by it, I’ve struck a vulnerability nerve haven’t I? Are ya offended or are you secure in your marketing competencies? Do you see yourself lampooned, or do you giggle at the absurdity occasionally? If your teeth clench while watching, you MAY just have gelatophobia. There’s only one cure. Avoid people unless wearing ear muffs and blinders. Or just keep reading the latest marketing book that proclaims the last guy slightly dumber.