You Suddenly Want a Mobile Home

I didn’t think I wanted or needed a mobile home until I saw this. But I might just drive a few days to get one of these used, Cullman liquidation mobile homes… because of this absolutely candid, brilliant and real advertisement. Sure there’s a shot that looks like potential blood stains on a floor that are “covered up,”  but the hot chick, whip & vulture sounds, badass dialogue, and the chainsaw made up for that.

Brought to you by the brillianty talented Rhett and Link, who keep raising the bar and jumping over it. And sponsored by Microbilt in what might be the most effective online-video campaign for a small business ever. Why? It’s entertaining. What other possible way could Microbilt reach people so broadly? Sure, only a small portion of them will be qualified Microbilt candidates, but with a net this size, you can have lots of holes in it… and still bring home some tuna.

Put that on your brag book, Microbilt and Rhett & Link. You’re still bringing home some tuna. See more at ilovelocalcommercials.com, which is bound to catch some media attention buy (with Rhett and Link’s rapidly growing fan base) doesn’t need it. There’s a whole suite of them, and they’re sweet.

Online-Video Marketing That… Doesn’t Feel Like Advertising

GE launched a health campaign today on YouTube that is part of trend toward softer advertising that, I believe, will have better long-term dividends even if it’s hard to measure.

GE is taking a lightly branded approach to promoting health and wellness by sponsoring a “Healthymagination” challenge among people on YouTube. There’s very subtle branding from GE, and no “drive to healthymagination.com” play. In fact the company is not trying to build a microsite, and is aggregating commissioned videos on Howcast’s YouTube channel. Now millions of people will watch and participate in health-challenge videos by iJustine, Alphacat, Rhett & Link, Smosh, me and other YouTube people with large followings.

This is about as far from an intrusive yet measurable pre-roll advertisement as you can get, but GE’s brand will now be associated with health — broadly across a number of demographics.

Okay I doctored this banner with the faces of YouTubers. But click to see real channel.

As someone participating in this health challenge, I am certainly biased. So let’s look instead at Pfizer’s YouTube homepage advertising “takeover” in January, which was centered around videos the company commissioned about health and fitness. The promoted brand (Chantix for smoking cessation) was present but not “in your face.” The insight that may have spawned this approach? Smokers aren’t exactly going to dive into a video channel about quitting.

In a current campaign with a similar “hands off” approach, Rhett and Link’s I Love Local Commercials campaign was sponsored by Microbilt. But the video series is a celebration of cheesy local ads for small business (Microbilt’s target). There’s no forced messages about how Microbilt offers credit, debt collection or background screening to small businesses. People can get excited about cheesy commercials or health (especially when a charity benefits). But it’s hard to get jazzed about debt collection, smoking cessation or light bulbs. It’s the same reason I used Mr. Complicated to promote Clear Point (who cares about staffing technology?).

Brian Bradley, MicroBilt’s EVP of Strategy & Emerging Markets, acknowledges it’s hard to put an ROI on programs like this (parenthetically I addressed this topic on Tuesday at a marketing conference, and here’s the deck).

“Although the initial work that lead to “I Love Local Commercials” was very spontaneous, it is part of a body of work at MicroBilt focused on building awareness and establishing thought leadership across market segments, ” Bradley told me via e-mail. “So that our traditional marketing and sales efforts are more successful.” Bradley said, for example, that if his sales people call a business prospect who hasn’t heard of MicroBilt, they can quickly find out it’s a real company.

It’s tempting for us marketers to force our brand so we can realize (or assume) a near-term ROI. But sometimes the most effective long-term strategy is to have a gentle presence while something bigger, more interesting, and more entertaining takes center stage. This is more instinctive to corporate communication or public-relations people, but they’re generally without budgets to sustain even small pilots like these.

The results may not show up in website visits, instant purchase, and awareness/recall studies. But I would argue that test/control or pre/post qualitative studies (while being cost prohibitive for these case studies), would indicate that target customers have higher favorability of these brands. I don’t think pre-rolls and banners could do that alone.

And isn’t that what separates the AIGs from the Disneys?

Most Unusual Commercials: Cuban Gynecologist & AutoSalesman

I’d buy a bag full o’ shit if Rhett and Link were promoting it. They are probably the best creative duo for online-video promotions, and I’ve written about many of their promotions, from Butterfinger to Alka Seltzer.

Perhaps their weirdest campaign, “I Love Local Commercials,” has the comedic pair bringing life to an otherwise boring company called Microbilt, which serves small companies.

Rhett and Link will be traveling America again, and making local commercials for lucky folks like… the cuban gynecologist and American autosalesman. Here’s the video introducing the campaign, and below is the charming  “making of.”

And to applaud Microbilt’s willingness to not overly whore itself in the videos (even its company site is 2 clicks from the campaign landing page), I will now list a series of things Microbilt can do for you.

microbilt

And yes I’ve already nominated Nalts Consulting. I can’t think of something that would make me more proud than to hear the lovely voices of Rhett and Link espouse the power of online-video and social media. What rhymes with social media?