“Viral Video is Dead” Echos in Canada & Beyond

Nalts speaking in Toronto

If there’s one thing more fun than speaking to hundreds of marketers before a giant video of yourself like a “Rolling Stones” concert, it’s to read Twitter “tweets” after you speak.

By searching #mweek and @nalts after my talk on Wednesday, I learned what “stuck” with the Toronto “Canadian Marketing Association” audience. Canadians are nice, and apparently quite addicted to Twitter. They surprised me by almost making me sound intelligent in the quotes they shared.

Here are two of the things people most RT’d (aka retweeted, which here means posting on Twitter or sharing someone else’s Twitter post).

  • Viral is dead.
  • An impression isn’t an impression unless it makes one (see TechVibes coverage).

Marketing Magazine led with this article titled “Marketing Week Begins with ‘Viral is Dead’ Declaration.” IT Business was struck that a “viral is dead” statement woud come from “a person who owes his fame and fortune to tons of viewers on YouTube.” Then there’s the Canadian Star, which captured one of the most important points I hoped to make:

But advertisers don’t have to spend millions making YouTube videos, like the Evian Roller Babies, in hopes they go viral, Nalty said. The ad features digitally animated babies rollerskating to rock music. Instead, they can use existing YouTube stars, like Fred Figglehorn, the teenager with the annoying high-pitched voice and the online following bigger than Oprah’s TV audience, Nalty said. Fred makes a six-figure income from advertisers on his YouTube posts, Nalty said.

Certainly there’s a robust future of incredible clips that will gain “viral” fame. But my point was that marketers should not waste time and money investing in clips with hope that they go “viral.” It’s rare for a commercial clip to be shared wildly, although Evian’s babies is a recent exception.

Instead, I encourage marketers to chose the more efficient and guaranteed approach of partnering with online-video weblebrities. These individuals have large, recurring audiences and fans. So their sponsored videos are far more likely to travel the web and be seen by millions. I showed the Hitviews case study on Fox Broadcasting as proof. Two of my Fox videos alone have surpassed 1 million views each, which was half the targeted views of the campaign (for “Fringe” and “Lie to Me”).

I was encouraged to speak with a number of creative directors (or former creator directors) that seemed excited about the prospects. I had feared that they’d feel threatened by an online-video “weblebrity” creating videos that aren’t as easy to control. But they seemed to appreciate the idea of giving a popular creator a creative brief, and some room to tailor the message to his/her audience and style.

Here’s the deck, though most won’t make sense without context. Steal away. Spread the word.

But remember two things above all. US/Canada border guards require passports, and don’t care to be videotaped even if it’s on a Hello Kitty Flipcam. Trust me on those.

ShayCarl Missing From YouTube’s Most-Popular Page. Fans Terrified.

In news that shocked regular YouTube viewers, creator “Shaycarl” is not on today’s “most-popular” page.

Shaycarl, a radio disk jockey turned full-time YouTube star, has been on a rapid rise in subscribers and views (evidenced by Google trends data below), propelled exponentially an assload in recent months due to his affiliation with “TheStation,” a popular collaboration channel of YouTube’s largest stars.


But Shay has not posted in 19 hours. His “Baby Can Slam Dunk” video was posted more than 19 hours ago, and his “Giant Dog” was dated 9/31 and posted more than a day ago.

Shay was not available via phone or e-mail, and has largely secluded himself into a DannyJames Arthur DayDiamond sweat lodge tent in recent months.

thestation sweat lodge

Shaycarl’s last Twitter post was 11 hours ago, and his fans have become alarmed that his biggest hater gentle hater has abducted him. The hater (known as MisterDoodyHead) is presumably based in Venice Beach, California… based on his referring to “out here” as Shay’s current location. Reports of Shay being beaten by a car-seat have not been verified by local authority.

Fortunately ShayCarl’s YouTube account shows activity as of four hours ago, and he will presumably return to most-popular by midnight… unless Sxephil and CharlesTrippy upload more than 100 videos today.

Hulu Plus Disney: Why Jason Kilar “Gets It”

This morning I had the pleasure of meeting Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, who speaks elegantly about balancing his company’s three key customers: viewers, content producers and advertisers. His focus on convenience and simplicity of video content is unmatched, and is quickly turning Hulu into more than a website (Hulu recently jumped to #3 in online video, surprisingly beating Yahoo Video but not surprisingly beating “wheezing” AOL Video according to comScore).

Hulu CEO Jason Kilar
Hulu CEO Jason Kilar

Kilar agreed to be in one of my goofball videos, but was not surprisingly swept away mid-morning as news broke of the Disney/Hulu deal. Catch ya next time, Kilar. We’re not offended that WVFF didn’t get an exclusive on the Disney deal before the networks.

A few notables from his talk private presentation (which I had the sad task of following). And, no, Nalts will not be appearing on Hulu. It’s focused on “professional” content, so I need not apply.

  • Awareness, message association, brand favor-ability and audience intent increase from 4-20% after Hulu ads.
  • He’s got a great new feature that allows consumers to select the ad, and an even cooler one that lets the advertiser survey the viewer (which gives the viewer fewer interuptions).
  • Still struggling with distribution beyond computers, because television can put him at odds with cable and networks. He doesn’t appear to be soon helping me watch Hulu on AppleTV. 🙁
  • A lot has changed since Hitchcock Presents (his mom’s favorite show- Kilar’s is Speed Racer, and he used to run home from school, only to catch it 9 minutes late). Hitchcock ran 4 minutes of ad times (with 26 minutes of show). But The Office runs 8 minutes of ads (with about 22 minutes of show). Hulu strives to keep ads to about 1/15th of program time, which seems more than fair. Consumers can choose to watch a 3-minute movie preview, then enjoy uninterrupted full episodes of shows.
  • Brand recall on Hulu is nearly twice what broadcast or cable provides (58% to 34% and 28% respectively). Same as message recall.
  • I expected to hear from an old-media junky, desperately pitching prerolls. Instead met an incredibly humble Pittsburgh dude who has a vision for how consumers can enjoy ad-supported content with higher convenience than television. He was at Amazon before Amazon was Amazon, and launched Hulu while launching his 3rd kid. He seemed mildly receptive to me renting his kids for videos.
  • Kilar likened Hulu to Starbucks, where consumption grows because of convenience. So watch for Hulu ubiquity via mobile, web and other mediums. Kilar reminded us of The Onion’s article: Starbucks Puts a New Starbucks Inside a Starbucks Restroom.”