Is it irony, or just coincidence, that in a world where advertising for major corporations is drastically changing every day via Social Media one of the hottest television shows is about the origins of blatant mass marketing? Yes, I’m talking about you MadMen. Stop glorifying a world where catchy tag lines and shiny new products no longer work on the masses of consumers!
Part 1 of our Advertising in the 2010s series will focus on viral video campaigns, in particular, the ones that dress up like a user made amateur video in order to promote their product. Although there have been various online campaigns over the past few years, including the recent Old Spice questions and answers that even garnered a wedding proposal, few have been as cool and brand defining as the ones made by Levi’s.
Back in 2008, this amateur video of a man doing Parkour-like jumps into a pair of jeans gained popularity online.
It seemed as though the clip was created by some highly skilled individual amateurs, especially considering the description simply read “Guys do crazy stunts and backflips into their pants”. But it didn’t take long for the online community to discover that Levi Strauss was in fact behind the video. And then this pastJuly, a photo essay surfaced of a man walking across America. Note the close up on the jeans near the end when he reaches into his back pocket.
Within a a day it already had half a million hits and featured hipster-band-of-the-moment Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros on the soundtrack. It even had a Behind The Scenes feature detailing how some indie filmmaker types carefully crafted the effects. The following week, it was noted by some users online that in a video blog posted by one the producers, he points out and mentions “the guy from Levi’s”, a man wearing a blazer seen standing with them at the Golden Gate bridge.
Now, these videos don’t expressively go out and tell the public to buy Levi Jeans. In fact they don’t even mention buying jeans at any point, they simply bring attention to the fact that people are doing really incredible and cool tasks while wearing comfortable jeans. And that’s where the genius lies.
With these viral videos, Levi Strauss got people thinking about jeans. And when you think of jeans, what brand comes to mind first? Levi Strauss of course. They know they are synonymous with the ever popular leg wear, and they were remarkably (and quite boldly) able to identify that fact and simply chose to promote the actual medium of jeans via sub conscious marketing.
The most important thing to remember when plotting a viral video campaign is to make something that is for your company. Something special and unique that you will be happy with. You can take inspiration from other successful campaigns, but do not try to mimic their idea or style. Do something that your fan base (or target fan base) will enjoy watching, and don’t be afraid to be a little silly.
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