Every minute, 35 hours of footage is uploaded to YouTube globally. With over two billion views a day, it’s become the epicentre of a video advertising boom. Last year saw brands embracing innovative online video campaigns like never before. Tipp-Ex’s ‘Shoot the Bear’ and French Connection’s ‘YouTique’ led the way, generating millions of views and acres of publicity.
These success stories are telling marketers that big numbers are within reach. But how do you go about creating a campaign capable of capturing a mass audience? Is it through deep data analysis, or could the secret be something less tangible?
As the following case studies with Tipp-Ex and French Connection show, real-time data analysis during and after the process, combined with an unexpected and interactive narrative, are the foundations on which a campaign can be built.
Shoot the Bear was Tipp-Ex’s web debut. The briefing given to Buzzman, the Paris-based creative agency behind the campaign, defined its goals as: ‘To raise short-term brand awareness and to be on top of customers’ shopping lists. To go Europe-wide and tell the story of how the product is used.’ Surprisingly, going digital wasn’t part of it, but after mining data on YouTube’s most popular videos, Buzzman came up with a viral ad titled NSFW. A hunter shoots a bear!
In the 30-second clip, a hunter in a forest is approached by a bear. Users are asked whether the hunter should shoot the bear, and their decision leads to a second video which sees the hunter reach out of the player to grab a Tipp-Ex Pocket Mouse from what appears to be a static ad and erase the word ‘shoots’ from the title. Viewers are then invited to write whatever they want in the blanked-out space and watch as the hunter does exactly what they’ve written.
“We produced 42 scenes,” reveals Thomas Granger, Managing Director at Buzzman, “with one search query for each scene. Based on a survey, we found that for each query – let’s say ‘plays with’ as an example – there were 40-60 words used by respondents to express the notion of ‘play’. So whenever somebody types in one of these expressions, the query leads them straight to the specific scene. Real-time data showed us which scenes were hot and which were not. That’s a great source for identifying what YouTube viewers want and telling us how to react.
“To maximise the chance of people clicking on the video and increase viewing numbers,” he continues, “we first had to analyse code and implement certain technical solutions within YouTube’s guidelines. This is where the ‘NSFW’ in the video title comes in – it stands for ‘Not Safe For Work’. We checked all the most viewed videos on YouTube. We analysed people’s behaviour, and when we examined all this data we were pretty sure that we didn’t want a branded video or our own Tipp-Ex video channel. It became pretty clear that a simple video on the main YouTube platform was the right thing to do. A video with the look and feel of a video shot on a mobile phone by you or me. The data taught us that we need to surprise the viewer – and that’s what we did at the end when the hunter starts freaking out. This is where interactivity kicks in. People love being involved – being part of the story.”
With a total layout of around €900,000 (including production, advertising and agency fees), Shoot the Bear was a Europe-wide campaign unbeatable in cost efficiency. It went viral from day one: with one tweet per second in the first 10 hours, and one million views after 36 hours. To date, the video has had almost 500,000 shares on Facebook, been posted on more than 1,300 blogs and more than 43 million people have watched it.
It’s a winner in business terms, too. A survey by Tipp-Ex showed that the ‘buying attention’ of potential customers – which positions the brand as the first product they are likely to buy – increased by 100 per cent, while sale volumes were up by 30 per cent compared to the same timeframe the year before.
Unlike Tipp-Ex, French Connection UK is an old hand at e-commerce. Their goal was to grow business by reaching out beyond their website and using new communication channels in an innovative way. Not only would they reach customers in the US and UK, but they’d also develop insights about the way video is used on the web.
Poke, FCUK’s East London agency, created YouTique – a YouTube boutique – as a place where YouTube and commerce intersect. It makes clever use of YouTube’s pop-up buttons by letting viewers buy what they see with just a few clicks. Though the pop-ups traditionally only link to other YouTube videos, FCUK was the first brand in the UK to make an arrangement with YouTube to let them use what YouTube calls ‘annotations’, which enable viewers to leave the platform and go off to other destinations on the web – in this case to the FCUK website.
“YouTube data showed us that people were actively searching and browsing for fashion tips and tutorials, DIY instructions that showed them how to dress sexily for a date, what to wear on a business trip or what’s the latest fashion must-have,” says Emma Pueyo, Creative Director at Poke. “And the data also showed that people are most likely to engage when the video set-up reflects their own lifestyle, rather than that of the catwalk jet-set.
“So our decisions weren’t by any means based on blind judgments. Data mining gave us clear indicators, which really helped in creating the right atmosphere in the videos. Knowing the data, we were fairly sure that people would buy.”
“Since we made the experience ourselves, we were able to take measurements and now we can optimise for the upcoming season,” adds Jennifer Roebuck, Director of E-commerce at FCUK. “The data tells us exactly the right length for our new videos, the best spots for calls for action, the best starting points, the best way to place content and label it to achieve number one search results. These are just a few of the lessons the datasets are teaching us. Now we’re ready to improve.”
Like the Tipp-Ex campaign, YouTique is a winner in business terms, too. It was among the three most popular YouTube channels in the UK for a month. A 100 per cent increase in channel views meant a significant increase in brand awareness while the click-through rates were among the highest YouTube has ever seen – up to five or six per cent – and online sales soared.
Data-based web advertising was the big breakthrough of 2010, utilising the power of social media to transform the relationship between consumers and advertisers. Tipp-Ex and French Connection have pioneered a new model. The next move is yours.
Por Think Quarterly