Two Distribution Models United by a Common Reliance on Creativity

back in Jan of last year I wrote a post outlining five thoughts on viral marketing – which essentially were: what’s the motivation to pass on, is it easy to view and pass on, does it have contemporary relevance and can it be measured?  the last of these is now infinitely easier with the announcement of YouTube’s new analytics tool – YouTube Insight.

whilst it’s good to know where in the world people are watching my holiday video, it will no doubt prove more useful in giving ammunition to the arsenals of agencies like Cake, who are responsible for distributing the above piece for Pot Noodle.  made by AKQA, it’s a spoof of Guinness’ Tipping Point.  and Honda’s Cog for that matter.  or actually the Orange ad with those colours  …or, come to think of it, a whole tranche of ads that have pretty much been developed on a similar theme ever since Cog’s effort.

what this viral relies on is it’s ability to pop a shot at these more glossy peers.  from it’s windy start, thru electric wheelchairs and wheely bins, to a blow up doll and eventually the Pot itself, the piece relies on the ability to remix what is now a very much established theme.  it’s creative remix at it’s best.  it also voices the suggestion by some of us in the industry who are thinking maybe enough of th Cog-cloning now thanks…

what separates this from Guinness’ original effort is, fundamentally, what a brand wants to get away with…  brands are eagerly able to rush in wherever the BACC fear to tread.  but it’s also a reflection of money.  it’s the level of available investment that determines whether a client adopts Pot Noodle’s viral model or the more investment-intensive broadcast model.

at lower budgets virals frankly are the only option, but it’s not quite that simple…  let’s say the above cost £40k to make and – thru free seeding and non-paid for promotion – generates 1 million views.  assuming that distribution costs nil, thats a cpt on views of £40.

compare that to a standard TV campaign that will cost – say – £300k to make and generate for the sake of argument an overall cpt (prod and media) for a 16-34 audience of around £20; twice as cost efficient as a viral.  but twice as cost effective?!  very possibly not…

the viral model is not only pulled rather than pushed content, but benefits from being recommended  rather than broadcast to an individual.  and when you consider that the above Tipping Pot viral clip has – according to Cake – been on 400 websites, three
national newspapers and on the Sky News viral round up, it’s not surprising that it’s considered to be a success.

ultimately though, each of the above models – whatever the numbers – both fundamentally rely on creativity… on the ability to capture and engage an audience with an idea.  doing that gives a brand the luxury of choice in it’s media model.  it’s perhaps to all of our detriment that too many brands – through a lack of creativity with their communications – depend only on broadcast communications for their efforts.  applying the test of the viral distribution model to more ads would be a sterner test than anything the BACC could throw at them.

thanks to lee@cakegroup.com for the link.

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