Monday, November 26, 2007

Online Video Strategy...Doritos and Heinz Lead the Way

Kevin Nalts at Advertising Age posted an interesting article about ten lessons for marketers using viral videos. He argues that marketers need follow several guidelines (listed below).

Ten Lessons for Marketers Using Viral Videos:
Lesson 1) Tap into the video community.
Lesson 2) Quality of the video is not what determines its popularity.
Lesson 3) A video of a dog skateboarding can get 3 million views, but that doesn't mean your commercial will. Nalt feels a smarter play is to sponsor popular video creators to create entertainment.
Lesson 4) Online-video marketing is not just about contests. Smarter brands connect directly with prominent viral video creators.
Lesson 5) "Tagging" your video with keywords doesn't get them seen.
Lesson 6) Consumers migh see your video, but that doesn't mean they'll visit your site and buy.
Lesson 7) Paying for a well-produced video won't necessarily increase your brands ROI.
Lesson 8) Not all video portals are created equal. Make it a point to lower production costs.
Lesson 9) You may be a conservative organization but don't let that keep you from this medium.
Lesson 10) This medium will become measurable.

Nalt says that marketers should connect with online-video creators versus creating their own. And this is a good plan as long as you are connecting with the right creators. Additionally, they need to make sure their videos on located on the right site(s).

I skimmed through the all time most viewed videos on YouTube to get a glimpse about which videos are viewed most often. Interestingly, most of the videos pertain to music (i.e. singers such as Avril Lavigne and actors/actress like Britney Spears). For example, the popular video title "LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!" currently has 13,145,410 posts as of November 26, 2007. In fact, I didn't notice any videos related to a single brand as I skimmed over the first five pages of most viewed videos on YouTube. This tells me that marketers have a tough road to go if they plan on marketing through YouTube or any other video portal. Unfortunately, brands are not top-of-mind among consumers on video portal sites. However, there are alternatives, like setting up another site to draw consumers.

This is where "Lesson 8: Not all video portals are created equal" becomes interesting. Nalt says, "The vast majority of online viewing occurs on YouTube. Putting your videos on a site is the online equivalent to running television commercials on a kiosk hidden in an abandoned cemetery." And I couldn't agree with him more. It doesn't make sense to me for a brand to post a video on YouTube. Odds are, it won't break through the clutter. Now I'm not saying to avoid sites like YouTube, but it shouldn't be the primary site where a brands video is posted.

Personally, I think Doritos and Heinz have provided an outstanding template for other brands to follow. Doritos encourage consumers to submit their own videos as part of its "Crash The Super Bowl" contest last year. Many of the videos appeared on YouTube. Likewise, it set up an independent site at Yahoo Promotions where consumers voted for their favorite video. Heinz also took a similar approach when it set up a special website for its Top This TV challenge. I think both Doritos and Heinz have created excellent blueprints for other marketers interested in online video strategy to follow.


Monday, November 19, 2007

A-B Looks to Go Upscale

Tom Barlow over at Bloggingstocks recently posted an article about Anheuser-Busch's plans to take a new track in its 2008 marketing. A-B will emphasize the quality of ingredients and brewing techniques in its core brands, Budweiser and Michelob.

Tom mentions that A-B is reacting to two challenges: declining/flat sales of its mainstream suds, and the competition posed by the recently announced partnership of SABMiller and Molson Coors (NYSE:TAP) to mutually market their products in the U.S. He argues that some companies fail to find the right balance that persuades the public that they are getting a bargain, better quality for the same price. Additionally, he feels the current Miller High Life campaign is one of the best he's ever seen, "A tasty beer at a tasty price." Personally, I'd have to agree with this.

Too many companies try to come up with a fancy slogan that doesn't make any sense consumers. For example, Heineken recently began a marketing campaign playing on "irresistible" messaging. However, I'm not really sure who they are targeting. I know Heineken is trying to position itself as a "luxury" beer, but I'm not sure about their stategy. For example, I question its sponsorship of Yahoo Fantasy Football. Heineken highlights the "Premium Player of the Week" for every Yahoo Fantasy Football league each week. Now, I'm an avid fantasy football player and I can assure you that there is nothing "luxurious" about fantasy football. I would think that Heineken would be targeting a more affluent crowd. I would look into sponsoring a golf tournament or something along those lines if I were at Heineken. Marketing is all about finding a position and exploiting it. I feel that Heineken may have their position, but they're not exploiting it.

Send me an e-mail or leave a comment if you have any questions or concerns about my recent post.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Starbucks Commits to First National TV Campaign

Here is some interesting news that I found over a Ad Age. Apparently, Starbucks is breaking its first national TV ad campaign to get consumers to buy another cup. Starbucks announced the campaign November 15, 2007, along with a decline of 1% in the average transactions per store in the U.S. It cut its fiscal-year forecast, which sent shares down 6%.

Now call me crazy, but this comes as a complete shocker. I frequent Starbucks often and I'm always waiting in a line for my Grande Latte. Additionally, Starbucks buzz is currently increasing online before any of its new ads have began running. I'll make sure to follow up on this after the holidays. It will be interesting to see if Starbucks upward buzz trend online continues after its new campaign airs.

(Double-click to see larger view of Starbucks buzz trend)