Last week a YouTube campaign made a big fuss online (2700k views and counting), using a pastiche of “viral” techniques:

  • Re-adaptation of the 5 year old Subservient Chicken campaign for Burger Chicken
  • Recycling of the Nintendo Wii Wario Land / Tostitos takeover
  • Tricky title by using “NSFW” on perfectly safe content.

I have nothing against using shortcuts to create buzz, but something felt fishy (and it wasn’t the bear) on this campaign. After spending 5 minutes of my time entertained with the videos, i couldn’t remember the brand’s name. Even considering my short attention span as a Twitter user, that observation kept being reinforced after reading the comments by my friends, all of them praising the campaign but almost none mentioning the brand.

Last Saturday, instead of spending a lazy afternoon on the sofa, i decided to send a brief survey to my Facebook and Twitter friends. Only 50 answers were good enough, since being many of them ad people, they surely paid more attention to the brand than the regular Joe.

What I found out confirmed my suspicion that a great majority of people didn’t recall the exact name of the brand sponsoring the YouTube takeover.

This might be just anecdotal data, but it was enough to reinforce my conviction that using tactics is not enough, specially when your target consumer doesn’t even remember your brand’s name. Or quoting David Ogilvy:

A good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to itself.

P.S. Perhaps reading too much Ad Contrarian isn’t doing any good to my bad temper regarding these quick fixes.

10 thoughts on “

  1. That was my point when I tweeted it last week:

    1) Did you recall the name of the brand/product in the end?

    2) And creatively speaking, it's a mash-up between Subservient Chicken + rich media banners (Super Mario, I'm a Mac and recently Stallone's Expendables).

    But in the end it made everybody talk about it, maybe that was the brief goal: entertain me 🙂

  2. Since when do briefs for products demand that the goal is to entertain people?

    Perhaps if we're talking about promoting a sitcom or a clown workshop, that would be reasonable, but for a commodity product?

    It's a pastiche of buzz techniques, that has almost no connection with the product or his values. Compare this with Old Spice / BlendTec/ Dove, and you see when a viral is more than a viral.

  3. True – the mashup claim as well as the memory challenge. But how many people, in average, do remember which brand stood behind the last TV commercial?

  4. True. It' a pastiche or a "mash-up" of techniques (as we now call it). As James Webb Young stated more than 60 years ago – creativity is a new combination of old elements. But anyway that's not the point discussed here. I also agree that the creative concept is not relevantly or immediately connected with the products' attributes and benefits. Nevertheless and because we're talking about a low-involvement product, a commodity as you pointed out, sometimes you need to get a "top-of-mind" reaction from the audience. But again, strategically speaking it fails when people don't associate the brand name and the category.

  5. Very interesting point Armando. I'm not sure why but it wasn't my case. I did remember constantly who the brand was. I get the moment when the hunter pick the Tipp-ex from the screen and uses it correctly, caught me 🙂

    I totally understand though that this might not be a great example of brand recall (unaided or aided).

    Without even thinking about it, hundreds of times I wondered after watching the same commercial (hundreds of times) "what was the product?". Then I realise that bad that brand/ad agency screwed up.

    I guess it's very simple for a creative agency to focus on the viral effect and allocate less time on thinking "how will the individual react/think".

  6. Interesting survey Armando, I agree that many advertisers are concerned with creating a conversation, but how long can that conversation last if people can't even remember the brand? I'd be interested to see how many viewers this video has in the next month, I bet the amount of views falls off drastically.

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