Content Case Study: The Importance of Video

March 28, 2011 11:59 am

The ‘Jennifer Anniston Sex Tape’ has gone viral – but is it fulfilling the primary purpose of quality content?

Content isn’t just about words when it comes to social media marketing. Music, podcasts and images can all be used to promote engagement and keep the reader-customer coming back for more.

Many – if not most – companies already know how videos can be an important part of a content strategy, whether it’s on the company website or a dedicated YouTube channel. Videos draw the eye and provide movement to an otherwise static Web page. Most importantly, they are a quick and easy way of introducing the company’s voice, which can then be maintained and enhanced through the written word.

Videos also have the ability to take on a life of their own. In fact, some marketers become obsessed with trying to make videos go viral, reaching a certain amount of ‘likes’ on Facebook and attaining that glorious Twitter goal of 10,000 followers.

Smart Water has a new marketing campaign that has turned the lens on itself – kind of – and made a YouTube video about YouTube videos. It’s clever in a very self-referential way, because it exposes and pokes fun at the tools that have been successfully (and sometimes inadvertently) used to get content videos to go viral, while unabashedly utilising those very tricks.

So there’s the title itself, puppies, skateboarding dogs, dancing babies and the lip-syncing little person – all of which are YouTube gold. Then there’s the ‘double rainbow’ spoof (which becomes even funnier once you’ve seen the 26-million-hits-attracting real thing) and a memorable moment in which the much-searched-for-star delivers a crushing kick to the crotch of an unsuspecting fan before blithely apologising with: ‘Sorry, but that should get us about 100,000 hits.’

Even Ms Aniston herself adds to the sense of watching an advertising pastiche that is itself an advert by appearing somewhat overwhelmed by the whole operation, even though you know she was paid a lot of money to do so.

The video provides an insight into the mechanics of marketing a brand through social media content – and specifically through YouTube. It is funny and relevant, but also shows how social media has changed the scene.

Amusing as the ad is, however, it’s impossible to lose sight of the fact that it is a gimmick in and of itself. It will no doubt garner a lot of views as intended (over eight million at time of writing), but it seems a little too much like marketers marketing to marketers. People in the industry will like it – we do – for its humour and tongue-in-cheek observations about the way social media marketing has changed the landscape, but will it sell water?

Quality content engages people and the ‘Jennifer Aniston Sex Tape’ certainly does that. But in a social marketing context it also has to sell a product. The jury is still out on whether this video meets that primary objective.



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