Thursday, December 17, 2009

Yes, My Name Is Charlie - And I'm A Victim of Viral Marketing!

YouTube- "I don't have an account but boy do I still get to watch videos all day!"

Below is a list of videos that have been passed to me via email, Facebook, or text message at least 5X each in the last 2 weeks.  This is a prime example of Viral Marketing used for entertainment purposes only.  People think it is funny to send me video links to things with my name in the title (I find it flattering).  What I think is interesting are all the revisions each of these videos go through once released in the world.

Charlie Bit Me is a good example.  The Original version has a large amounts of views but the AutoTune Remix version, released roughly a year later, is quickly catching up.  When you watch these two videos the important thing to recognize is the AutoTune portion.  Watch it and then type in AutoTune into YouTube and see what you get- this is a new way- ONE TO WATCH- to deliver information.

Charlie Bit My Finger 140,941,980 views

Charlie Bit Me - AutoTune 846,719 views

Now, Charlie The Unicorn is a very weird cartoon, which I have never fully understood and don't find funny.  (Am I the only one?)  Many of the variations on this show are very twisted!  However, it is continuously circulated through the internet with a cult-like intensity.

Charlie The Unicorn 43,178,644 views

Charlie The Unicorn Remade 8,147 views

The Charlie Perfume videos are many in number.  The Original 1970's commercial with the woman in the red dress (whom I was named after) has been "remade" using many different people in our pop-culture world, most recently Cindy Crawford.  These videos and their variations give you a good glimpse into how Brands can use humor and pop-culture to circulate their message into nooks and crannys they would not ordinarily consider.  The trick is how to get the viewers to order.  Watch several of these Charlie Perfume commercials and see how long it takes you to get to an order page. This is where traditional brand messaging is not so disimilar to YouTube - you have to ask for the sale- which neither do very well- YET!

1993 Charlie Perfume Remake - Little Richard and Cindy Crawford 6,672 views 

1970's Charlie Perfume Commercial 13,586 views

And this leads me to another example of the strangeness that is Viral Marketing.  Vince Offer sold a lot of Slap Chops on TV using a very clever 2 minute video.  This video was viewed 615K times on YouTube (as of today).  I'm sure this translated into retail sales- although the tracking is tricky.  But when the Slap Chop Rap hit YouTube almost 8 million people were exposed to this product- those are Oprah numbers.  These are people (many under 25) who would have never seen or taken seriously the TV spot.  These are people that surely saw Slap Chop in a CVS or Walmart and picked it up due to this rap spoof.  Isn't humor one of the main reasons Chia Pets are such a big seller every year at Christmas? Again, the trackability is tricky at this level.  However, if you were to look at the media dollars spent, BEFORE and AFTER, the spoof became a viral marketing phenomenon, I bet you'd be surprised to see the REAL LIFT at the cash register.

Original Slap Chop TV Commercial - Vince Offner 615,600 views

Slap Chop Rap - Spoof 7,584,308 views

In the upcoming months the challenge for all marketers will be to understand what the buzz about viral is all about.  It is as easy as having an name like Charlie and yet as complex as not knowing how many people actually bought your product when 8 million people have seen it.

Coming soon... Should You Leave Comments on YouTube Videos?  The Hansel and Gretel Theory!

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