Wednesday, December 05, 2007

You can bring an ad to YouTube, but you can't make them link

A while back Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz of For Immediate Release said that
a) You cannot design a viral advertising campaign
b) All adverts should be viral

This seems like a contradiction, but here goes...

b) first. All adverts should be put online in order to gain the potential of going viral. This seems like a no-brainer. If you want an advert to get maximum exposure, you need to cover all the formats (and have a web site for someone to go to).
There is however a problem.

Or rather rights.

If your advert (and I'll assume television here, but this applies to radio) has music, you can get the cheaper rights to cover a small region (say the UK and Ireland, or Australia) or get the more expensive world-wide rights. The alternative is to commission music, but the composer can still negotiate world-wide rights at a higher price.

Then come writers, copyrighters and actors rights. In the case of up-and-coming you can probably get them cheap. Given that you'll probably want to use phrases and still on your website, I'd advise you to go for the worldwide rights anyway. It's cheaper than lawyers. Since it is now possible that an advert will run for the rest of time on the internet, you'll probably need a landing site anyway.

In the case of a well know personality, well then things can get expensive. Thanks to the internet, gone are the days when an A-List actor will appear in an advert on the other side of the world where no one that hires them will see it, because everyone know that the bloody thing will eventually show up online.

Which gives rise to a class of advertising I call "the escapees". These are adverts that fans (or rather "fans") have put online by themselves completely independent of the advertisers or the product holders. Personally I suspect that they are slightly ignored for the run of the advertisement in its local market. But the advertiser is legally obliged to start pulling those advertisements eventually.

Which brings be back to a). "Escapees" are adverts that have gone viral despite the intentions on the creators. There are also a class of adverts which are designed to stay on the net.

These "potential virals" were created, at first, because they would not be approved for broadcast (I remember one series of condom adverts where the sexual nature of the adverts more or less guaranteed that they would be online only). Other times a viral is the long version of the advert, a TV spot is 30 seconds... an online advert, or a YouTube clip can go on for much longer.

However a viral advert must be linked to. Word of mouth must be created. People have to care about the bloody thing, either because it's amusing, or very topical.

You can't guarantee that an advert will be popular enough to be viral. You can try, but word of mouth cannot be faked for long on the internet. You can't fool all of the people, because if they aren't interested nor amused, they won't tell others

So why am I typing about this... Well, given the number of adverts and wannabe viral adverts that have been crossing my screen, I've decided that I'm going to start reviewing them.

Wish me luck (and send me adverts)

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Blogger dahamsta said...

Sounds good Will, although I have to say I have a lot of respect for Brooker's work in this field. :)


12:50 a.m., December 07, 2007  
Blogger cork-host said...

Oh Dahamsta thank you for the comparison... however I'm not too sure cock is an interest.

Friends of mine love cocks. And hens too.

8:56 p.m., December 08, 2007  

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