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Pucker Up for 2015’s Answer to the Ice Bucket Challenge

Twizzler challenges celebs to lock lips over liquorice Lady and the Tramp style to raise awareness for autism.

Following the wildly viral success of last summer’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the world has been waiting for something like this. The sensation that sparked up last June inspired over 2.4 million videos posted of participants dunking ice water over their heads. Ice-Bucket-Challenge-LIt was hailed “The Harlem Shake” of summer, with celebrities, athletes, Homer Simpson and college students alike posting their chilly challenges and tagging their friends. Nearly $100 million was raised for the ALS Association alone, along with millions raised for various other charities of dunkers choice.

The challenge began at Jon Stewart’s Night of Too Many Stars gala to raise funds for New York Collaborates for Autism. And while the Twizzler Challenge is still in it’s infancy, Today show hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Matt Lauer have taken part in an awkward smooch, along with Girls stars Lena Dunham and Allison Williams.

 Things have already taken a freaky turn with one man liquorice nibbling with his dog. Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 9.16.25 PM

As long as participants are donating, or at least know the cause they are representing, then viral video challenges are an effectual way to raise both awareness and funding. Twizzler, owned by Hershey’s, has made a strategic move to get behind a positive, charitable venture that will solidify a genuine, caring brand image.

A Decade of Youtube!

My first real experience with Youtube happened ten years ago, when the video sharing site was in it’s infancy. I was an eighth grader looking for my favourites clips of Family Guy online, and discovered a Youtube channel with tons of 30 second Peter Griffin gags. giphy

Now Youtube is synonymous with every day internet usage. The site has over 1 billion users worldwide with hundreds of millions of hours of video being consumed. Every day over 300 hours of footage is uploaded to Youtube, with years and years of footage available at a click of a mouse. Music videos and viral clips are bringing in millions upon millions of views.

‘Gangham Style’ – a kooky video companion to a popular pop song by Korean singer/songwriter Psy, broke records with over 2 billion (billion!) views in 2012.giphy

Miley Cyrus, Eminem and the children from the viral home movie ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ have also reached near billion numbers.

Youtube has become an essential platform for many brands to advertise on. Imagine in the next the years what Youtube ads will look like and targeted they will be to each consumer that views them.

Vloggers – They’re Bigger Than Harry Potter

You may have heard of her. zoella-gifUK native Zoella Sugg recently published a book called “Girl on the Internet” which has sold more copies in it’s first week than fellow British author J.K. Rowling (you may have heard of her as well, she wrote series a few years back about wizards or something). Zoella, a 24 year old vlogger, has won the internet (take that Kim Kardashian!) with over 6.6 million subscribers on her Youtube channel. The basis of her vlog topics are typically beauty tips and shopping hauls. Zoella’s interweb fame has companies dishing out over $4,000 to her just for dropping their name or endorsing their product in one of her segments. Popular vloggers are now seen as one of the best ways to target young audiences, especially for the beauty industry.

She isn’t the first megastar of vlogging. Comedian Jenna Marbles (Jenna Mourey) became famous from her hysterically relatable how-to videos, such as “How to Trick People into Thinking You’re Good Looking” which gained over 5.3 million views in only it’s first week. jenna-marblesMakeup tutorialist Michelle Phan has reached 7 million subscribers which has gained her a cosmetic line with L’Oreal, EM by Michelle Phan.

I find Youtubing is a remarkable way for someone with great ideas to get themselves noticed. I also find the concept of watching someone on Youtube an interesting look into the consumer psyche, playing on the same reason why we become obsessed with reality TV. In my research of popular Youtube channels, I found many informative clips about everything from hair straightening to reviews on breakfast cereal. I also found astounding numbers of views for “Get Ready With Me” videos that featured girls narrating their daily routine from washing their face to picking out which mug they would have their morning tea in. 132,000 people sat through 8 minutes of the day in the life of someone they didn’t know doing mundane things we all do every morning. Welcome to Youtube.

Back to Zoella. I had never actually watched an upload of hers until I heard of her groundbreaking book release, so I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I started with a video called “My First Time”, which isn’t what you would think. The perky Brit answers questions through an HD lens about firsts such as her first word. Which she can’t remember. So she calls her mom. Her mom doesn’t answer. She leaves a voicemail. She calls her dad. He can’t remember. It goes on from there. The view count? 4, 433, 464.

The life of a young vlogger doesn’t come without it’s hardships though. Firstly, it is hard work to establish a vlog viewers want to see. In the case of Jenna Marbles, she struck it lucky with a video so funny it was a viral hit. And she followed through with more comedic content to keep viewers hooked. Vloggers must be consistent, dedicated to making fresh videos and responding to the community (yes, Youtube is a strong online community). It helps if they display a likeable personality which will help viewers get to know them on a level one would get to know a friend. Vloggers must face the criticism of trolling commentors making harsh remarks or stirring up religion based baloney just to get a reaction. apple-girl-laptop-mac-netbook-Favim.com-362559

And so I add vlogs to the list of ways advertising is rapidly changing. With the staggering rates in which some successful vlogstars get paid by companies ($300,000 a year in some cases), perhaps I’ll turn Sell Me About It into a video log. You can watch me discuss marketing trends as I simultaneously apply mascara. After that I’ll fold some laundry, I’m sure I can gain a few hundred thousand views for that.

Loco for Viral Ad Campaigns

Meet Tyler, Taco Enthusiast.

Taco Bell Canada is announcing the infamous Doritos Locos Taco (a beef taco wrapped in a Nacho Cheese Dorito shell) is permanently being added to it’s menu. The taco is a wildly popular item, and one fan decides to show his appreciation for it by getting it’s likeness emblazoned on his arm. Taco Bell is rewarding his honourable act with free Doritos Locos for life.

The concept and video was created by ad agency Grip Ltd, a Toronto based company dedicated to being game-changing, ground-breaking, dynamic, boat-rocking mavericks, so they claim. They have served clients such as Honda, Labatt’s, Budweiser and Bell. Currently a thirty second version of the spot airs on television, while the longer version can be found online.

The concept personifies Taco Bell’s slogan, Live Mas. Veronica Castillo, Marketing Manager for Taco Bell Canada describes the spot as a “bold move”. The ad has led to a Taco Bell Twitter campaign where tweeters are encouraged to tweet their love for the Doritos taco’s permanent residency with the hashtag (#) #DLT4LIFE.

dlo

The video has managed to gain 3,000 views since it’s launch on January 13th. Its not an instant viral success story, but it has some time to grow. Viral advertising is an exceptional way to generate buzz and brand awareness. The Internet loves to see people doing outrageous things, whether it is sponsored by a brand or not. It’s no longer enough to release a commercial on television and hope it incites the intended target market. Agencies are tapping into this fascination for wacky, shocking and entertaining videos and capitalizing on it.

Below is one of the most ingenious viral ad campaigns I’ve seen to date. It is an ad for Tipp-Ex, a company that makes white-out and other correctional supplies in Europe. The video lets you interact and create your own ending to the story, thanks to Tipp-Ex correctional fluid.

Smellcome to Manhood

Old Spice’s 2014 ad campaign, titled Momsong, has already gained over one million views on Youtube in the past 4 days. It is the ad to beat for 2014, with Super Bowl ads not even out of the gate yet. In the spot, mothers of teen boys lament that Old Spice has “sprayed men” of their sons, as they stalk them under sometimes humorous, other times creepy disguises.

Momsong is to be followed by a bigger campaign titled “Smellcome to Manhood”. Taking a direct hit at competitor Axe Body Spray, Old Spice aims to educate teenage boys on how to spray responsibly. You may be aware that pubescent over-sprayage is a common offense in gym locker rooms and high school hallways alike.

As an Integrated Marketing Communications student, I’ve spent a semester referencing Old Spice as an example of successful online advertising. I was sad to see the absence of The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.

The Man Your Man Could Smell Like
The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

Some are hailing Momsong as shear brilliance, others claim it’s nightmarishly disturbing. One Youtube commenter mused, “Is there such a thing as a REVERSE Oedipus complex? ‘Cause if there is then that Old Spice commercial definitely has it.” Personally I believe the genius lies in a viral ad that not only pulls in views and gets people buzzing, but also generates sales in the process. I’ve watched many a quirky, uncomfortable Skittles ad in my life and never been tempted to buy a bag.