The United States Marine Corps has launched a YouTube brand channel that gives site visitors a Pandora-like feature that allows them to program and explore content about the corps. It takes a cue from President Obama -- connecting with site visitors through social media.
JWT Atlanta created the channel.
The USMC content hub is the first-of-its-kind YouTube channel for the armed forces, although a handful of companies in the private sector use the technology to let visitors program their own content. A circular player features back-end logic and an algorithm similar to Pandora.
The site serves content based on thumbs-ups from viewers, creating an individual experience for each person who views the page. The Become a Marine button lets visitors sign up for information without leaving the site. The entire interaction with the potential recruit now takes place on YouTube.
The agency created the channel in Flash, providing a better experience on the desktop rather than mobile. Jeff Small, director of creative technology for the WPP ad agency, said the target audience consumes lots of video in diverse ways, including "key influencers like parents and mentors."
The videos answer common questions about length of boot camp, physical fitness requirements, etc. The site also allows visitors to like the page on Facebook, follow tweets on Twitter, and find the Marines on Foursquare.
The Marines' YouTube page has 33,631 subscribers; 11,975,593 views; and about 23,679,338 minutes watched. On average the audience watches 1 minute 58 seconds of videos, compared with the average reported by YouTube as 15 seconds.
"A custom experience is increasingly important for today’s digital audience," said Courtney Kuhl Rose, head of public sector at Google. "Viewers expect the content they want, when they want it, and how they want it. The Marines deliver a tailored experience to its various audiences: potential recruits, friends, family and their community."
Rose called it a great example of how marketers can express their brand on YouTube, where they are free from traditional constraints of the 30- or 60-second ad spot.