Branded video reached new heights in 2013. More than 38% of new campaigns achieved more than 1 million views in 2013, compared with 26% in the year prior. And 5% of campaigns reached more than 10
million views, compared to 3% the year before.
In 2012, brands saw campaigns like Red Bull’s “Stratos,” Invisible Children’s “Kony 2012,” and Rovio’s
“Angry Birds Space” become mega viral hits. The result of that success was that brands began to see producing quality content – not just ads – as an important weapon in their
So in 2013, the name of their game was perfecting the brand story. And in this regard, many brands succeeded this year. Brands were able to drive big views consistently
throughout the year.
The biggest campaign of 2013, "Real Beauty Sketches,” came from video veteran Dove. This emotional campaign questions women's self-image with the help of a trained
FBI sketch artist. While the short film met with a warm reception, for the most part, some critics felt that the ad patronized women. But that debate didn't hurt the brand; the media coverage that
ensued only helped to lengthen the life of the video and drive views up to more than 136.2 million views.
Other brands that hit it big included Volvo Trucks, which emerged from obscurity with
“Live Test” starring Jean Claude Van Damme. Pepsi MAX pulled off a stunt in “Gordon Test Drive,” and Internet Explorer called on our nostalgia with “Child of the
So what does 2014 hold for branded video? Based on the successes of 2013, here are five trends that I think will flourish in the coming year:
cinematic content: The draw of branded video is the freedom it gives brands to tell their stories outside of the 30-second TV spot. So videos like True MoveH’s “Giving,” were
longer and more cinematic.
- Stoking the debate: Some of the biggest video stories in the 2013 came from brands that incited debate. Cheerios, for example, achieved its biggest success
to date with “Just Checking,” which opened a long debate about interracial families and their portrayal in the media late last year. Did they mean to start the debate? Probably not, but it
did keep their brand in headlines for weeks.
- More interactivity: Old Spice produced one of the most viral interactive campaigns with 2010’s “Responses.” It produced
another in 2012 with “Muscle Music,” which allowed viewers to create their own music inside of a video. And last year Intel and Toshiba released its third social film, “The Power
Inside,” which allowed viewers to shape the campaign’s story through social media. Interactive campaigns like these only work when viewers actually engage with them. As the video universe
gets more crowded, brands will be looking for unique ways to attract and engage viewers, and interactivity is a great way to do both.
- Real-time campaigns: At last year’s Super
Bowl, Oreo became the poster child for real-time marketing with its half-time tweet, while Coca Cola’s campaign changed based on the score of the game. Both brands had good feedback from their
campaigns, which seemed more relevant because of how timely they were.
- Encouraging user-generated content: Some of the most successful campaigns of the last year benefited from
user-generated content. Volvo Trucks’ “Live Test” generated more than 30 million of its more than 111 million views from user-generated content – spoofs, mashups, copies,
responses, etc. Besides showing how engaged viewers are with a brand’s campaign, user-generated content that takes off can extend the life of a campaign.
These trends – and
the more cinematic, provocative, imaginative, and engaging campaigns that they produce – will lead to one thing: views skyrocketing higher than ever before. As we have seen every year for the
past five years, overall views in 2014 will surpass 2013, as brands continue to break new ground and perfect their video storytelling and strategies.