Cardo's creative team dreamed up the idea, but Paris-based agency Last Fools shot and produced the videos. They show a group of friends sitting around a living room coffee table trying to cook kernels of popcorn with their cell phones. "All we did was post the videos and the 9.4 million viewers took it from there," says Kathryn Rhodes, Cardo's national marketing director. "They've turned into an urban legend. People are trying to copy the videos, and when they can't pop the kernels, they post a comment asking, 'Am I not using the right popcorn or cell phone?'"
Rhodes estimates Cardo's Web site has experienced double the traffic in the past two weeks since the first video launched. The company released three videos--American, French and Japanese versions--posted within days of each other, staggering the releases to keep momentum and consumer curiosity building. YouTube account users bobtelo8 and benzin513 posted the clips.
Forrester Research senior analyst Brian Haven says it's an attempt to communicate with people who have shorter attention spans and many options for entertaining content. "Marketing messages are not working as well as they once did," he says. "Companies are quickly learning they have to be more like media companies that create entertaining and useful content for consumers to pay attention."
Measuring success from these entertaining videos requires metrics. Online makes it a little easier to track results, but the trick, Haven says, is turning the clicks into sales. It could change how Cardo positions the marketing strategy of future ads to determine what ratio of video impressions and people imbedding the video on their Web sites translates into Bluetooth headset purchases.
While the power generated by cell phones cannot make popcorn kernels pop, the company makes a marketing claim on the Cardo Web site that their Bluetooth headsets reduce the amount of power going to users' ear. The visuals have proved to get people talking, too.
Consumers took an interest in Bluetooth and mobile phone headsets since states like Connecticut, New Jersey and New York initiated hands-free driving laws. Washington and California turn hands free July 1. Heightened awareness for the technology and laws has led to an increase in appeal and sales.
The amateur-style videos have a similar feel to those produced by longelygirl15 creators Greg Goodfried; Miles Beckett and Mesh Flinders in 2006. The trio hired an actress to play Bree, who opened her bedroom and life to viewers on the Web, who did not know the videos were scripted. The buzz from bloggers sparked questions as to whether the 16-year-old video star was real or fake. The creators launched the online video pilot to market a Web site that explored storytelling online.