Live from New Orleans at WOMMA: How To Use YouTube As An Effective Marketing Tool

These days it's pretty much the Holy Grail. But just what does it take to mount a successful, conversation-worthy campaign for your products on YouTube?

Apparently $1298.68.

That was Founder Pinny Gniwisch's total budget for his YouTube marketing campaign, which started accidentally with a video called Bubbe that generated a half million hits. Fast forward to a now well-integrated plan complete with 1500 subscribers to his YouTube channel, hundreds of emails a day - including a few marriage proposals - and a growing database primed to add Ice's new videos to MySpace and Facebook. He's now busy planning for Mother's Day, moving beyond his guerilla interview format and adding a sweepstakes with lots of 'ice' as the prize.

And then there's a pole-dancing Cupid, a Crazy Bride and Resource Interactive's Mark Hillman's vision of the concept of 'Brandertainment.'

The action at YouTube is fast and furious -and that's not just the lawyers. As more and more experienced marketers jump on board, many of them willing to embrace the admitted 'chaos' and lack of control in exchange for a million hits a day when a video lands on YouTube's front page, new tips and tricks are emerging. Culled from today's seminar, here are Mark's 'Rules of Brandertainment' on what to think about when considering a video opportunity:

Always go entertainment over brand.

Make it feel low budget. The higher quality the less the video tends to spread.

Find something that's already accepted and back your brand into it.

Make it feel chaotic.

Keep it loose.

Be brave.

"It's scary to put stuff out there that you're not controlling," Hillman said. But people don't want to go to consumer package goods web sites. They want to go where they think cool things are happening."

Consumers clearly thought that Crazy Bride, a Unilever experiment in which a bride goes psycho with a sharp pair of scissors, was cool. The video generated some 3.3 million views. It also wreaked havoc with Hillman's rules.

On one hand, Crazy Bride was so chaotic, so loose, that it looked completely real. On the other hand, when viewers found out it wasn't real, they felt tricked. Hillman used it as an example of how a video experiment can go astray.

"It was a train wreck," says Hillman, explaining that one of the company's VPs had to explain that even though they never intended to trick anyone, it apparently did happen.

Herbal Essences' Dump Cupid turned out to be a successful solution to trying out the viral waters. Resource Interactive worked on the campaign, which was an integrated effort by several agencies of record at Procter & Gamble. In three weeks, the spots generated some 2.5 million views, supported by an integrated offline campaign, including a giant Cupid's arrow in Times Square.

Another sign of success: when your viewers create their own videos based on yours or creatively participate in your product's promotion.

When a viewer found a giant arrow photo on Flickr and sent it to them, Resource knew they were reaching their audience. Then they discovered an animated version of Dump Cupid posted on YouTube. Zing!

In fact, Dump Cupid was one of the top five visited brand websites at Procter & Gamble.

And even better -- you don't need a pricey Joe Pytka to pull it off. Hillman estimated that the cost of the package of videos was in the $60,000 range -- all shot in one day.

"There's a new breed of director who's hungry and really wants to do it. We're getting things in the $38,000-40,000 range."

As Pinny is the brand, he diligently answers every email and comment he gets, building a solid list. But Hillman doesn't suggest jumping into answering for a larger brand. "It would be like the brand getting too involved in the conversations."

And more quirkiness - Herbal Essence's fans sent in hundreds of their own stories, which Resource posted. The majority were so positive that a ranting ad blogger wondered if they were real.

"They were so optimistic, people assumed they couldn't be real. But they were!" Hillman said.

Of course they haven't heard from me yet. Here in New Orleans' humidity, I'm not sure anything, even Herbal Essences, can rescue my hair. And I think I just saw Dump Cupid in a jazz club on Bourbon Street.

Editor's Note: This article was modified after its original posting.

Next story loading loading..