Last night while watching TV I was surprised to see those cute cuddly Xtranormal bears er..dogs from the iPhone 4 viral video made popular on YouTube. Instead of debating the merits of Apple this time they were promoting Geico.
It was really a duh moment. What a clever, easy way to capture people’s attention and automatically tap into something that was culturally relevant. This worked for a couple of reasons.
1. Geico isn’t afraid to try someting new.
2. Geico knows at the end of the day people want to be entertained whether it is a talking lizard or a pig with pinwheels.
3. Geico puts the customer first and then cleverly weaves in their message. If people love these little robotic cartoon characters, then let’s give them the little robotic cartoon characters.
On a side note, later that night a commercial for CarFax appeared along with an animal mascot – Car Fox. It reminded me of the simple play off of Geico / Gecko, but this didn’t work at all. The Fox looked stiff like he was clearly a puppet, had little personality, and evoked no emotion from me. Point being, you can’t just throw an animal in your ad and call it a day.
Back to Geico, social media is a great place for marketers to get a pulse on what’s making people smile these days. What crazy video has gone viral, what games have errupted across Facebook, what topics are trending on Twitter? If you are smart and use this to your advantage, you can be relevant very quickly to a mass audience. You just have to have the courage to try and the willingness to listen.
I’m not a sports fan, boo hiss on me, I know. But I am a fan of smart and creative ideas, so I took note of Indiana Pacer Roy Hibbert’s latest Area 55 effort. Roy, who wears number 55 on the court, bought 55 season tickets and is creating his own section of the craziest hardcore Pacers fans in the stadium. To enter, he asked fans to submit a 30- second video stating why you should be a part of Area 55. Roy and his teammates will then judge the fans in person. Roy’s been touting the contest on Twitter @Hoya2aPacer and has the contestants upload their videos on YouTube gaining even more exposure.
What a great way to get fans involved and pumped up pre-season, and what a great marketing effort by Roy Hibbert. You better believe the networks will be panning Area 55 to see the excitement and you can’t talk Area 55 without mentioning number 55 – Roy Hibbert. Great PR for him even if he isn’t having a good game. Sometimes the best ideas don’t always come from the marketing departments, but those in the trenches, even if Roy’s trench involves a pretty sweet paycheck.
Let’s be honest, we love to laugh at people’s misfortunes – take Fail Blog – or just laugh at odd things in general – take Double Rainbow guy or talking dog who says “Batman.” But so often the subjects of this laughter have to sit back and just watch the comments and views rack up without having much power. (Unless they are lucky enough to get a Tosh.0 web redemption, but what are the chances of that?)
So I say here’s to you Double Rainbow guy for making some money with your new Double Rainbow iPhone app. I’m willing to pay you $.99 for the good chuckle you gave me. And here’s to you Antoine Dodson for inspiring the very catchy “Bed Intruder” song. I’m willing to drop cash on iTunes to support you as well.
I think it is great these YouTubers are taking back some power and turning their 15 minutes of fame into something lucrative. It will be interesting to see if this becomes more of the norm.