As our lives become ever more cluttered with media, brands have had to get creative in their attempts to reach customers.
Viral videos showing cats playing pianos and laughing babies could easily be overlooked as Internet quirks, but sharing them online with friends has become a natural reaction for anyone with a social media account. That crucial step—watching and then sharing—has of course been picked up by companies who put their TV commercials online for people to share using social media. Once businesses realized the potential of viral videos, the social media element became integral to marketing campaigns, and measuring public awareness through social media channels became commonplace.
But some companies realized an even greater aspect of the viral phenomenon and began to make videos designed to be watched exclusively online. These could be longer than the restrictive TV commercial length of 30 seconds, and could be edgier, with more humor, quirkiness or risqué content than might be acceptable for prime-time television. Here are some of the best recent examples, to colorfully illustrate the point.
The Coca Cola Happiness Machine
This hidden-camera style video is two minutes long and clearly designed for sharing online. A Coca Cola machine dispenses free Coca Cola bottles… and then balloon animals, a pizza, and even a four-foot-long sandwich to a delighted student dining hall.
"The Motherhood," Featuring Fiat 500L
This one has been flying among moms on Facebook recently. At three minutes long it is the length of a music video and features a rapping mother with three kids showing off her oh-so-glamorous life of poopy diapers, nursing bras, and cesarean scars. The language and content wouldn’t make it onto a regular TV commercial, but moms have appreciated every second of it. And none of them will soon forget the Fiat 500L.
The Athlete Machine: Red Bull Kluge
A video that's nearly six minutes long would never work as a TV commercial, but the Red Bull brand is now synonymous with extreme sports in the minds of the public, and extreme sports videos were some of the first to go viral on the Internet. This one has it all: skydiving, skateboarding, stunt bikes, and more—all linked together by an awesome marble run-style machine.
Prada Presents "A Therapy"
Prada have spared no expense on this classy and humorous short film directed by Roman Polanski. A therapist (Ben Kingsley) finds it hard to concentrate on his self-absorbed patient (Helena Bonham Carter), when there is such a luxurious and wonderful distraction in the room.
The Next Big Thing is Already Here: Samsung Galaxy S III
This hilarious video pokes fun at the craze of waiting for hours outside stores for the latest product launch from Samsung’s trendy technology rival. Tech geeks will appreciate this one… and they’re just the type to share it online: 17 million views and counting!
Television advertising won’t be replaced any time soon, but an increasing amount of many brands’ marketing resources are going toward alternative Internet-based videos, which will never make it past the computer screen. As they push the boundaries of the Internet video format ever further they are becoming entertainment in their own right. And that's something worth sharing.