THE BOOZE BIN
By Rebekah Polster (@BekInBklyn)
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it make a sound?
If you make a video for a client, post it on YouTube and it doesn’t go viral, did it ever happen?
Sadly, yes. On the bright side though, you’re not alone. Time after time, a client has said, I want a viral video. Great, I want to finish my novel and win a Pulitzer, but that isn’t happening any time soon.
The Proactive Report posted an article about how to make a video go viral. Listing such elements as having a network of influencers to send the video to, a video that will capture attention, and maintaining that video, or keeping an eye on it so that you can Re-tweet as necessary. That’s great, and many videos around the world have accomplished that, not necessarily from a brand perspective, but from a personal perspective, capturing an audience that is instantly attracted to the newest, latest video craze (Example: Gangnam Style).
I have searched far and wide, and have not come across a video for a wine brand that has one million hits – they don’t even make it into six-figures. Wine brands have message points (also known as baggage); they are all about education, the background, the history… you get the picture. Even the big names in the wine industry, from Sutter Home to Mondavi to Yellow Tail, have only their commercials to get the word out, and because of U.S. regulations in the ad industry for wine, there’s not much umph.
As for videos though, Gary Vaynerchuk of WineLibraryTV has the most hits if you compare him to a wine brand, and that is mostly about education. But Gary Vaunerchuk isn’t talking on behalf of a specific brand; he’s talking on behalf of himself, a different situation when it comes to going viral.
Furthermore, College Humor posted a mock-commercial wine video, Second Cheapest, which received over 262,000 views. But again, this isn’t a brand, it’s a comedy. More important, it’s poking fun at the wine industry. Did this receive all those hits because of how it portrays what is usually conceived as a stuffy industry?
Spirits and beers, however, have found a happy medium. With both promotional and commercial videos, these brands have managed not to get bogged down with the troubles that the wine industry has, and they have gone outside the box to create excitement and entertainment, all while incorporating their brand story.
One that has gone completely commercial, with little to no brand identity in their viral videos, is Heineken: its videos are geared completely towards its consumers in a fun and entertaining manner, gaining traction to receive over 12.5 million views for a commercial that first appeared three years ago. Although, with Heineken’s recent sponsorship of the upcoming James Bond film, whatever videos it has lined up, those numbers will increase for 2012, most likely into 2013.
Spirit brands, too, have found new ways to make their videos become viral. Take for example Absolut, which has gone the music video route in order to gain traction (see Gangnam Style) by partnering with major musicians like Swedish House Mafia. Of course, Absolut and Heineken are brands with millions of dollars behind them, so to create a video that can become viral is turnkey.
One of the best examples is Johnnie Walker – The Man Who Walked Around the World; with 1.7 million views, it was one of the most successful campaigns that premiered at the beginning of “viral videos” in September 2009. Since then, many companies have tried to copy this format, and include their brands in funny and entertaining ways.
When I first began in public relations, making a video go viral was unheard of. In 2007, I worked on a wine brand and tried to incorporate a video contest on YouTube. It was a complete failure. The idea was there, but the execution was lacking, as my colleagues and I had no clue how to position it; promoting it was obviously not enough.
Things have certainly changed since then. It’s a whole new world for videos – everything is being posted and Tweeted and passed around, only to have the next cool thing happen five minutes later. I hope that wine brands will soon jump on the bandwagon to get the word out about their brands, to have people talk, and to be excited about them, even if it means skipping over some identity issues. And once they do, I’m sure there will be another platform that will become the next big thing, and we will hear the brands say, I want my 4D image to go 5D viral.