Is Virality Better Than Product Content?

Maybe some marketing or advertising blog-folk can tell me what’s up..

You may have seen me post this video a couple of time over the past week (on Google+/Twitter) . I’ve been curious to see whether or not this (old, from 2010) Subaru advertisement would gain “Likes” and “Engagement” on the YouTube end (going to YouTube to comment). While I was attempting to measure capability of video-seeding, I discovered an interesting fact.

I had no idea what the commercial was selling me. So, if you watch the video (no, I am not getting money if you watch the video, it’s a 2 year old commercial), you’ll see dogs driving a Subaru out to go camping. They get to the camping spot and after some funny hi-jinks, they hear a wolf howl and they lock themselves in their Subaru.

While the video was clever and “cute” – at the end of the video. I had no idea what I was to expect from a Subaru. I actually had come up with this thing “Wolf Protection” as a sort of satire of what the video was showing us – but really, as someone who is not familiar with Subaru’s products, I have no idea what car that is… and aside from learning about Subaru’s automatic locks – I don’t know anything about the car or the brand besides the fact that they have cute advertising ideas.

Instead of product content, it seems like they went for pure entertainment factor – and they hope that an interested party will do their own research. But think of how we interact with content nowadays. Are you really going to want to leave your YouTube screen – where you are watching cute/funny dog videos – to try and figure out exactly what SUV that was – and its safety specs? I feel like advertisements should contain – somewhere – enough information in one place to satisfy big questions. What is the name of that SUV?! for example. If you’ve managed to draw the attention of someone – you’re not going to have it for very long – don’t waste the opportunity.

So – is this type of advertising strategy useful? I mean, here I am talking about it – so, that’s saying something I guess. Is this video successful?

3 Responses to “Is Virality Better Than Product Content?”

  1. April 12, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    You don’t see what you’re being sold here? Really? Paul (above) has some useful points about this kind of ad, but I think there’s something more essential going on here. Subaru is pushing at least three ideas about the brand:

    1 A Subaru can take you camping, and people who go camping do it in Subarus. (The whole camping idea.)

    2 A Subaru can keep you safe, and people seeking safety seek Subarus. (The “wolf locks.”)

    3 A Subaru will be comfortable and durable for your dogs, and we (as a company) like dogs, so we ought to know. (The “dog tested, dog approved” bit.)

    These seem very clear to me, and very relevant to the direct purpose of a car ad – selling cars.

    • April 18, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

      If I can’t see what I’m being sold – that’s a problem isn’t it? Chances are if someone asked me to give this a critical analysis – I could have come up with the same points you did… but do most people think that way?

  2. April 6, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    True media plans will often contain this component which when viewed in isolation may appear frivolous but they caught enough of your attention and share of mind such that the effectiveness of the media plan would – at a later stage – offer you the product message. Your propensity for receptiveness is being honed. Empirically without the viral element such classic media can be much higher cost, so the opportunity cost of not producing it is way in excess of including a viral element in a seeding stage of an advertising campaign. Put another way, the cost of that dog video is tiny compared to the potential final campaign uplift it – can – have.

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