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Internet Video – The Next ‘Big’ Marketing Theme?

Posted in: Marketing,Technology by Richard Hearne on October 26, 2006
Internet Marketing Ireland

It appears that the clever marketing folk are really beginning to turn on to the idea of rich Internet media as a marketing channel.

We’ve seen the recent acquisition of YouTube by Google and the introduction of video.myspace.com. And with Google’s big money purchase (and News Corps efforts to purchase YouTube themsleves) it is evident that the smart money is willing to gamble on video being the killer app of the near future. (That gamble may be paying off – YouTube had 81,019,000 visitors in September 2006 making it the 14th most popular property worldwide, Source: ComScore.)

So are we on the cusp of a shift toward Internet-driven video marketing? More and more television adverts are ending up with their very own streaming websites. Advertising campaigns are integrating Internet elements as much more than a simple afterthought. To me this gives an indication of where the advertisers are looking.

Here are some great examples of recent marketing campaigns that have leveraged Internet video:

  • Dove

    This is just a great campaign. By making people look at how they perceive beauty Dove is managing to align their brand with reality rather than the perception created by the beauty industry. The video is available at www.campaignforrealbeauty.com, but the real kicker for me is the use of social networks to propagate the campaign. Over on YouTube there have been over 50,000 views of the video:

  • Sony Bravia

    The latest Bravia advert directed by Jonathan Glazer has been getting quite some attention the last while. Again the marketers have given the advert its own website, while YouTube has been generously seeded with the video which, judging by a quick search, has had well over 100,000 views:

    The even greater beauty of this advert is that user-generated video of its making is starting to appear. This is the ultimate in self-perpetuating advertising (your audience creates the adverts for you):

    (Does anyone else feel a greater appreciation for the advert after watching that?)

  • Wheeeeee

    Using the Internet as a distribution channel isn’t just for the big-budget corporations of the world. Even a small non-profit organisation barely a few years old can take advantage of Web video. Ok, so perhaps they’re a wee bit more Net-savvy than most companies out there, but Mozilla have shown the potential to get your message across without the paying old-media prices:

    Over 400,000 views for that one ad alone!

  • Nike Time

    Back to a real heavy-hitter. Now it’s not like Nike have cash problems and can’t afford to use main-stream media, but this next clip has over 7 million views over on YouTube. The ad owes nothing to creative skill of the creators but everything to the creative skill of the subject (if you like football you can’t help but love this):

    The only real expense is the sponsorship deal (I shudder to imagine the magnitude of that figure) – those 7m+ views didn’t cost a penny more for Nike.

  • And the Irish?

    Well of course we have our very own Shamrog Isle, the clever Funda viral from a few months back, that fully utilised the Internet to distribute it’s message. The Funda video received almost 50,000 views and God knows how many blog posts and comments, and in case you missed it the first time around:

So as the cost of distribution (bandwidth) tends towards zero it becomes apparent that bandwidth-intensive media will migrate to, and become prevalent on, the Internet.

The interfaces we use to interact with the web are developing at pace, both from a technical perspective and a sociological one. Witness the rise of social networks and the new web2.0 interfaces that foster interactivity.

I think it’s only when you consider where we were and where we are that the shift really becomes apparent. In just five short years we have moved from quite simple on-line advertising techniques to rich interactive media such as video seeded in communities like YouTube.

And remember, video is still in its infancy – the viewing numbers above might not seem large but these are the early adopters. Just wait until things go mainstream.

I think Internet video as a marketing channel is poised to become big indeed.

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