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Video Virality: Can Your Brand go ‘Gangnam Style?’

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When you talk about advertising campaigns, it’s hard not to mention video. When you’re talking about video, it’s even harder not to mention the word ‘viral.’ It’s easy to be blinded by the dollar signs in your viral jackpot fantasy, but advertisers must beware the gamble. After all, you wouldn’t quit your job to pursue a career in lottery winnings would you?

With the Super Bowl tomorrow comes a plethora of new and expensive TV advertisements that will either have us in stitches or scratching our heads. Not every company has the bankroll to purchase instant virality by bidding upwards of $3 million for a 30-second spot. Actually, some companies will spend millions of dollars on their Super Bowl ad and it will be a complete dud, maybe even drive thousands of customers away. So, why do they do it?

Advertisers continue to try and solve for ‘x’ in the “video gold” equation. Typical substitutions for the variable are humor, sex, cuteness and controversy. Of course, video gold always lies within the eye of the viewer. What one consumer finds hilarious, another will find offensive. What some advertisers think is the perfect message, may go over the viewers’ heads completely. No matter what the x factor is, the payoff for advertisers is often the same – number of viewers.

Chances are you’re probably one of the 1.2 billion views of Psy’s YouTube sensation “Gagnam Style.” Psy was a nobody just a mere 7 months ago, but with the help of his curiously enchanting showmanship and the lightning speed at which videos travel the web today, he’ s now a globally recognized brand. Did I mention that video gold is in the eye of the viewer? You may find the contents of Gangnam Style to be sheer nonsense, but you’ve seen it and for many advertisers that’s enough.

Whether or not you want TV or the internet to be your means of distribution, video can always be an excellent way to get a message to potential consumers. Super Bowl advertisers are willing to sell the farm for a chance to be seen on the year’s biggest television stage.  If you have a giant advertising budget with money to blow – more power to you. As for most of us, our time and resources are better spent on a quality spot with a clear-cut message for a targeted audience. A video tour of your office culture or demo of your new product line might not go viral, but if done properly, will serve its purpose and more than pay for itself in business.

No need to take your brand Gangnam Style. Embrace video advertising, but capturing lightning bottle is just too rare and expensive.

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