On The Warc Blog: viral video and emotion

08 March 2010

LONDON/WASHINGTON: This week, posts on The Warc Blog discussed what makes for a successful viral video campaign, and how emotion can play a key role in engaging consumers.

Duncan Southgate, global innovation director at Millward Brown, previewed the digital planning presentation he will give at Warc's Measuring Advertising Performance 2010 conference.

More specifically, he provided a variety of examples of recent spots that have gone on to achieve considerable viral traction across the web.

These include ads from Old Spice, Audi, Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart, all of which have garnered well over one million "views" on YouTube, the video-sharing platform, to date.

More broadly, however, Southgate said "these ads are the exception, rather than the rule", meaning most brands will need paid-for media like TV and cinema, or online placement, to reach this goal.

Overall, Millward Brown's research has shown that ads which truly "go viral" must have LEGS – that is, be "Laugh out loud funny, Edgy, Gripping or Sexy."

Campaigns fitting this description may be suitable for the recently-launched Warc Prize for Ideas and Evidence, which was the subject of a post by Carlos Grande, the editor of Warc.

The Prize is a global search to identify innovations in effective communications, and offers a $10,000 (€7,381; £6,522) cash prize to the authors of the best case study uploaded to www.warc.com/prize.

On a similar theme, Orlando Wood, the innovation director at Brainjuicer, suggested that "emotion has an absolutely central role in the effectiveness of advertising."

Several recent communications efforts have demonstrated this process in practice, including Cadbury's Gorilla and Comparethemarket's Aleksandr the Meerkat in the UK.

"This isn't to say that good message-based advertising doesn't work at all, because it does and can still work even now," Wood asserted.

"It's just that we are learning that there are more efficient approaches that can work harder for you, that are better suited to a modern digital age."

Simon Law, a strategist and planner, highlighted in a separate post that issuing a rallying cry can be essential in making a mark on social media, something "polite" British brands may find difficult to do.

Moreover, Law said this approach need not be overwhelmingly positive, but can actually be negative in tone in order to achieve the required result.

Data sourced from Warc