Viral video marketing – the new advertising?

There was an article in the Guardian recently which talked about “viral branded content” and the top 10 viral videos of 2013. ( The secret to viral video marketing | Technology | theguardian.com )

The winner was Dove with its Real beauty sketches Dove Real Beauty Sketches – YouTube film which shows FBI-trained forensic artist Gil Zamora sketching portraits of women from their own descriptions, and from the descriptions of strangers, clearly struck a chord with global audiences who recognised that, when it comes to personal appearance, women are often their own worst critics.

But what struck me in the article was the phrase:

“Creating the best possible content is a good start, of course, and promoting that content should be the next step.

“Viral hits ride the zeitgeist, they capture the imagination,” says Whatley – but they also “have significant investment behind them to ensure that enough eyes turn into enough clicks and enough shares.”

In other words, Real Beauty Sketches did not succeed on emotional resonance alone. It was also backed up by a rock-solid media planning, distribution and public relations strategy.”

Back in the day when I was a budding marketer, I remember a debate we had with our advertising agency where they argued that people buy ads as much as they buy products. In other words, a well-made, creative, engaging ad was as much a part of the product experience as the physical product itself.

It seems to me that what this article is saying is that the same principles apply – great creative content, emotional resonance and a brand proposition backed up by effective media planning, distribution and integrated PR.

Only the channels have changed since, from 30/60 second films on TV then to video content on the web now.

plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose….

Is competition necessary in schools?

I was struck this week by a study of 1,000 eight- to 16-year-olds and a similar number of parents which revealed that mothers and fathers are often more anxious about the result of school games than their children are.

The report, compiled by the MCC and Chance to Shine, the cricketing charity which promotes the game in state schools, reveals competition is a key reason why parents watch their children play, whereas 64 per cent of teenagers said they would be relieved or “not bothered” if there were no emphasis on winning or losing in school games.

Many people have expressed concern that too many schools are failing to organise competitive sports games due to fears that it exposes children to a sense of failure if they lose.

On www.debate.org the respondents to the question “is competition necessary in the learning process” are evenly split between yes and no:

“Healthy competition should exist: providing the opportunity for competition allows for progression. In life we learn from our mistakes, losing is not necessarily a mistake but we can learn from it. Competition also allows an adult or child that they might not always win, or that they might not always be first, everyone has they’re (sic) strengths and weaknesses.”

On the other hand:

“No, it encourages elitism and destroys equality: Competition is an unjust and elitist system which destroys equality and encourages Elitism. In this system which is becoming increasingly anti-worker, elitist and imperialist especially we must do whatever we can to struggle for equality and against elitism. The elite are always corrupt and competition is really unjust. All people must be equal. Generation Y is even having big trouble finding jobs because of competition and the large amount of pressure it puts on everyone.”

I wonder what previous generations would have made of these two statements?

Winning and losing, accepting victory and defeat and learning from them (as Kipling said: “If you can make one heap of all your winnings and risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss, and lose, and start again at your beginnings and never breathe a word about your loss”) and striving to be better and successful are what underpin progress. Being exposed to failure is something we all have to learn – taking the positives out of setbacks and starting over.

Also expressed in the report was a concern about the selling-off of school playing fields, often for private developments such as housing. The Government insists that all applications have to be approved personally by the Secretary of State for Education. However, campaigners say this has failed to halt the erosion of land. What was that about the battle of Waterloo being won on the playing fields of Eton?

However, to return to the debate on whether competition is necessary in the learning process, there was this thoughtful contribution:

“Competition vs. Collaboration: In the 21st century we need to rely more and more on working together not against each other, in order to promote collaboration we need to teach our students how to work together towards a common goal, as the results will be far greater from a common effort than that of an individual. Competition promotes the opposite, success at all cost and often at the cost of your classmates”

Maybe so, but do you see the United Nations applying this anytime soon?