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“The potential rewards of a viral campaign are massive, which makes it exciting for brave businesses”

and what doesn’t – slick promotional videos may be right for one company, while rougher, cutting-edge material has the ability to grab attention in totally different ways and may suit a different type of business. However, while the potential for creativity

is exciting, it should be tied to specific business aims. “There has been a big marketplace for ‘talking heads’ type videos,” says Liam Le Guillou, Creative Director at Spike Productions. “We encourage new ideas but it depends on the goals of the business. It is about listening and finding out what the goal is and what they want to achieve.”

Horses for courses That the audience must always be taken into account is a crucial point. It would be futile to make a video that appeals to no one. At Spike, Le Guillou explains that they achieve this by adopting the mantra of making “films that we would want to watch.” Similarly, Riddell believes that content needs to be to-the-point, relevant, targeted,

insightful and clearly delivered. “Using video without these considerations can result in, at best, it being ignored and at worst, provoking negative feedback from employees, customers and the wider public,” he explains. “Particularly if distributed through a social media platform, video can be open to public comment which can be difficult to control.” The question of platform is important

when delivering video to consumers. Without the right platform, people may never see the video or, if it becomes viral it could take on a life of its own out of your control. Le Guillou, however, remains positive

about the potential for videos to ‘go viral’: “I can’t see a viral campaign being negative. If it’s being talked about, then it’s being talked about, love it or hate it,” he says. “The potential rewards are massive, which makes it exciting for brave businesses.” The delivery platform also affects the cost.

If you stream the video from your website, you’ll pay for the bandwidth to deliver this. On the other hand, YouTube delivers video for

When Samsung went viral

BACK IN 2009, electronics giant Samsung used online video to launch its range of LED TVs. Looking for a viral effect from their marketing campaign, they engaged The Viral Factory, a London-based online film production agency to come up with something unique and unexpected. Nobody, least of all Samsung, could have foreseen the film that hit the net in March 2009. Filmed on a Welsh hillside, Extreme Shepherding took off almost

immediately and had received more than 3.5 million views by the end of its first week. The video involved LED-clad sheep being herded in formation to create such unlikely images as a giant version of the 1980s video game Pong, exploding fireworks and a winking Mona Lisa. Although it’s difficult to measure the return on investment, there’s

no doubt that the video immediately raised awareness of Samsung’s LED TV products. To date, the glowing sheep have clocked up a hugely impressive 15 million views on YouTube, and their antics have generated global media coverage with appearances on major US news networks and articles in most British broadsheets. The beauty of video as a medium is that costs are kept to a minimum.

Reaching an audience of 15 million people through TV advertising would have cost hundreds of thousands in media placement alone but with free

52 August/September 2011

distribution via YouTube, the costs were focused on the production: five shepherds, 400 sheep and 43,200 LEDs... and the agency fees, of course! Samsung were clearly delighted with the results, Bryan Lee,

Corporate Marketing Director at Samsung Malaysia Electronics called it “a bona fide internet sensation” and went on to describe the video as “silly, joyful and a perfect teaser to audiences all over the world for Samsung LED TVs.”

free, but can have disadvantages. “You risk losing control,” says Matthew Robins. “The video could appear in an objectionable context or with adverts overlaid.” A middle path is to team up with media

outlets to distribute videos of conferences or events to the outlet’s subscriber base, minimising risk and targeting your audience. That said, risk-averse Channel Island firms shouldn’t completely discount the likes of YouTube, particularly when companies like Investec are happy to use it. Video has quickly become an important

marketing tool, boosted by free-to-air platforms and a huge rise in available bandwidth, but perhaps its most important attribute is its ability to engage people in ways that text cannot. Channel Island companies should assess the power of video and treat it like all marketing tools – as one of many to help firms communicate with customers. n

KIRSTEN MOREL is’s technology writer

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