Video Hits and Misses

A new report from Futurescape – From TV Ads toYouTube Anarchy – argues that for marketing through videosocial networks to succeed, it must "align itself with themembers instead of broadcasting at them,TV-style".

Success on YouTube and other video social networks can resultin millions of views from difficult-to-reach audiences. Butattaining such success is far from a simple matter. The reportshows that even the most attractive-sounding list of ingredientscan result in failure:

A short film starring supermodel Kate Moss wandering around in Agent Provocateur lingerie as directed by Mike Figgis (Internal Affairs, Leaving Las Vegas) should surely be a YouTube global hit. It was anything but. The most-viewed upload of “The Four Dreams Of Miss X – Part 1” was seen only 74,750 times over four months between September 2006 and January 2007.

Yet YouTube is a social universe in which a laughing baby can gain more than eight million views in three months.

Even comparing Kate Moss videos with each other, a fan-created slideshow of classic Kate photos gained almost as many views – 61,450 over four months – as the Agent Provocateur film.

In YouTube terms, this is what it is like when a piece of brand marketing is effectively ignored.

The reasons for this relative lack of success are unclear, atfirst:

It might be argued that the film was too long at six minutes, but the top-rated video “Evolution of Dance” (43 million views in 11 months) is the same length. It is not because Mike Figgis chose to shoot in black and white. The start of the Free Hugs campaign (9.5 million views) is black and white, too.


Yet video social networks need such marketing to succeed inorder to succeed themselves. Brands are also keen to hook intothe enormous audiences that are potentially available throughsuch networks, with falling confidence in mainstream televisionas a vehicle for communicating with young people bolstering thisdesire.

Achieving success in these networks does not simply meantransferring televisual material onto the networks. Videos mustalso fit in with the networks' culture. In social networks,the report argues, objects are the sites of social interaction,from self-expression to forming relationships. The networks alsooffer status to their active members, be that the most friendsor gold stars or guru status. Brands whose content encouragesinteraction through comments, variants and embedding are morelikely to succeed.

Analysing a series of successful and failed video campaignsfrom brands, the report devises a list of 'what works'and advice for running campaigns effectively.

The report is priced at £350 for a single-user licence. It isavailable through Futurescape’s website at:

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