Tuesday, May 27, 2008

This Is Not Quite How You Do Viral

But it's not all that bad either. There are definitely some things working here—although "working" (as defined by ad/marketing people across the world as number of views on YouTube) remains to be seen as this most recently uploaded version only has about 300 views as of this posting. But taking a more comprehensive "view" of this viral attempt, I appreciate a few things:

1. Solid Timing: With the French Open just starting, tennis and Rafa are top of mind for (a handful of) sports fans.
1a. It seems Kia has been able to make this connection to one of the Grand Slams without actually paying for an expensive sponsorship of the tourney at Roland Garros.

2. Rewarding the Crossover Fan: Kia uses this top tennis star to promote its sponsorship of Euro 2008 soccer (yes, my readers are still predominantly American). Yet I'd venture to guess that many European soccer fans know Nadal. Some may also know (and Nadal fans of course know this and his Uncle Tony's past as a professional player) the Spaniard (not THE Spaniard) used to play futbol in his youth ('cause he's so old now). Anyone who has seen him on the tennis court has likely seen him sport some nasty foot skills. And word is his dream was to play striker for Real Madrid.

3. Catchy Title and Interesting Execution: "Nadal vs. Alien" is short and sweet. I know what I'm about to see but have no idea what I'm about to see. Therefore when both he and this alien take the form of MTV Celebrity Deathmatch claymation, it is unexpected and grabs my attention. The sound effects/Nadal noises are also pretty entertaining.

Yet for all this stuff that "works," one main thing is just not that cool. Let me direct you to the video description to the right of the video in image above. Yup, see that right there. Yup, there. Where they Kia (presumably the company or agency is user "euro2008kia") refer to its own video as "viral." Not so fast my car-y. (Pronounced Car E and in the creepy voice of the Wicked Witch of the West. It is not pronounced like Carrie - sorry all you SITC fans.) Anyway, this may not be the best move to make your video go viral. If you have to say it is, it probably isn't (like "cool"), and the corporate speak (even though you're not hiding that it's an ad, we really don't care if you didn't buy broadcast media) is a bit of a turn-off.

I do like that Kia actually responded to viewer feedback and made changes quickly (assuming it wasn't just some last-minute changes based on a senior marketing guy or gal's feedback) but truthfully you should have anticipated that having Nadal put his foot up a mini-Nadal's ass would stirred the pot. Either stand behind it (not so close and toes on the ground) and let that controversy propel you to this viral status you're so hoping for or put the more tame one up from the start so you don't have to start from scratch with the number of views. A bigger number equals greater security that you're passing on a gem. (Don't worry others thought it was funny too!)

Lastly, take a look at the bottom right of the image above. There is another upload of 11-seconds from this same user. I don't really get this. Are you worried that the web viewer is too starved for time to watch 2-minutes? This one actually has a stronger call to action at the end. It doesn't just show the site url and expect you to visit. It gives soccer fans a reason to visit—"Win a ticket" Euro 2008. Can someone tell me why this less than 2-second CTA didn't appear in the 2-minute version? I know it wasn't that it didn't fit into the traditional TV commercial time space because this isn't a TV ad! Did creatives convince you a promotion take away from the coolness, emotion, integrity and thus brand equity of the spot? Jokes!

Either way, I applaud Kia's entering the online space with something unexpected (definitely different from their good but mostly forgettable TV spots). This, I just realized, does deliver on their tag-line, "The Power to Surprise." Now imagine if they started taking this tagline more literally and using it as a platform for communications (if not product development, etc.). That could be fun.

Watch the full two-minutes of "online viral content," which I'm calling Rafakia (not to be confused with Rafiki from The Lion King) because I like mashing up words to create new terminology, here.

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