Talk To Me – Part 3
Talk to Me Part 3
Written by @BryceBladon
If you haven’t already, start with part one of Bryce’s article here: Click Me First
Then Follow with Part 2 here: Click Me Next
On July 14, 2010, Old Spice launched the fastest growing online viral video campaign ever, garnering 6.7 million views after 24 hours. An additional 16 million million views were tallied after 36 hours. The Old Spice videos on YouTube have between 500,000 – 5 million views on average (and there are over 300 of them). These figures don’t include the views from television commercials or other, more traditional, forms of advertisement. More telling, the YouTube views come from people actively seeking out the content. When was the last time you went out of your way for to see a commercial?
The Old Spice campaign uses all three of the points of this article to a flourish. This collection of Terry Crews Old Spice commercials highlights why. Rarely does a second pass without something entertaining happening – and it does it while communicating Old Spice’s message effectively, concisely, and creatively. The technique has been imitated time and time again, but none so effectively as the original. The problem with these rip-offs is that they’re message is an imitation of a much more original and effective one. They sound like a hollow echo. I’m not left wanting a Dairy Queen burger or Edge shaving gel; I want to watch The Old Spice Guy do his thing. The simple explanation is that Old Spice advertising campaign realizes how empowered the audience is. No longer forced to sit and watch a commercial, audiences can breeze through the crap on DVR or skip (in most cases) the commercial before a YouTube video. A message that doesn’t assume an enraptured audience is forced to survive on its own merits which gives the advertisement a value and means the audience will, in turn, value it. This is a simple rule for any message and any work of art. Your audience won’t simply watch because you tell them to – you have to give them a reason. If possible, give them a bunch, and do it as soon as possible
I highlight the trend towards brevity in social media at the beginning of the article because that is the trend. It always has been. Communication evolves towards precision, brevity, and universality. This isn’t “dumbing down.” That’s a process where a message is hammered out of shape and into something easier to swallow. An effective message is a work of art. If you craft it right, there will be nothing to hammer away at. Further, something original (e.g. The Old Spice campaign) will get links, retweets, and reblogs on the merits of its novelty. If nobody has said it like this before, it’s never been said.
It doesn’t stop at the end of the reel. Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Blogger, YouTube, Vimeo – each online platform has potential as a voice box. If you’ve ever wondered how movies can command entire years and millions of dollars before even seeing the light of day, here’s why: everything, from the typeface of blu ray cover to the necessity of a period instead of a comma in the script, is crafted, honed, and polished in service of the message. The reality of films is scheduling, and you can’t halt such a complex behemoth because one gear is whining and running behind. But if you craft your film and it’s message from the ground up, there will be fewer extra parts to muck up the works. The value of clear communication is the difference between a message that reaches its audience and one that isn’t worth two seconds of their time.