3 Big Brands That Don’t Ignore YouTube

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Back when advertising and media executives wore power suits and indulged in two martini lunches, the idea of pitching the television pilot you spent years writing was far-fetched, to say the least.

Now imagine that television series you hoped to write was about an annoying talking orange and his group of fruity friends. I don’t think a bag full of cash and a last name of Spielberg would even get you into the parking lot.

But the landscape of media has completely changed.

The barriers to entry are low, and in some cases, have completely crumbled as content creators ride the wave of social media. Remember that annoying orange? Well, he’s Mr. Annoying Orange to you, and after monumental success on Twitter, he was picked up by the big leagues – The Cartoon Network. It’s no CBS or NBC, but if you’re an animated orange with a poorly green-screened human mouth, what more can you ask for?

The success of the Annoying Orange is just one of many cases where unique content that doesn’t quite fit on traditional television programming has been brought to YouTube and exploded in popularity. It’s the essence of “going viral” and building an audience.

There’s no questioning its reach, but compared to Facebook and Twitter, YouTube is arguably underutilized from a branding perspective. A majority of the content is repurposed or contains no purpose at all.

Brands committed to creating engaging and sharable content have a unique opportunity to gain an audience through the use of video.

So how are some brands finding success and getting YouTube views? Let’s look at a few examples.

1. Google Chrome

Google Chrome’s “The Web Is What You Make Of It” campaign included a number of videos featuring the different ways people use the web to do amazing things. One such video, “Dear Sophie,” became the most successful video of the series (over 4 million views) that didn’t feature someone with the last name Gaga.

Using compelling storytelling, the video showcased a father using Google products to keep a digital scrapbook of his daughter’s childhood. The video was so adorable it practically dared you not to share it. While this campaign wasn’t exclusive to YouTube (Sophie appeared in its own TV spot), its viral success proves how valuable brand storytelling on YouTube can be (at a much lower cost than a traditional television ad).

2. Smartwater

I’m not sure why any had not thought of this before (especially me), but Smartwater decided to cast Jennifer Aniston in her own sex tape. It’s not what you think, though, sorry.

The title draws viewers into a video chock full of all the necessary viral ingredients: cute puppies, dancing babies, crotch kicking, a strange cameo from YouTube star Keenan Cahill, and more. Oh, and they managed to get the bottled water in there too, to the tune of over 10 million views. You know you want to watch it.

3. Tipp-Ex

Tipp-Ex’s “A hunter shoots a bear” (click link for best experience) was one of the earlier incarnations of a branded “Choose Your Own Adventure” within YouTube.

But luckily, using Tipp-Ex whiteout, the title of the video as well as the fate of the unsuspecting bear is put into the hands of the viewer.  Tipp-Ex deserves applause for their wildly entertaining and interactive video that takes advantage of digital features you won’t find offline. The intro video alone has scored over 18 million views. So really, what are you going to do?

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If your brand wants to embrace video, primarily YouTube, in your social media mix, don’t be afraid. You don’t have to pitch your ideas to a bunch of executives in a stuffy boardroom anymore. We’re in the post-advertising age now. Simply focus on creating content that your audience will truly care about and feel compelled to share.

What other brands are finding success on YouTube?

PSSST…

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