Susan Reynolds drew this Fruit of the Loom video with Vince Gill to my attention, and it illustrates several important points about marketing and advertising and how it is changed with the advent of social media and networking, in the era of TiVo, YouTube and Facebook.
- In the post-TiVo world, there is a great premium on great creative in advertising. You may have seen the :30 version of this ad on TV, in which Mr. Grape’s cell phone rings as the music is swelling to its peak. If ads are interesting to watch, people are less likely to skip them.
- Great creative should draw attention to the brand being advertised, not just to the creative itself. How many clever ads have you seen that make you laugh, but you can’t remember what product or service was being advertised? Anybody over age 30 is likely to recall the Fruit Guys from previous Fruit of the Loom advertising. So even without an explicit underwear message in the TV :30, people get it.
- Viral Distribution is Free. The full version of the ad is over two minutes long would be prohibitively expensive on TV, and yet it costs Fruit of the Loom nothing for distribution through YouTube.
- Facebook multiplies the YouTube effect. YouTube placement makes it easy for people to recommend a video commercial to friends, and in Facebook it’s almost automatic. I had seen the :30 a few times on TV, but then saw in my Facebook News Feed that Susan had posted it on her profile. I commented on it and also posted it to my profile, which placed it in my mini-feed and in the News Feed for my friends. I also sent it directly to 9-10 of my friends. As my friends interact with the video in Facebook, the news will spread virally to their friends as well.
Everything about this video is done well, from the soulful playing of the Fruit Guys to the groupies mouthing the words as they gaze at the performers to the touching home videos. It isn’t slapstick viral and it probably won’t get millions of views, but this is about underwear, after all. You need to have reasonable expectations.
Note that every step after putting the video on YouTube was free for Fruit of the Loom. As of right now the two-minute version has been seen 5,300 times on YouTube. It will be interesting to track how this does over time.
Update: Here’s another good Fruit of the Loom music video from last year. Between the two versions I’ve seen on YouTube it’s had over 90,000 views so far.