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You Win Some, YouTube Some

Posted on Saturday, Jul 14th 2007

By Richard Laermer, Guest Author

You decided your latest widget from the widget factory needs to go viral. Your “marketing guy” says the best way to reach your youth market on a shoestring is to go about posting a vid on YouTube.
Before that happens, please take some time to consider how to make your new spot relevant to the viewers at home.

Truth be told, YT is a good way for you to stay in touch with the youth of today (and young adults too). But as common knowledge dictates time and again, just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean that you SHOULD. Or, in YouTube’s case, just because you post up the latest hopeful viral extravaganza, doesn’t mean you ought to bother—at least not without some careful consideration beforehand: Be wary, intrepid brand manager, ask yourself a few tough questions before taking the leap.

First, begin by considering this important question: “Is my product relevant in a user-generated sort of way?”

Before you post on your site some awesome new contest (ANC) where consumers compete by producing the rad-est online commercial, be sure to think about whether that ad will end up like some other pile of product placement dookie!

Just because fools are willing to make a two-minute video lauding benefits of your latest line of tween targeted body spray, and just because these citizen videographers comprise your desired demo, doesn’t mean anything you show will be relevant to netizens at large. And in fact, the opposite can apply, which of course sucks.

In the event your new video piece fails boldly to resonate with the crucial youth demo, watch out for a viral marketing treat on par with Ebola. That’s where the Internet has an amazing capacity to connect people to bite your company in its shiny digital ass.

If the product basically stinks, your new viral video may be subject to the demo’s second favorite pastime next to surfing sites, which is unleashing endless scorn upon those who fail to amuse them. Let’s take a look at the simple phrase “Head On/ Apply directly to your forehead.” So, before you suffer this fate, consider whether or not your new campaign might be fodder for tomorrow’s water cooler banter (we call that bad exposure).

After all, just because something is user-generated doesn’t mean it was generated well.

Which drives home our point all the more: Letting the people upload brings out the whims of everyone. So good luck to you if you think the latest, greatest way of reaching the youth is there for everyone.

Maybe that’s the last word on this topic. Well, for now…

I’m Richard Laermer, coauthor of the new “Punk Marketing” volume. I stand by the above. Let me know how you feel.

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