So far this year, we have witnessed the success of a number of viral videos. Let us take a look at some of these and the learnings they offer with regards to online brand-building and marketing efforts. In our previous post in this series, we examined Dove’s recent “Patches” video. Now let us take a look at another example of innovative online promotional material.
Call of Duty released a trailer for its latest video game, featuring Kevin Spacey. In itself, this is not so remarkable – companies often tie up with big stars to promote their products. What makes this particular video interesting is the fact that it capitalises on the widespread popularity of a character being played by Spacey in a popular ongoing television show, “House of Cards”. In the US political drama, Spacey brings to life a cynical, Machiavellian politician who will do anything in his quest for power. The Call of Duty trailer features a version of this same character, played by Spacey, echoing his manipulative, power-hungry narrative voice.
This strategy draws on existing knowledge amongst consumers to create interest and buzz. People were already familiar with Spacey in a similar avatar, so the trailer resulted in a whole lot of online chatter. The video went straight to the top of numerous viral video charts, reaching over 15 million views and more than 160,000 shares within a fortnight. Tying up with a television/film star in such a timely and thoughtful manner (as opposed to simply getting any celebrity on board) has the potential for great online success – something the Call of Duty trailer has proven.