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 examine Dove’s recent “Patches” video and Call of Duty’s latest trailer, featuring Kevin Spacey. Now let us take a look at another example of innovative online promotional material.
In May 2014, Save the Children (USA) released a video titled “The Most Important ‘Sexy’ Model Video Ever”, which shows us a “sexy” shoot with several New York models. After smouldering and seducing the camera with a few predictable lines, the models are presented the following cue card: “Almost 800 mothers and 18,000 young children die each day, mostly from preventable causes.”
The models respond with bewilderment – and some amount of indignation. “This is not a sexy statement, I feel bad,” says one young woman. “Strange, saying that like this,” says another model. The director ultimately agrees that there is nothing they can do to possibly make this issue sexy, and the video fades to a text screen informing viewers that out of the 80 million people currently living and dying in areas affected by armed conflict and natural disasters, 60 million are women. The models have the final word on it: “We can’t make this issue sexy. But it deserves you attention.”
This startling Save the Children awareness video went viral almost instantly, garnering 30 million views in a matter of days. The jarring discrepancy between the facts and the “sexy” overtones grabbed online attention in a way that “serious” organisations often find hard to do. The approach was fresh and unexpected, making the video “share-worthy” across numerous social media platforms and online websites that curate content on a daily basis.