There are lots of ways to go about putting together a clever YouTube ad. Watch these examples for a little inspiration.
An average of 75 million people in the U.S. watch online video every day, streaming almost 40 billion videos every month. YouTube accounts for the lion's share of this activity--more than a billion unique users visit the Google property every month, watching four billion hours of video.
So if you have the resources to use the medium to market your business, filling up a YouTube channel with content should be on your to-do list.
Of course, virality is what every business wants. But how do you stand out from the 72 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute?
Here is a handful of marketing videos created by businesses that used a range of tactics--including jokes, nudity, fear, money, and bravado--as key elements in their clever promo spots.
April Fools': There's something really compelling about a fake product.
With all the hype surrounding Google Glass, it's no wonder inbound marketing software company HubSpot also chose to introduce computerized eyeglasses in this promo video starring the company's CMO. What makes the clip so compelling is the joke--the SprocketVision glasses show you which people in your line of sight would make good marketing prospects. It doesn't work as expected, which makes for some very entertaining moments. But what's really smart about this campaign is before things get stupid, HubSpot spends a bit of time actually showcasing real solutions.
Nudity: Skin still attracts eyeballs.
Oh, what a bit of nudity and mild profanity will do for page views. This one is a bit risqué and involves a hot guy with an impressive six-pack and blurred-out nether regions having a video shopping session with Melissa Austria, founder of Gotstyle, a Toronto menswear store that just opened a second location that caters to both sexes.
Money: Want to win a contest?
You know those hair-pulling moments when your computer crashes or it's running so slowly you just can't take it anymore? Unless you're a tech whiz yourself or have a dedicated IT person to call upon, a lot of times your best option is to tag a co-worker who's smarter about computing issues than you are.
The star of this video is a fast-talking masked guy who runs around the office whipping people's computers into shape. Crucial.com, an Idaho-based seller of memory (RAM), solid state storage, and hard drives, created the spot to promote a contest that will award $5,000 in cash and a $5,000 Best Buy gift card to the best Official Unofficial Office Computer Go-To Superstar--and in the process put itself in touch with tech influencers in the office.
Dangerous: Don't try this at home.
According to Unruly Media, a U.K-based company that's expert in getting branded video to go viral, DC Shoes is probably the most successful social video brand of all time, with three videos in the Top 10. No wonder--this one is just plain crazy. Ken Block, the founder of the skateboarding brand who is now a pro rally driver sponsored by a slew of big companies, does things you didn't think were possible in a racecar.
Quirky: Is that a bear in your bed?
Southern California--based Ojai Valley Taxidermy hit a home run with this video, which has more than 13 million views. It's hard to pinpoint what's so lovable about how Chuck Testa says he makes "the most lifelike dead animals anywhere." See that antelope driving a car? The tag line here: "Nope. It's just Chuck Testa."
Satirical: Can you do Saturday Night Live?
The founder of DollarShaveClub.com has a real knack for performing in front of the camera. At one point, he's rolling through a warehouse stuffed into a little red wagon behind one of his workers, making the point that his company creates jobs. "I'm no Vanderbilt, but this train makes hay," he says.
Surprise! It's a flash mob.
Alphabet Photography, a Niagara Falls, Ontario--based company that sells photos of architectural elements that look like letters, gave holiday shoppers an impromptu performance of the Hallelujah Chorus of Handel's "Messiah," a work that's difficult to do well when singers are nicely arranged on a stage, much less popping up dispersed in an unsuspecting audience. Check out the number of views on this one.
Wow: That product really works.
Ideally, your product performs so well that it sells itself. That's what's going on here, because there's nothing funny, sexy, or quirky about a coating that repels liquids. But you have to admit, Ultra-Ever Dry is mesmerizing to watch in action. Given that the video has more than 5.5 million views, apparently many people agree.
Crude: A genius play on words can be a hilarious ticket to virality.
You have to give this big brand credit for being so ballsy. Kmart posted this video on April 10, and already it has received nearly 10 million views. Moral of the story: Lots of people like crude humor.
CHRISTINA DESMARAIS is an Inc.com contributor who writes about the tech start-up community, covering innovative ideas, news, and trends. Have a tip? Email her at christinadesmarais (at) live (dot) com. @salubriousdish