Creating a viral-worthy video campaign is easier said than done. It requires knowledge of customer problems, but also awareness around what would be funny in the context of those problems (without overstepping).
Recently, my company ThirdLove teamed up with the agency Harmon Brothers to create a funny video . The goal was to educate women customers on all the ways bras fall short of women's expectations, and position ThirdLove as a solution to these age-old problems. Since then, the long-form marketing campaigntwo-minute video has accumulated over 600,000 views on YouTube alone, and also was cut into shorter segments to air on national television.
Through the whole experience, I learned a lot about what it takes to create a humorous viral video campaign. Here are some of the strategies we used, and what you should think about when creating your own funny viral video campaigns:
1. Use humor when other companies in your industry are not.
One of the big reasons we wanted to explore creating a funny campaign was because other brands do not tend to use humor in their marketing of lingerie -- the focus tends to be on selling either sexy or solutions.
This is an important part of marketing strategy most people don't think very much about. Instead, a lot of the emphasis is placed on the channels ("Which platforms are we going to advertise on?") or the product itself ("We need to sell these four benefits") -- which is fine. But it's also worth asking what type of messaging other brands are using, and where there is an opportunity to experiment and be different.
Humor is hard to execute well. But if you can, it's a powerful differentiator.
2. Explore multiple ideas and stress-test each one.
Creating funny, viral videos takes a lot of work. It's an exercise in creativity.
We explored four different scripts and ideas before we ultimately decided on our final one. That's because it takes time to really figure out which one is the right type of "crazy." And we didn't all agree at first which direction to go in. But finally, we landed on one concept and then had to put a lot of effort into making sure that could come to light during the production and post-production process.
So when you're brainstorming, don't start writing off ideas in the beginning. Explore them. See where they go. Be open to the fact that your opinions might change, and that what doesn't make sense now might end up becoming the best idea of them all.
3. Make sure the people you work with feel comfortable marketing your product.
When creating a viral video campaign, you end up working with a whole range of people: writers, film producers, actors and actresses, make-up artists, etc.
It's important to make it a priority to educate everyone involved about your company and product, why it matters, and the problems you're hoping to solve in the world. Otherwise, it's going to be hard for the people involved (both on- and off-screen) to convey that message in the work. And to audiences, it's going to be apparent the people communicating the benefits don't feel genuinely excited about the product.
You want to foster that authentic connection.
4. Make sure you can leverage the asset into other forms of content.
While we were filming the commercial, we also filmed B-roll to create a behind the scenes video of how we made it. And now, we're taking snippets of the long-form content and turning them into shorter, more traditional commercials and into Facebook and Instagram ads and social content, as well as partnering with other platforms like Bustle to further extend the message to other relevant audiences.
Creating a funny marketing campaign is only the first step. The real work begins once you've created it and it's time to distribute it into the world.