Top Christmas trends in viral advertising and the UGC sphere

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As the festive season slowly creeps up on us, the question that agencies should be concerning themselves with is, “what makes for a memorable ad?”

We used TubeRank, VAN’s viral planning tool, to analyse some of the most popular festive themed YouTube videos and top ad campaigns from Christmases past, to find out what made them so successful.

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Top Christmas trends in viral advertising and the UGC sphere

  1. 1. SOCIAL VIDEO INSIGHT REPORT Christmas Video Trends // October ’13
  2. 2. INTRO Welcome to VAN’s insight report. This month we’re looking at festive trends in the sphere of Christmas ad campaigns and UGC videos. This document is comprised of: • Brand insights • Viral ad campaign case studies • UGC insights Our social video insights are collated with the help of our TubeRank app. Image: Flickr Ken Wilcox
  3. 3. BRAND TRENDS: CHRISTMAS AD CAMPAIGNS Key brand observations Humour, originality and keeping it real... Marketers seem to be promoting Christmas earlier and earlier every year. Recent research from Experian Marketing has predicted that nearly 50% of retailers are expected to launch their Christmas campaigns before Halloween, with the majority of others releasing theirs in the first two weeks of November. As the festive season slowly creeps up on us, the question that agencies should be concerning themselves with is, “what makes for a memorable ad?” Let’s face it, Christmas campaigns can often be a clichéd pile of stereotypes; packed full of frantic shopping sprees, perfect dinner parties, fake snow and sparkles. Finding a fresh angle amongst this well trodden path can be difficult. There’s no secret formula for yuletide marketing success but there are a few key ingredients that can help a campaign on its way to capturing that coveted seasonal magic. Source Flickr: Msenese We used TubeRank, VAN’s viral planning tool, to analyse some of the most popular ads from Christmases past and break down the main viral triggers and conversation points that made them so successful. SOCIAL VIDEO INSIGHT REPORT - Christmas Video Trends // October ’13 PAGE 1
  4. 4. CASE STUDIES: THE POWER OF STORYTELLING Shares: 131,158 | Views: 3,424,707 SHARE-TO-VIEW RATIO = 1:26 John Lewis - The Journey In recent years, John Lewis’ Christmas ads have come to set a new standard for seasonal campaigns. Last year’s TV spot was widely acclaimed to be the most popular ad of 2012, turning the nation all misty eyed over a magical winter love story. The 6 million pound commercial follows the epic journey of a love struck snowman as he goes in search of the perfect Christmas gift. Transporting the audience into a fantasy world where he scales mountains and crosses rivers to reach the city, before finally returning home with a new hat and gloves for his snow lady girlfriend, (aawww!) COMMUNITIES OF INTEREST: Music Film Pop culture CONVERSATION TRIGGERS: Fashion Set to the soundtrack of a heart warming remix of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘The Power Of Love’, and packed full of stunning cinematography, it cleverly uses music to build the emotion of the scene, making for a video that’s genuinely beautiful to watch. However, what sets the ad aside from many of its contemporaries is that fact that it actually tells a story. Moving away from the realities of Christmas shopping by leading viewers on an escapist adventure, with not a product placement in sight (except for the snow couple’s little hats and scarfs). The feel good ending subtly conveys the feeling of Christmas without shoving it down your throat, making for a moving piece that tugs on the heartstrings and motivates people to share. SOCIAL VIDEO INSIGHT REPORT - Christmas Video Trends // October ’13 PAGE 2
  5. 5. CASE STUDIES: NOSTALGIA AND A WELL WORN PAIR OF SLIPPERS Shares: 7,458 | Views: 166,617 SHARE-TO-VIEW RATIO = 1:22 Coca-Cola - Holidays Are Coming There’s a lot to be said about the impact of fresh new ideas and original content in advertising. But when it comes to Christmas, much of the magic lies in a nostalgia that harks back to holidays past. There’s a form of comfort and familiarity resulting from years of re-use that leads us to associate certain brands with the holiday season and Coca-Cola has it nailed. I think we probably all know what I’m referring to – those infamous red Christmas trucks. COMMUNITIES OF INTEREST: Music Film Pop culture CONVERSATION TRIGGERS: Internet culture Not only is the soft drinks giant widely credited for being responsible for Santa’s red outfit, (not technically true, but kudos to Coke for generating some pretty effective brand association), but the sight of those fairy light strewn behemoths shuttling through the snowy mountains has come to be a sure fire sign that the holidays are most definitely coming! The formula is pretty simple, a few classic festive cues and a catchy theme tune, (never underestimate the power of a good song), but timing and repetition is everything. The Coca-Cola trucks have been gracing our screens like clockwork every year since 1995, becoming so firmly fixed in our minds that for many of us they seem to be advertising Christmas itself. However, a word of warning for marketers going for this approach: if you’re trying to evoke the essence of Christmas with an annual old classic, releasing your ad too early can turn it from a nostalgic nugget of festive anticipation to an annoying cliché! SOCIAL VIDEO INSIGHT REPORT - Christmas Video Trends // October ’13 PAGE 3
  6. 6. CASE STUDIES: A NEW TWIST ON AN OLD TALE Shares: 422,220 | Views: 12,250,397 SHARE-TO-VIEW RATIO = 1:29 ExcentricPT - The Digital Story of the Nativity After banging on about the impact of repetition when it comes to driving a branded message home, there’s still no denying that originality can be a powerful conversation trigger. Marketers hoping to evoke the magic of Christmas still need to include a few classic festive cues, but adding a new twist to an old story can be a great way to give tradition a new lease of life. That’s exactly what ExcentricPT did with its charming Digital Story of the Nativity. COMMUNITIES OF INTEREST: Internet culture Geek Parenting CONVERSATION TRIGGERS: Pop culture Using the tagline ‘Times change, the feeling remains the same’, the three-minute video illustrates the contemporary birth of Jesus through social media, including the likes of Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia and Foursquare. With Mary using Google maps to find the best route to Bethlehem and Joseph buying a virtual cow and a donkey on Farmville. It was a fresh idea that caused the ad to stand out from many of its contemporaries and the novel approach made for a perfect viral talking point, allowing the video to clock up over 12 million views online. On the topic of new takes on old classics, I couldn’t end this section without giving a mention to Irn Bru’s awesome Snowman ad. We’re going way back to 2006 but it’s still one of the best festive pastiches we’ve ever seen! SOCIAL VIDEO INSIGHT REPORT - Christmas Video Trends // October ’13 PAGE 4
  7. 7. CASE STUDIES: CHRISTMAS DINNER CLICHÉS Shares: 2,614 | Views: 146,487 SHARE-TO-VIEW RATIO = 1:56 Morrisons - For Your Christmas Christmas dinner is probably one of the most important parts of the festive season in many households and every year sees a flood of Supermarket ads packed full of turkeys, sprouts and family feasts. Unfortunately, getting the right balance between the stresses and joys of the festive season, without becoming overly sentimental or ticking every ad cliché in the book can be tricky. COMMUNITIES OF INTEREST: Parenting General CONVERSATION TRIGGERS: Morrisons produced one of the stand out campaigns last year with its delicate portrayal of a family negotiating the emotional upheaval of the holidays and battling through the festive dinner preparations. We watch as dad struggles with a dying Christmas tree and mum wrestles a giant turkey, sprouting new arms to peel through a mountain of vegetables as family and friends pile into the house. Yes, mum ends up exhausted. But is it all worth it? ‘I wouldn’t have it any other way,’ she says, with a faint smile. It treads a pretty fine line, but the generous dollop of gentle humour and feel good ending paints a picture of a family Christmas that we can all identify with. The ad managed to dodge the criticism leveled at Asda’s 2012 Christmas campaign, which came under attack on social media, for going one step too far with the sexist clichés. SOCIAL VIDEO INSIGHT REPORT - Christmas Video Trends // October ’13 PAGE 5
  8. 8. UGC TRENDS: CHRISTMAS VIDEOS Key UGC observations What can brands learn from the success of home made festive video hits? YouTube has become a veritable mirror for the fascinations of the internet and advertisers can learn a LOT by paying attention to what’s going viral in the UGC sphere. Every Christmas we see a flood of home made festive videos take the web by storm - from crazy fairy-light displays; to singing animals; hilarious gift reactions; and awesome holiday jingles. As part of our regular video insight series, we used TubeRank to break down the key conversation triggers of some of the most popular Christmas themed UGC clips of recent years, to help marketers get a better grip on festive trends when planning their seasonal ad campaign. SOCIAL VIDEO INSIGHT REPORT - Christmas Video Trends // October ’13 PAGE 6
  9. 9. KEY CONVERSATION TRIGGERS - (EPIC LIGHT SHOWS) Lights, Camera, ACTION! The days when Christmas lights were simply something you strung around your tree are long gone and elaborate festive displays have now become something of a fine art. Videos featuring illuminated suburban houses and perfectly curated musical lighting shows date back to the very beginning of YouTube, with literally hundreds of clips being uploaded to the site every year. They don’t all go viral, but those that do can easily clock up a couple of million views in a few days. If you’re hoping to make your video stand out from the crowd there are a few things worth bearing in mind, but being epic is an excellent starting point. When it comes to Christmas displays, bigger is definitely better! The internet wants more lights, more music, more EVERYTHING! The videos that have gone particularly viral are those with strong conversation triggers, something a little bit different that gives people a reason to talk about and share it. SOCIAL VIDEO INSIGHT REPORT - Christmas Video Trends // October ’13 Source Flickr: Davidvega PAGE 7
  10. 10. KEY CONVERSATION TRIGGERS - (EPIC LIGHT SHOWS) Video iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Viral Stats Conversation Triggers Christmas Lights Gangnam Style Views - 3,684,458 | Shares - 152,184 SHARE-TO-VIEW RATIO = 1:24 Angry Birds Christmas Light Game Views - 2,251,241 | Shares - 21,939 SHARE-TO-VIEW RATIO = 1:106 There’s a Problem With Brighton’s Xmas Lights Views - 2,376,022 | Shares - 82,116 SHARE-TO-VIEW RATIO = 1:29 The Amazing Grace Christmas House Views - 31,228,480 | Shares - 116,996 SOCIAL VIDEO INSIGHT REPORT - Christmas Video Trends // October ’13 SHARE-TO-VIEW RATIO = 1:267 PAGE 7
  11. 11. KEY CONVERSATION TRIGGERS - (THE POWER OF CUTE) Fluffy Festivities! The internet hardly needs an excuse to revel in the joys of fluffy animal cuteness. But throwing a couple of kittens or puppies into your festive campaign can be exactly what it takes to give it an extra viral kick. The Kawaii factor is a pretty powerful conversation trigger all by itself, but combined with the added topicality of yuletide gladness at a time when people are particularly keen to share Christmas themed videos, it can be a winning combination. If you can set your video to a good tune and convince your furry friend to give the world a little sing song, you’ll be guaranteed extra bonus points. But it doesn’t have to be complicated, last year we saw Puppy’s First Christmas garner nearly 6 million views in a few days. Why? Well, the puppy was really, REALLY cute, but add in a little festive music and a sweet Christmassy backdrop and hey presto – the feel-good factor is well and truly in the bag! SOCIAL VIDEO INSIGHT REPORT - Christmas Video Trends // October ’13 Source Flickr: Joshunter PAGE 8
  12. 12. KEY CONVERSATION TRIGGERS - (THE POWER OF CUTE) Video iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Viral Stats Conversation Triggers Animals of YouTube sing "Deck the Halls" Views - 10,335,218 | Shares - 258,135 SHARE-TO-VIEW RATIO = 1:40 Puppy's First Christmas Views - 6,099,104 | Shares - 403,578 SHARE-TO-VIEW RATIO = 1:151 How To Wrap A Cat For Christmas Views - 7,466,518 | Shares - 341,104 SHARE-TO-VIEW RATIO = 1:22 Puppy Christmas Views - 4,249,643 | Shares - 168,937 SOCIAL VIDEO INSIGHT REPORT - Christmas Video Trends // October ’13 SHARE-TO-VIEW RATIO = 1:25 PAGE 9
  13. 13. KEY CONVERSATION TRIGGERS - (CHRISTMAS PRESENTS) Xmas Gift #Wins and #Fails! I’d like to say that the spirit of Christmas is all about celebrating the birth of Jesus and the joys of family, but the giving and receiving of gifts is also a massive part of the holiday season. The emotional responses generated by Christmas present wins and fails can be a pretty awesome source of viral gold. Every year sees a flood of YouTubers uploading the reactions of family and friends as they tear off that gaudy paper to revel what exciting / disappointing surprise lies underneath. Source Flickr: Allerleirau SOCIAL VIDEO INSIGHT REPORT - Christmas Video Trends // October ’13 PAGE 10
  14. 14. KEY CONVERSATION TRIGGERS - (CHRISTMAS PRESENTS) Video iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Viral Stats Conversation Triggers Dad's Reaction To Getting A Ticket To The Game Views - 9,877,228 | Shares - 33,507 SHARE-TO-VIEW RATIO = 1:294 BOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS!?!?!?! Views - 3,510,453 | Shares - 56,733 SHARE-TO-VIEW RATIO = 1:162 WTF?! I Wanted An iPhone!!! Views - 547,454 | Shares - 11,442 SHARE-TO-VIEW RATIO = 1:48 I DONT LIKE THE CUBS!!! SOCIAL VIDEO INSIGHT REPORT - Christmas Video Trends // October ’13 Views - 1,358,561 | Shares - 3,649 SHARE-TO-VIEW RATIO = 1:372 PAGE 11
  15. 15. KEY CONVERSATION TRIGGERS - (FESTIVE TUNES) A Very Merry Sing Song! Finally, if there is one ultimate magical ingredient to Christmas video success, it has to be music. The power of a good song is universal no matter what the season, but with Christmas being a period so closely tied to a tradition of festive caroling and holiday songs, a good tune is an incredibly powerful conversation trigger. We’ve seen pop songs mashed up with a festive twist, dancing pensioners, comedy musical sketches and Christmas raps. But the all time king of festive music videos has to be the Christmas flash mob! Source Flickr: Richard Bloomfield SOCIAL VIDEO INSIGHT REPORT - Christmas Video Trends // October ’13 PAGE 12
  16. 16. KEY CONVERSATION TRIGGERS - (FESTIVE TUNES) Video iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Viral Stats Conversation Triggers Christmas Food Court Flash Mob, Hallelujah Chorus Views - 42,323,050 | Shares - 885,169 SHARE-TO-VIEW RATIO = 1:48 My 90-year-old Grandma Dances to LMFAO Views - 2,379,493 | Shares - 76,620 SHARE-TO-VIEW RATIO = 1:31 The Key of Awesome! : Santa and I Know It! Views - 15,204,521 | Shares - 277,830 SHARE-TO-VIEW RATIO = 1:55 Christmas Sweatz Views - 2,970,678 | Shares - 40,009 SOCIAL VIDEO INSIGHT REPORT - Christmas Video Trends // October ’13 SHARE-TO-VIEW RATIO = 1:74 PAGE 13
  17. 17. A BIT MORE ABOUT VAN VAN is a social video platform, providing technology and services to agencies and brands to create awesome shareable video. Our platform is used by leading agencies and brands across the world, and was created by the founders of award-winning viral agency Rubber Republic. To find out more about VAN’s work, read this Forbes review, visit www.JoinVAN.com, or try one of our products: #KITTENCAMP VIRAL AD NETWORK TUBERANK We offer a range of tools to help individuals and teams learn the art of social video. Our regular #KittenCamp events, agency training workshops & online tutorials can help you build your knowledge (and have a LOL too). Our TubeRank app provides a model to help you plan a successful (and shareable) social video. VAN also provides insight in the form of trend analysis and benchmarking data for specific online communities / verticals. Book your ticket for our next event Explore TubeRank SOCIAL VIDEO INSIGHT REPORT - Food & Confectionary // October ’13 CREATORS NETWORK VIRAL AD NETWORK We provide a platform for the commissioning of social video with VAN’s Creator Network. The network consists of a selection of handpicked video producers, YouTubers and web publishers; and allows a range of social video collaboration. Our Viral Ad Network can ensure your video gets the coverage it needs. We offer guaranteed views across our network of over 5,000 publishers. We can also offer advertorial placements & other bespoke publisher partnership solutions. Distribute your next video with VAN PAGE 3
  18. 18. WWW.JOINVAN.COM // @JOINVAN

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