5 Lessons of Effective Editing for Viral Success

An interesting insight into what makes social content effective has emerged, or at least made itself more visible, in the past year or so. Content is king, but editing may be the queen who’s actually running the castle.

Our traditionally analog means of consuming media—television, newspaper, radio, outdoor—are quickly being replaced by digital means. We supplement TV watching with our iPads, get our news in near real time from Twitter, and share life’s moments in an instant on Facebook. Other technologies have allowed fast and easy creation and curating of content, like Pinterest, Vine, Storify, and even something as simple as an Instagram hashtag.


Why I Wasn’t Impressed with Oreo’s Super Bowl Blackout Tweet

I’m going to say it: I wasn’t impressed by Oreo’s blackout tweet

As I brace for the backlash, I’ll try to explain myself. I do realize that Oreo is making all the brands that invested $4 million for 30 seconds of interruption look foolish. Oreo is the talk of the town, and it’s not because of its own quite funny Super Bowl commercial (that’s right: I’m not going to call it the Big Game or El Plato Supreme) or it's impressive efforts on Instagram re-creating photos sent by fans out of either Oreo cookie or Oreo cream, which I insist marketers would be talking about today if there hadn't been a blackout. No, it’s because of a single tweet (I realize that it was also a Facebook post, but let’s call it a tweet for simplicity’s sake). It was a photo of an Oreo cookie in a pool of light surrounded by darkness and the words “You can still dunk in the dark”—and it was re-tweeted more than 15,000 times.

It was timely, on-brand and a much faster real-time response than any other brand (though brands like Tide and Audi had some great responses as well). If you were scouring the online marketing rags on Monday morning, you couldn’t click twice without running into an article about Oreo’s success.

But I wasn’t impressed by the tweet.


BuzzFeed’s Native Advertising is OMG WIN!

OMG. This may have been my hardest assignment yet. 

BuzzFeed is killing it on the interwebs lately (WIN), and not just because it creates some of the most shareable content around. It’s “killing it softly,” so to speak, monetizing its wildly successful site by partnering with brands to create branded content that people actually consume, enjoy and share with their audiences.

But why was this a difficult assignment? To write about BuzzFeed means one has to peruse BuzzFeed. And when one peruses BuzzFeed, time is sucked into a vortex while one reads journalistic masterpieces like “40 Reasons Honey Boo Boo Became a National Treasure in 2012” and “12 Days of Grumpy Cat Christmas.” Minutes quickly become hours, and deadlines come and go. But Grumpy Cat doesn’t care.


When Faking It (on Twitter) Is a Good Thing

It’s late November, and UK Lord Chancellor Sir John Simon has just told Parliament that Britons have sent watches, jewelry and gold to help the government pay for war. According to Sir John, “One girl sent a small envelope, asking me to accept her ‘peace offering.’ Inside was her engagement ring.” Incredible. Particularly because I just learned of this from a tweet chronicling the world war that’s raging in Europe right now.

You didn’t know there was a war going on in Europe? That’s because it took place in 1939. It’s the beginning of the Second World War, and it’s being retold on this date and at this time by the Twitter account @RealTimeWWII. After tweeting for only three months, @RealTimeWWII, which according to Mashable is maintained by Oxford graduate Alwyn Collinson, has already exceeded 150,000 followers. Why can't brands be this inventive?

Kenny Powers - New K-Swiss CEO

Kenny Mother-F**king Powers Shakes Up the World of Training Shoes

The world of athlete sponsorship has long been dominated by sweaty men and women exercising in slow motion. K-Swiss is taking a different approach to brand storytelling in their attempt to get into the training shoe market. And that approach is Kenny Powers.

Kenny Powers, played by Danny McBride, is a fictional character on the HBO series “Eastbound and Down” known for his aggressive behavior and incessant cursing. Not quite the typical mascot for a company. But K-Swiss is proving that they don’t like to do things by the books. The campaign debuted last year with a 4-minute video for Funny or Die (NSFW) in which Powers negotiates with a roomful of K-Swiss executives for an endorsement deal with K-Swiss Tubes. After buying 51% of K-Swiss stock, Mr. Powers has a new position—Mother F**king CEO—and their latest extended length commercial, just like Kenny, is like nothing you've ever seen.


This Video Will Break Your Heart, but is it Effective Brand Storytelling?

A recent video came across my Twitter stream that had me thinking about effective storytelling in advertising. The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children created a shocking, emotional, and heart-wrenching video for their summer fundraising campaign entitled "I Can't Wait To Grow Up." It's narrated by a 7 year-old boy while he is simultaneously being beaten by a man whose face is never seen.

All Together Now: How Crowds Record History

This post originally appeared in our May issue of “Live Report from the Future of Marketing,” our monthly Post-Advertising newsletter. Subscribe for free here.

Perhaps the greatest part of the internet is how it allows complete strangers to come together around a singular event and create things both profound and absurd. The death of Osama bin Laden was just such a momentous occasion. While some took to the streets to celebrate, most went straight to their computers and mobile devices to let the world know how they felt. If Twitter's record breaking 3,440 tweets per second (TPS) is any indication: people had a tremendous amount to say.

Game of Thrones - Stark Family Crest

HBO’s Brilliant Sensory Marketing for “Game of Thrones”

Debuting a new television series is hard enough. But when the new show requires viewers to familiarize themselves with a mythical land, dozens upon dozens of characters, intricate maps, and confusing power struggles, it's a steep marketing hill to climb. HBO's Game of Thrones, which premiered last Sunday, is such a show in that it asks viewers to embrace the complex world of Westeros. The biggest challenge? Getting potential fans up to speed. Instead of relying on the usual advertising conventions of television commercials, print ads, and billboards, HBO thought outside — and inside — the box.

Live Cam Showdown: Red-tailed hawks vs. “Petite lap giraffes”

This morning, my coworkers were excitedly watching the NY Times Hawk cam, which features a pair of red-tailed hawks that have made a nest for themselves at NYU. Pretty cool, right? But after a few minutes of watching the hawk’s slight head turns and subtle feather ruffling, I remembered the “Petite Lap Giraffe cam” that I’d just stumbled upon over at Brand Channel. I decided to send the link around. Subject line: “This animal is WAY better than the hawk.” Soon I heard ooohing and ahhhing from nearby desks. “Oh my gosh; it’s so small!” “Is it real?!”

Pills, Limitless and the Art of the Viral Con

The Internet loves to be conned—pwned, if you will. From rickrolling to 4chan to various hacks, the Internet is fraught with scams, frauds and pranks. For better or worse, the Internet’s discussion boards are filled with people arguing the plausibility of videos, images, and audio bytes—the most granular of discussions. Usually, the conversation doesn’t go much farther than “FAKE,” labeling the OP a “TROLL,” but sometimes there are a few brave souls who are willing to forgo sleep to scour the web and dissect the object in order to prove whether or not it is real. Take, for example, last week's brilliant Times Square viral con.