Brainstorm ideas for viral marketing video
April 24, 2008 9:48 AM   Subscribe

I need help to come up with an idea (or a few) for a viral marketing video for my online backyard store.

I have a 2 months old online store selling backyard items (furniture, play sets, garden decor, etc.), and I need to bring more traffic to the site. With the popularity of videos, I think this may be a good way to bring traffic to my site, and get other people to link to it.

But I don't know what will make people go crazy over, and spread the news about my site. I'd love to hear some ideas form others. My only thought was to create a video of sad looking backyards, with broken furniture, overgrown trees, etc, and at the end show a great backyard and add my site's URL.

I am not sure that's the best, so I am looking for any and all suggestions. What do yout think will be a great video to bring a backyard loving crowd to my site?
posted by adriana to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Classic problem. You've got a (no offense) boring product and you need to make it interesting. You could add sex (see godaddy's ads), gross (See "bird poops in mouth"), violent (cellphone in the blender dude) or elaborate/geeky (see mentos guys).

But honestly, why not go with the pros? Check out some sketch comedy, and approach someone you think is good. They could write/act/direct, and probably for a reasonable amount of money.
posted by kamelhoecker at 10:11 AM on April 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

For something to go viral, it needs to be funny (or intensely sappy--whatever works with your market). The only thing I can think of right off the bat is to Photoshop your products into famous "yards" around the world and do something with that, but I can't think of what. I doubt sex or violence would be a good idea, since your buyers include families with children. The backyard makeover idea could work if you made it funny, like a takeoff on home decorating shows.
posted by PatoPata at 10:20 AM on April 24, 2008

Two words: Lawn Darts. Do a take on the old Lawn Dart in the head, and somehow transition to how your products can safely avoid such problems. HINT There is a great song called LawnDart by Ed's Redeeming Qualities that you may be able to license.
posted by Gungho at 10:30 AM on April 24, 2008

What makes your store more special, interesting, touching, funny, whatever, than any other online store? Start there.
posted by lhall at 11:43 AM on April 24, 2008

I like the idea of photoshop lawn products into famous places. Some other ideas:

Another Idea:
Can have a video of a hot girl or hot guy laying out in the sun. For background audio have bacon starting to sizzle in a pan. Maybe their is a glass of lemonade on table near by, showing the ice melt as the sizzling noise increases. At the peak have the person flip over on their stomach. The person will have red grill marks across their back. Screen can go black saying something with "Don't be human bacon" . Flash with your business website.

People love bacon.

Another one.

Camera shows a pool area with plenty of furniture. Looks great. Out come two really, really big people wearing speedos or bikini's. The camera shows them walking in slow motion. They one drops a towel and another one takes a sip of tea as they walk. When they look up. The look on their face is shocking. The camera pans and faces the pool. The furntiure is cowarding in the back of the lot or trying to climb over the fence.


Last one.

Shows two guys up close. There is race car vrooom sounds in the background. They both put on gloves and helmets. There is a race light counting down. A hot girl with a flag waves as the light turn green. At this point:


They both lay down in their great looking lawn chairs on a nice summer day


They pull up a their bottom section of the lawn chair and drive away down the street using stop motion animation.

I have a billion of these. Let me know if you need more. Email in profile.
posted by bleucube at 11:56 AM on April 24, 2008

I gotta say that as a marketing strategy, this doesn't strike me as so great for a site that needs business. You're going to spend a reasonable chunk of change however you do this, for something that is likely to end up ad-like and contrived whatever your intentions, and may or may not go viral but probably won't.

Designing for viral rarely actually works, and the best virals were never meant to be virals - they're much more sincere in their intent. The pilot who videod his "work day" for his daughter so she could see "daddy's office" was pure in intent but ended up also being a nice viral for American Airlines by accident. Had American actually produced that, the internet would have vomited on it's head.

Your money might be better spent on regular, targeted internet advertising in forums and blogs. You'll generally see a better ROI than with Ad Words, which I am begning to hate for a variety of reasons.

Having said all of that, I know I have not answered your question. And I hate that even more than AdWords, so:

Sappy, sappy, Hallmark-sappy video of kids growing up in the backyard. Babies in sandbox, toddlers on swings, kids on slides, pre-teens in "tent" under patio table, teenagers sharing lemonade and a first kiss or something equally tame.

Seriously, weeping mothers are very, very viral people. And control more than 70% of every household dollar spent.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:31 PM on April 24, 2008

I don't have anything useful to say other than I think DarlingBri's idea is genius. And I don't even have kids.
posted by Enroute at 12:36 PM on April 24, 2008

i kinda work in the biz, and DarlingBri's advice bears repeating: "Designing for viral rarely actually works, and the best virals were never meant to be virals"...and yet everyone tries to do it anyway.

That being said, I would suggest the following. It's not an idea, per se, but it's an approach:
Don't try to make a skit or commercial. No matter how funny or ironically terribly or sappy it is, it will never be funnier, more ironically terrible or sappier than something a pro agency can do. Instead, make it super short...
just a quick set-up, punchline, your URL, boom, boom, boom. Aim for somewhere around 10 seconds. Shorter is almost always better. Concentrate on creating just a few seconds that are really funny, surprising or actually heart-warming (sappy, for the cynics).

Just think about the kind of videos you send around to other people. Or that other people send around to you. Do you often send 45 second, or 1 minute skits advertising *any* product? No matter how clever a commercial is, how many of them do you send on to all your friends? How many truly go viral around the 'net? Maybe a dozen or two in the last year...that's a dozen or two out of the tens of thousands of "viral videos" that various companies created with the hopes they'd be watched by millions.

If you're going to go this way, make it super short, with a big payoff/punchline. One joke, told well and told quickly...

and good luck with it, I hope it goes well.
posted by Ziggurat at 1:19 PM on April 24, 2008

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