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The blog, No Bystanders wrote to Globe Telecom asking if the company would be advertising soon on TV5, and on Willie Revelame’s new show, Wil Time Big Time. The question comes after a criminal case was filed against Mr. Willie Revillame as allegations of Child Abuse the host allegedly committed became a national issue.
According to No Bystanders, the reply indicated that Globe will not be advertising on TV5 or any of Wille Revelame’s shows. Their values, according to Globe do not align with Willie’s or TV5.
hat tip @eloisa on plurk.
On the 17th of February, 2011, Datu Puti released a one-minute edit of its most recent commercial starring Manny Pacquiao. While this in and of itself is not unusual, the mechanism through which they chose to do so was – they put it up on YouTube first. My friends from TBWA, the agency that developed the ad, were vocal and persistent in sharing the link on Facebook and Twitter.
To say “it went viral” is to understate how quickly my social network feeds became clogged with reposts. This was a bona fide online hit. The dialogue was witty, the subject matter entertaining. My sister posted it to her Facebook feed. So did many of my friends.
(Haven’t seen it? It’s here.
Go watch it; it’s worth your time and effort.)
What follows – and I need to be clear about this – is in no way an indictment of the work that Datu Puti, TBWA, and their unnamed production house have poured into the ad. It’s clear that this is work to be proud of. I liked the ad; the only reason I didn’t put it on my own Facebook Wall and Twitter feed is that most of my network had already reposted it.
There is one thing that bothers me about the video, and it has less to do with the video itself than with how the public received it.
For a great viral video, it doesn’t seem to have a lot of views online.
Let me be clearer: at the time of this writing (noon on 28 February 2011, a full 11 days after it was released), the video has 476,236 views on YouTube. I’ve found two other reposts on YouTube with 47,939 views and 19,843 views respectively. Beyond that… nothing. No Vimeo posts, no Facebook video posts.
The grand total is 544,018 views. Let’s round it up and call it 600,000 views to be on the safe side.
From one perspective, 600,000 views over 11 days is fantastic.
And from another, it’s terrible. We have 22.5 million Facebook user accounts in the country. For a “viral video” to have only 600,000 views says something about how our market responds to Web videos.
This leads me down several avenues of thought:
- 1) Regardless of what Yahoo-Nielsen and Universal McCann say, video watching in the country is not as widespread as one would think. I blame user experience for this – I typically wait fifteen to twenty minutes to buffer a three minute video. An hourlong Webcast I subscribe to takes around five hours to load (at home, on my less congested Internet connection, it takes just two and a half.)
The “video on demand” paradigm breaks down in the face of Third World Internet. After all, the Internet is full of distractions, and the user presented with a choice between waiting for a video to buffer and the chance to see something interesting right now will usually choose to be distracted right now. Also, time and bandwidth are finite and costly. If we want users to wait for videos to buffer, we need to provide incentives – something most agencies and advertisers don’t consider when they deploy Web videos.
2) This opens up further questions. If Filipinos are watching videos online, what, exactly, are people watching, if not content developed for this market? How many videos do they consume in a session? How long are the videos they watch? How long do they wait for videos to load?
And how do we get answers to these questions?
3) The numbers aside, I can’t fault TBWA and Datu Puti for their strategy. They already had the TVC. Putting it online was a cost-effective way to maximize it. They didn’t need to shoot additional footage or develop new content for this video.
I also need to point out that there are audiences online that cannot be reached any other way, who would not otherwise have seen the ad on television. After all, you can’t see the ads that come with TV shows if you don’t watch television. The advent of BitTorrent – merely the most recent iteration of peer-to-peer file sharing technology – has virtually ensured that a particular segment of the market no longer has a need for “appointment TV.”
If I had a TVC, I would seed it online for exactly these reasons – to maximize the investment in the ad and to reach these online-only audiences.
4) That said, for a viral video to actually “go viral”, marketers need to provide reasons for people to share it. The Pacquiao video provided these reasons as part of its content – it was amusing and topical. Many Web videos fail to be spread because they’re not interesting or engaging enough.
Content that says “please forward” sounds desperate but sometimes works. As the discipline of digital marketing matures, I expect we’ll see more and more sophisticated mechanisms to get people to share content online.
5) There is no easy justification for campaigns that rely on Web-only video. Compared to other online marketing tactics, Web video is expensive and not particularly engaging. Social media marketing can cover most of the online market, which makes Web video a costly adjunct to a social media marketing campaign, at best. This bodes poorly for Web video efforts like Flippish.com.
6) Lately I’ve come to suspect that there are huge differences between how the different socio-economic classes use their online time and access. One of the key differences between these groups is likely to be video consumption. I strongly suspect that more affluent people view more videos online per session (and go online more times in the same span of time). This is another instance where what is obvious is, sadly, not supported by research – there is no published research that supports this behavioral split between the socio-economic classes. On the other hand, there is no research that debunks it, either.
Does it sound obvious? It does to me, too. But verifying or debunking this theory has real implications for marketing strategy and audience segmentation.
These criticisms aside, there is no doubt in my mind that Web videos are here to stay. There’s too much investment in them, for one thing – and in many cases the presence of money, interest and opportunities often precede a shift in market behavior. The next Datu Puti commercial may garner well over a million views – I simply don’t know. Pointing out what’s happening in the present is far easier, after all, than predicting the future.
For the time being, though, the challenge remains: in a country of over 22 million Internet users, how can an online marketing campaign reach a significant portion of this audience? It seems that even Manny Pacquiao, formidable as he is, couldn’t provide the answer.
@mannyneps is a digital marketing specialist with a top ten ad agency in Metro Manila. He is frequently wrong. This no longer embarrasses him.
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