May 20, 2008

Viral Video Vindication

A few weeks ago on Digg, I saw a viral video for Clustarack, a company that makes products for print shops. As a preface, the video was designed around a Rube Goldberg machine/invention/contraption (as an aside, this guy was very intriguing and worth learning about.)

You can see the video at Clustarack. It’s pretty cool and fun to watch. (Here’s a behind the scenes add on.) Actually, here too:

I got curious about the project. We always talk about what the real ROI is on these things, though it can’t be fully valued no matter how you slice it. I decided to get in contact with the marketer at Clustarack; whose name is Colin Teal. Here’s a quick email interview:

1. Where did you get the idea for movie? Was production very long or costly? It seems like a very simple thing, but I bet took more than a few takes to get it right.

I must be honest and say the inspiration was drawn from the Honda ad – which I’m sure won’t come as any big suprise to most people. But essentially we knew that for a small company, with limited funds, to get big exposure we were going to have to create a viral advert that would encourage people to foreward it on…..regardless of whether they related to the product or not. We toyed with a few different ideas for the viral ad, but settled on a Rube Goldberg contraption video because we have a close working relationship with a couple of Cambridge University engineering graduates who have done similar videos in the past for their own amusement – knowing them, we had no worries that they could deliver what we wanted.

Production, including mocking up a fake print shop to shoot the video & setting up the contraption took approx. 10 days. You can find out more in our making of video on our website or on YouTube……..where you will find out it took 98 takes to get one continuous shot!

2. What have the short term benefits been for Clustarack? It seems that you would have gotten a lot of short term traffic, has it increased overall traffic for the website?

Website traffic & YouTube hits are at roughly 350,000 – including 29,000 in one day on our website…..which was a bit of a shock to the server!

This has generated a large rise in online sales, and a lot of international interest from end users and re-sellers alike.

3. Have you developed any longterm benefits or relationships because of the video?

It’s hard to quantify as yet because it’s only a couple of months old, but we are confident that it has helped us build some long term contacts already.

4. Will you continue to design and implement new online viral videos to promote Clustarack?

Hard to say, we’ve already talked about another one, but more along the lines of showcasing the USP’s of the product rather than the fun viral aspect. Unlike what some people seem to think, we didn’t use an advertising company to make the video, so I think it’ll be quite hard for us to replicate the success with another video and expect the same response.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions Colin. I think every company can learn from projects like this. It doesn’t always take a huge budget to get a great idea out there. It’s more important to focus on your objectives and develop a message that champions your company as such.

Well done.



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