Best of Brand Marketing Distilled – 1/17/12 – Viral Videos

brand marketing distilled as shown by a distlled blue potion-like liquid

Best of Brand Marketing Distilled is our reoccurring series of posts featuring distillations of the best of brand marketing and business intelligence. We hope the ideas and articles are fuel for your organization’s planning and success. This week’s edition looks at two marketing videos that poke fun at the brand’s target audience – and went viral.

Brand marketing common sense suggests that alienating your target audience (customers and prospective customers) is a bad idea.  Consequently, at first blush making fun of your target audience also seems like a bad idea.  However, as a recent Lululemon video and a Samsung video from the Fall both demonstrate, if the humour is done well, it can be brand marketing gold.

Lululemon – Poking Fun at Your Customer

Lululemon is a Vancouver based yoga apparel company which sells premium quality work out clothes for yoga, running and the other exercise pursuits of its health conscious customers.  Lululemon recently released a video “Shit Yogis Say”, which has gone viral with over 1 million YouTube views.  Given that its target customer are yoga enthusiasts, poking fun at those who practice yoga and doing so with a heaping spoonful of parody seems like a risky approach. However, it works since (i) it is funny, (ii) it isn’t mean spirited and (iii) the brand has long cultivated a bit of a cool edgy personality.

Samsung – Poking Fun at Your Competitor’s Customer

In the Samsung spot, the “Next Big Thing is Already Here”, Samsung takes aim at a slightly less risky target – Apple iPhone devotees.  The spot was released in the Fall, has had over 4 million YouTube views and has also been aired as a TV ad.  The theme of the spot is simple – Apple fans have got “Apple-vision”, are image conscious posers and no longer savvy tech leaders.  The spot works since (i) it is funny, (ii) the spot highlight how well Samsung phones compare to the iPhone, (iii) the sharpest humour is leveled at iPhone fans, and (iv) Samsung customers come off as smart, savvy and no nonsense.

Humour is a Key Ingredient in Most Viral Advertising Spots

Generally, humour is a key ingredient in most viral advertising spots. However, brand marketers do need to keep in mind that, while going viral can be pretty exciting for a brand, it can be exciting in a good way or a bad way.  The success of the advertising spot ultimately depending on how it builds or breaks your relationship with your target audience.  As a result, before disseminating a video poking fun at your target audience, brand marketers should make sure you either have team members with great instincts or have tested the spot with the target audience to make sure the spot hits the right humour note.