Posted May 30, 2008 2:00 pm by with 42 comments

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By Mike Morabito

Did you see it? I feel like I was there when it happened.

As we begin watching the YouTube video Kobe Bryant (the best basketball player in the game) puts on his shoes and against advice of his friend standing near by he gets into position to jump over a moving Aston Martin car that is speeding in his direction.

As you hear the car’s engine off screen begin to roar your heart starts to beat as you get pulled into the action. Kobe who is staring at the car off screen speeding in his direction with a fixed gaze is ready in jumping position then the doubts begin to fill our mind as the car races toward the current NBA MVP who is prepping himself to jump. Every moment as we watch the engine gets louder and louder before finally at the last moment the Aston Martin comes into view right before he jumps over the car as it passes under him. Amazing, he did it! Kobe Bryant really jumped over a moving car!

The friend in the video who had advised Kobe against the stunt before he did it is now giving high fives and chest bumping to the NBA star and now stunt man, before Kobe finally says those wonderful words of advertising viral video bliss “Hyper Dunks! March 31st, 2008!”

The beauty of the commercial described above was Nike’s intention of the video to make it feel like it was just a video shot by Kobe and some of his friends. Of course the goal of the video was to make it a viral video which would spread from person-to-person across the internet and was a great success in that regard. But this type of video has a larger message about how to find an audience to follow you online.

That is that people must be reached where they are at with the content that they want to experience. In this video you see Kobe talking directly to the camera, making you feel as though you are there with them. The video speaks to current direction the web is heading in general towards more and more conversation and experience.

I feel like Kobe really did jump over a speeding Aston Martin.

Content that Connects

While it is pretty clear to most that the Kobe stunt never actually happened but because the video used a medium (YouTube) that spoke to the audience rather than at them it was far more effective than many other online campaigns could’ve been for Nike. In addition the same is needed for your websites, ads, and web content (in general). You need to move towards two way conversations and away from individual statements.

You can use all types of keyword tools and get your site higher rankings and more traffic but if you don’t have content that connects as conversation than it is ineffective. The Kobe Bryant video connects people to an experience (to a story) of an amazing feat. You can connect your content to your community too.

4 Steps to Connect your Content:

  1. Always tell a story. Stories have always played important roles in connecting with someone’s heart – they open the mind to new possibilities but also relate to real life senarios. If your content doesn’t tell a story people won’t read it.
  2. Always include your audience in the story. Don’t speak at them; speak to them like they really matter. Real people read your site and are in some way looking for a connection with you, you must be real with them. Your greatest personal brand is yourself and what you know.
  3. Always include content that connects with you. Share what you care about. Have you ever been in love? Was it easy to talk about him/her to others?
  4. Always think of your audience as part of your community (friends) rather than as page views or potential customers. Friends aren’t always selling each other stuff but when friends recommend something that recommendation normally takes on an infinitely higher value than the messages of advertisers. If you talk to them as friends and make people feel included in the discussion then they are more likely to buy what your selling.

Your Connection + Your Content = A Community

The best SEO advice that can be given is that best tools that you have to achieve great results are already in your mind. Only you can contribute the content that you’re capable of. I believe that each person is given by God a set of passions and desires for a reason and that you can write/talk/connect with others on an infinitely higher level on those topics that you love than those topics that you don’t care about. Make the effort to talk about what you love, and you will have more quality content and quantity of content to offer your community online.

An old interview technique is to try to steer the conversation towards something that you love talking about because it makes you forget your fears and enjoy the conversation. Similarly to reach the tipping point where a site or blog gets much broader appeal isn’t a just a matter of asking technical questions (like is my site being crawled enough times in the day or do I have enough keywords on the page) but rather questions of the heart need to be asked. Because normally the heart of the matter is the heart of matter and if you are able to release your passions people will either become passionate to or a community of passionate people will find you.

Get to work on sharing what you’d love to do for work.

This is an entry to Marketing Pilgrim’s 3rd Annual SEM Scholarship contest.

  • I really enjoyed the opportunity to write this article. If I am not fortunate enough to win the SEM competition this time around I already have many ideas for the next competition. Thanks for putting this competition on!

    Also, I think there are many good articles in the competition. Here are 2 of my favorites so far:
    Paweł Szulencki –


    Stephanie Courtney –

    Of the posts that were part of the SEM Scholarship that I got a chance to read those were some of my favorites. I will add others here that I thought were really good as well.

    Best regards,
    ps. I am a huge Lakers fan, which you might have guessed from my blog post. I think Kobe Bryant could surpass Michael Jordan in personal brand awareness if he is able to win the NBA Finals this June and then win a Gold Medal at the Olympics this summer. I could imagine that playing in front of what will undoubtedly be the largest Olympics audience ever (both in person and probably on tv) he would have a great opportunity to do just that. What do you think?

    Mike Morabito’s last blog post..Killer Quotes that could’ve been Creativity Killers

  • This is a really cool analysis of the direction that the market is moving, especially for this shoe’s target demographic. Do you think that this trend will be consistent along all demographics, or do you think it may vary as the market relates to: women, older people, business people, and others? Interested to hear what you think.

    Thanks for this great article and for your suggestions.

    Courtney Patino’s last blog post..Help My Boyfriend Win the Competition!

  • fijidaddy,

    That video is hilarious! Thanks for sharing the next edition of the Kobe Bryant viral video. Very cool.

    Thanks again!

    Mike Morabito’s last blog post..HELP ME: SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Scholarship Competition

  • Courtney, great comment! Thanks.

    It is interesting because YouTube says that their demographics are pretty equal across all demographic groups but it seems to me that viral videos would be much more popular among younger users. However more and more it seems that the viral videos are going “main stream” because a number of brands are trying to think through strategies of making their own viral video, as Nike did for this video.

    It is actually interesting because a lot of companies approach their pr or advertising agencies and say “I want a viral video” but the problem is that you can’t just buy a viral video, it needs to be made as a collaborative process between the author and the audience, who do the choosing of whether or not the video goes viral (by watching it and passing it on). In the case of the Kobe video, the video itself provided a service (Entertainment) while it was advertising a product at the same time rather than being an intruption to the conversation, it became part of the conversation.

    Additionally a lot of traditional marketing departments are weary about communication tools such youtube and blogs because those tools typically have comment boxes which the marketing departments don’t control, however, companies need to realize that there will be a conversation about their products on the web whether they like it or not and therefore they need to enter into the conversation by going to where the conversation is happening on the web such as youtube in Nike’s case.

    Mike Morabito’s last blog post..HELP ME: SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Scholarship Competition

  • I find it fascinating that companies are starting to use these kind of techniques to promote brand awareness. Traditional advertising has been so wearying for me for awhile now. I like the change.

    Stephen May’s last blog post..And Again…

  • I really don’t like this campaign. I think viral videos should be a bit more subtle in terms of advertising. I think they might have had better results if this looked less like an ad.

    seo guy’s last blog post..23 creative ads for your inspiration.

  • So Nike and Aston Martin are united to do viral marketing? I’m wandering why I stand here until now and still don’t make YouTube videos. Are you thinking the same, guys?

  • Trish

    Well written: creative, relevent, and informative.

  • Stephen, I totally agree with you traditional advertising proves the law of diminishing returns – where the more traditional advertising we receive (through junk mail, commericals, etc), the more it is ineffective as a medium because people intuitively develop the practice of subconsciously block an ad out.

    Furthermore the model that Nike used here is much more effective at reaching people because people are getting a service (entertainment) while they are being advertised to rather than the ad interrupting the entertainment, the entertainment is the ad. When I worked in a kitchen one of the head chiefs said to me that we shouldn’t serve food that we wouldn’t eat ourselves. Similarly advertising companies shouldn’t put out ads that would be extremely boring to themselves. Something to to think about.

    Thanks for the comment!

    Mike Morabito’s last blog post..HELP ME: SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Scholarship Competition

  • seo guy, thanks for the comment! Maybe I should’ve suspected something different from the video the first time I viewed it but the way I came into contact with it was that my brother told me that Kobe Bryant jumped over a car and it was on youtube. He didn’t tell me that it was an ad, but as I watched it the first time, I didn’t catch that it was an ad until the very end of the video. So for me it was pretty subtle but maybe as I get more attuned to have an advertising mindset I would’ve picked up on it sooner.

    Thanks again!

    Mike Morabito’s last blog post..HELP ME: SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Scholarship Competition

  • Keylogger Guy, thanks for the comment! Its possible that Nike asked Aston Martin to use one of their cars in the video in the same way that companies ask for copyright permission to use their products in giveaways contests and what not. Although it is possible that it is a joint deal, I have not seen any Kobe Bryant Aston Martin commercials but that would be cool.

    Thanks for the comment!

    Has any one seen a car commercial with Kobe in it?

    Mike Morabito’s last blog post..HELP ME: SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Scholarship Competition

  • Thanks Trish. I appreciate the complement!

    Mike Morabito’s last blog post..HELP ME: SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Scholarship Competition

  • Jenny

    Very interesting, Mike! I love the idea of conversations and connecting with those around us. And the conclusion is great…we can’t go wrong when we follow our passions!

  • Thank you Mike, for rephrasing my reply in a much better manner. As soon as you mentioned that, I thought of some good examples of that in my own life.

    The primary would be Myspace. Their ads used to anny me so much. They bother me less now, not because the ads have changed, but because I don’t even notice them anymore.

    Stephen May’s last blog post..And Again…

  • Great article, Mike! I love the idea of “Your Connection + Your Content = A Community” – you’re very articulate about communities in general and I like the way you integrate it as a marketing philosophy. If I could vote for the winner of the contest, I’d vote for you!

    AJ Harbison

    AJ Harbison’s last blog post..Alias Ends in B-flat Major

  • Thanks for the comment Jenny! I agree with your agreement!

    Mike Morabito’s last blog post..HELP ME: SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Scholarship Competition

  • Stephen, its really true. People online develop the discipline of not looking at ads and directing their eyes to only the content on the page that they want to see. There was an interesting study done where a website owner put static images in the spots where ads typically go on the site and through eye tracking heat maps they found that even when he had static photos people had trained themselves to not direct their attention to those places on the page because it wasn’t relevant to them.

    Also, recently I went a conference in SF called ad:tech where I went to seminar which had speakers from DirectTV, Tivo and OnDemand. One of the speakers said something very interesting: that tv advertisers are starting to consider the fact that with Tivo and DVR’s people are fast forwarding through their commercials so their goals are changing so that their commercials look cool both at normal speed and at the fast forwarding speed. Additionally, they said that some advertisers see the fast forwarding of commercials as an opportunity to get even higher engagement with the viewers because when a person is fast forwarding they are also closely watching to see when the commericals are done as to not miss the beginning of their show after the commercial break is over rather than viewers who simply change the channel during each commercial break. Pretty interesting.

    Mike Morabito’s last blog post..HELP ME: SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Scholarship Competition

  • AJ, thanks for the vote of confidence and the comment! I love communities and that might be why I am so into what is going on on the web right now.

    Also, I love SEM/SEO because it is about accessibility for both computers and for people, to allow as many people into the conversation online is my goal.

    I recently watched a webinar on advertising in SecondLife (the huge online virtual world) and what the guy said to me at one point was pretty amazing. He said that people that can’t walk in the real world can not only walk and be “normal” but can also fly within SecondLife. For a lot of people the web opens doors of community that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

    Mike Morabito’s last blog post..HELP ME: SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Scholarship Competition

  • Mark Harbison

    Great article! I never thought I’d enjoy reading an article about marketing, but I must admit that you’ve proved me wrong.

    I love the emphasis you put on customers as people, and advertising being dependent on the passions to be successful. I guess I’d never really thought about it before, but it really is amazing the difference it makes when people talk at me and when people talk to me.

    I hope you win, this really was great!

  • Ryan Maguire

    Good article Mike. I enjoyed the “4 steps to connect to your content” section.

  • Mark, thanks for the comment! I am really big on talking to people rather than at them. I feel like it elevates their position as people from merely customers to something higher, like friends/community and or collaborators.

    Thanks again, I hope I win too! 🙂

    Mike Morabito’s last blog post..HELP ME: SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Scholarship Competition

  • Ryan, thanks for reading my article!

    I feel like people have been given so much and I think when they share what they have with others they get so much more back from the experience. The same is true of when we give away our content on the internet. Furthermore, I think that each person has been given certain traits and talents for the purpose of helping others by giving the results of those talents away.

    For example…When I give you what I have I get in return the opportunity to connect with you. And I believe connecting with others provides the deepest joy and fulfillment on this side of heaven.

    In the Kobe Bryant video we get to experience some form of connection with Kobe which makes us feel part of his community. Additionally, the video is/was launched on a communal medium (youtube) which provided even more community to form around the initial viral video.

    Mike Morabito’s last blog post..HELP ME: SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Scholarship Competition

  • Mike Patino

    Thank you for the great article. Your piece was an eye opener for someone who takes so much at face value.

    My generation is taking more time catching up with what can be done on the internet. The subtleties make it a chalklenge to know how to keep on top.

    Good luck!

  • Ryan Fleming

    Cool video. I am not much for marketing, but that video did connect with me. I had to watch it a second time because It was something that hooked me. This is a great marketing strategy because connecting with your audience reals them in like that video did for me. And great article by the way!

  • Carol Hunt

    Very impressive! I thoroughly enjoyed reading each and every word. Keep up the good work. Your friends in Iowa know that you are already a winner!

  • Very interesting article Mike, I thoroughly enjoyed the use of the youtube clip. I too, think you are a winner and they should end the contest early. Keep up the great work, maybe we could talk about your web marketing skills as I have a few tricks of my own. You have solid support in IOWA!!

  • Mike, thanks for the comment! I really appreciate it. The interesting thing about how advertising and business is done on the internet is that it in someways opens up the doors to make business than more than just about pricing (even though the internet may make it seem like pricing is king) because there are more opportunities today to network socially online in a way that wasn’t possible in traditional sales/advertising.

    Furthermore, using the internet to supplement traditional sales and advertising solidifys your personal brand which people are really buying.

    Thanks again!

    Mike Morabito’s last blog post..HELP ME: SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Scholarship Competition

  • Ryan, thanks for watching, reading and commenting. I feel like I have watched that video over 15 times. I love it, you almost get the feeling that you are there with Kobe. There is now also another viral video commercial from Nike out with Kobe jumping over a pool of snakes, its pretty funny.

    Thanks for the complements!

    Mike Morabito’s last blog post..HELP ME: SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Scholarship Competition

  • Carol, I’m so glad that you got a chance to read my article, thanks for the comment. I’m glad that my article even made it to the nice people who live on the mississippi rivers edge in Iowa! I appreciate you calling me a Winner already. 🙂

    Thanks again!

    Mike Morabito’s last blog post..HELP ME: SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Scholarship Competition

  • Dane, good to hear from you here. Thanks for representing IOWA. Thanks for calling the contest and pronouncing me the winner, already. I hope that the rest of the web and the judges think so as well. Thanks for the support.

    I would love to share some internet marketing ideas with each other sometime.

    Thanks Dane!

    Mike Morabito’s last blog post..HELP ME: SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Scholarship Competition

  • Anita

    Hey, Mike–great job on your article. I enjoyed it very much and hope you win the contest.

  • John Viggiano

    Mike, I found your article direct, relevant and informative. I appreciate your insight in the Search Engine Marketing space and the structure of your commentary…Content that Connects; 4 Steps to Connect your Content; Your Connection + Your Content = A Community.

    Best of Luck in the Competition!

  • Thanks Anita!

    Mike Morabito’s last blog post..HELP ME: SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Scholarship Competition

  • John, I appreciate your thoughtful and generous complement. Thank for checking it out!

    Mike Morabito’s last blog post..HELP ME: SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Scholarship Competition

  • Btw, I know the Lakers aren’t playing like they should but they did do enough in Game 6 to push the series back to Boston with a chance to play for Game 7 where anything can happen.

    Let’s all hope that Kobe gets hot, and that the rest of the Lakers man up.

    Interestingly enough, perhaps as the Lakers go, so goes this post in the competition because I bet if (for example) Kobe Bryant has a big game in the finals this post in particular will get more traffic because there would be more searches for “Kobe Bryant” in general, but if they lose and or he has a bad game maybe there would be less searches for him. It would be an interesting case study to compare the Lakers performance against the amount of traffic that this blog post brings in over the span of the playoffs. Because of the NBA finals this post might create what SEOs refer to the Longtail keyword effect. Hmm…

    Mike Morabito’s last blog post..HELP ME: SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Scholarship Competition

  • Sorry about the Lakers Mike, not really. Anyway great job with the article, I think it was an excellent lead in with you describing the video and then making your points.

    I entered this contest a couple of years back and can tell you from my experience that you are indeed already a winner. Keep up the good work!

    David Temple’s last blog post..Chris Winfield scores a hat trick; twittering, blogging and presenting

  • David, thanks for your empathy, not really.

    Thanks for your complement, this competition was challenging for me, but I am really glad I did it. We will see what happens, your story on your site about entering the SEM competition was really cool.

    Keep up the good work, maybe I’ll will hear you speak at SEO conference sometime!

    Mike Morabito’s last blog post..HELP ME: SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Scholarship Competition

  • Are you having a hard time holding your breath?

    David Temple’s last blog post..Traveling social media training workshops

  • Yeah, I can’t wait to find out how I did. I’d love to win, but will accept the decisions of the judges.

    Thanks for checking back in. I really appreciate it.

    Mike Morabito’s last blog post..Bill Gates Last Day

  • He is basketball palyer and its obvious he can jump, but i have see kids jumping over car on youtube.

  • How tall is Kobe Bryant?