Posted February 16, 2009 1:00 am by with 1 comment

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We love to talk about the successes of online video. The viral nature of a good campaign can mean trident-gumsignificant impact to the bottom line of a company. Just ask Blendtec. Most are familiar with the “Will it Blend” video phenomenon that still has legs after almost 2 years. To a lesser degree, big brands like Dove and Levis had had success getting their brands in front of folks in ways that couldn’t happened just a few short years ago.

So viral video works. The question is how often and to what degree? Take the example Trident gum. Trident is remembered mostly for one of the most successful tag lines in advertising by claiming that 4 out of 5 dentists prefer Trident sugarless gum for patients who chew gum. There have even been some funny TV ads speculating what happened to the 5th dentist. Good stuff because it sticks (to your brain not your dental work). Apparently this magic touch has not translated to the world of viral internet video as explained in the WSJ.

Trident is trying to make gum interesting to the Internet video crowd for obvious reasons. The most obvious is to sell more gum. Also, they want to be cool, I suppose. How they have gone about it however has baffled more than a few industry experts.

Through a ‘fake’ Internet site that is about revealing fakes (I’m not kidding here) we are introduced to two North Carolina rubes Jerry and Wendell Tucker. They test the strength of Jerry’s teeth with such things as being smashed in the face with a bowling ball and ol’ Jerry ripping the axle off a car using his Trident strengthened chompers. Well, I am not a big video guy to begin with and this doesn’t sound like the kind of stuff to make me rush to join in the hilarity.

Looks like industry insiders feel the same way. The consensus is that the campaign is not working. Of course Trident (a division of Cadbury) and their agency say differently (to be expected) but the best way to see is an informal poll. Since readers of Marketing Pilgrim are right in the crosshairs as the target audience for this type of campaign, how many of you had heard of this before reading this post?

What has your experience been with using viral video campaigns for your business? What works? What doesn’t? What has to be done to support the video? Thanks for your input.

  • It’s a new campaign to me (although I’m based in the UK, I work in marketing, so generally hear about most things early on!).

    The thing is that viral campaigns are never guaranteed to work, and we shouldn’t be too surprised that most are likely to be average at best in terms of response. Virals rely on everything being just right, and the creative part is probably hardest to facilitate if you’re creating content as the viral medium.

    Dan Thornton’s last blog post..Why Twitter won’t replace Google search- but will overtake it