advertising and other stuff. no, really.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Fat kids are our future.

(Clip NSFW.) 12+ million views in four years. That’s what jankstarr k’s YouTube channel has. The thing that stands out most? The fearlessness of a kid kid willing to poke fun at himself at an age that’s typically a nightmare for kids like that. It also underscores a point about the effectiveness of online advertising that came up on the Beancast.

I take it one step further though: Just what constitutes online success at all?

Brands, content creators or regular viewers answer this differently. Assume reality goes on hiatus for a second and that now views are the only metric we should use to define success online. Assume too that those views are legit, and that they contribute to overall buzz in some way, either negative or positive.

If you do that, it’s not hard to see how much brands have failed to deliver when it comes to content people want to see.

When you look at any list short of commercials the day after the Super Bowl, brand efforts at viral or *webisodic* content do not deliver anywhere the same volume of views as consistently as content by non-professionals. (Aka, your neighbor with the cute baby on webcam in her living room.)

When brands fail here it’s almost always because they inject too much of themselves into content they think will go viral. If by chance they do manage to get decent views for something? It likely comes from TV commercials first that are subsequently posted online.

That’s hardly original online content.

Again, if in this make-believe scenario views matter, look at the top 99 brands in the Fortune Global 2000 and compare it to 99 Things You Should Have Already Experienced On The Internet. Then count how many brands are in the latter.

Seems like epic fail.

Okay, back to reality. So using views as the only metric to measure internet success is unrealistic. Duh. Obviously, other things matter. (Stuff like clicks, website traffic and time spent there, actual orders in shopping carts, mentions on social networks, and so on.)

But there’s a problem with any of that: When it comes entertainment online (aka, anything *viral*) and getting people to buy now, there’s almost always no direct response component or tangible call to action with it.

(One interesting exception is Blendtec’s Will It Blend? 107+ million views since around the same time jankstarr k launched, and responsible for 700% growth in their home product sales, all with no discernable call to action.)

Barring that exception to the rule, buzz is about all you’re left with as a way to measure interest in a brand or person. It’s what PR shops sell clients on getting, no? New product out, gotta get Twitter, blogs and the Today Show talking about it, right?

And buzz is also based on... views.

So how is a fat kid singing any less relevant in terms of success, especially if it lays the groundwork for him down the road to blow up big on iTunes (no pun), followed by the inevitable reality series, followed by the stint in rehab that people will eventually talk about on Twitter.

Even though a traditional advertising model doesn’t seem to fit that example, this is what the online experience is now producing: A generation of original content. In the case of jankstarr k, ad-free content.

For now.

(Clip via Ectoplasmosis!)

1 comment:

Dan Barron said...

OK, 12 million views, but I never saw it til now.
Touching. In a different sort of way.