With millions of pieces of content being uploaded every day, it’s rare that you run across an example of pure, inspired perfection. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of content garbage out there. So, not only is it fun to see a piece of content that speaks directly to you, but also one that entertains from beginning to end. It’s even more exciting when you find out that this very piece of content also exceeded every goal, making it a success to the marketers who dreamed it up. For me, and many content marketers, “This Is a Generic Brand Video” (TIAGBV) is that piece of content.
Created by Dissolve, which licenses high-quality stock footage “for today’s visual storyteller,” this video represents the success formula all content marketers are looking to find. It was created as a piece of content specifically aimed at:
- Driving marketers to the Dissolve website
- Converting new sign-ups (leads)
- Entertaining its audience
When the video launched, marketers far and wide were left laughing, entertained and sharing with friends and colleagues. In short, they were doing EVERYTHING that a target audience is supposed to do when they see content they love.
Where’d This Inspired Content Idea Come From?
I had the opportunity to ask Lori Burwash, Dissolve content writer, that very question. The team at Dissolve is so thrilled with the success of the video they were more than happy to share their thoughts on the project, metrics and overall love for the piece.
As fans of McSweeney’s, they knew it was their “moral imperative” to make the video the minute they read Kendra Eash’s article of the same title. As Lori said, “How could we not? Seemed like a no-brainer.”
The rest is history. They set out to create a video using the exact text from the McSweeney’s piece, matching it perfectly to stock video from the Dissolve catalog. But the goal was not just to make a fun video, this video was part of a larger strategy to connect with their target audience.
“Since Dissolve’s inception in 2013, content marketing has been critical in building brand awareness and helping us carve out a distinct presence in the stock footage industry,” said Burwash. “And with our product being a significant building block of any content marketing strategy, we kind of have an advantage! So, from the start, we have created showreels and short films that show our footage in use. It’s a powerful way to show off the quality of our footage in a way that’s interesting, entertaining and, with any luck, inspiring to our customers.”
And the strategy and approach worked. Let’s take a closer look at why it did when so many others fall flat.
4 Reasons “This Is a Generic Brand Video” Is the Best Content Marketing in 2014
As I write this article, “This Is a Generic Brand Video” has over 2 million views, nearly 12,000 likes and over 2,000 comments. There’s no doubt the video resonated with a broad audience. But “viral love” is only the beginning.
There are 4 things all content marketers have in mind when launching new content or a campaign: their goal, their audience, entertainment value and measuring success. This video checks every box.
#1 – It Met Its Goals
Every piece of content and every content marketing strategy should start with a goal in mind. Just what is it you’re trying to achieve? Generally this is easy to answer. In the case of TIAGBV, Dissolve was looking to build awareness and gain new sign-ups.
Did Dissolve meet their goal?
“As a new entrant to the stock footage market, we primarily want to build awareness for our stock footage by showing our product in use. Secondary goals were to increase sign-ups and site traffic. We wanted to let creatives working in advertising and video production know that we have high-quality stock footage, and that we understand their world and their needs,” commented Burwash.
Check – the video met goals.
#2 – It Resonated With Their Target Audience
Every brand should aim to create content that has a very specific audience in mind. The goal is to not only reach that audience, but to resonate. This is generally a tricky process because half of your success comes from putting the content in the right hands, and the other half comes from creating content those people will like.
Did the video resonate?
“It hit a sweet spot. We’re a stock footage company that made a video calling out the clichés that stock footage is often implicated in, using stock footage. Mind-blowing. People loved it and loved that we ‘got it,’” commented Burwash.
Check – the video resonated with the Dissolve audience.
#3 – Was It Entertaining?
All great content tries to entertain, shock or be thought-provoking. If you hit one of these, you’ve got a potential hit on your hands. If you hit all three, you probably have a viral hit on your hands.
Did the video entertain?
“Though the script parodied the most egregious clichés in ‘shoot the brief’ brand videos, we wanted to see it made. And we thought our audience would enjoy seeing it, too. We knew that, despite being a formulaic, paint-by-numbers execution, we could make it look good, and if it was funny enough, people would share it and see our footage in action. While a very few people seemed to think we were crazy for poking fun at the very product we sell, most loved our sense of humor,” commented Burwash.
Check – the video entertained.
#4 – Impressive Success Metrics
All marketers look at the success of content a little differently. While the mix of metrics may vary, there seems to be a universal acceptance of a few different metrics that we all agree upon: traffic and new business/leads. I would add viral sharing and press pick-up to the mix.
Did the video result in impressive success metrics?
According to Burwash, “The video was posted on March 21, 2014. On March 25, it exploded: articles on Fast Company, Ad Age, Adweek, Mashable, Gizmodo, Mediaite and TIME; Vimeo Staff Pick and a Boing Boing post. To date, there are over 1.6 million views on YouTube and 527,000 on Vimeo. During that first week, site visits increased by 9x, site signups and sales revenue both increased 6x. The video was widely shared and commented upon — and continues to get views, comments and shares. Research requests poured in from large ad agencies who were previously not customers. In short, the video put us on the radar of stock users.”
Check – I don’t know if the video could have done a whole lot better.
What Can We Learn From Dissolve’s Success?
By now I think I have watched this video about a dozen times and it’s already on my mental list of all-time favorites. While I’d like to offer a fool-proof guide on how to apply the Dissolve formula and create a piece of content just as amazing and successful, the truth is there is no silver bullet when it comes to content marketing.
But what I have learned is this: follow some basic steps, push the boundaries a little bit, and look for inspiration. When inspiration strikes, go for it and do your best work. No one knows for sure which piece of content you create will be your Generic Brand Video. But if you don’t try, you’ll never find out.