After much yeasaying (and naysaying), there is still no final verdict on whether the viral video is a useful medium for Australian small businesses.
It’s true that you don’t need to have a large budget to produce an engaging piece of video content. It’s possible for said content to be passed by word of mouth (word of link? Click? Web?) to eventually receive the somewhat misleading label of ‘viral’, thereby sky-rocketing your brand to internet stardom.
It’s also true that you aren’t the only one trying to do this. The likelihood of a large number of people seeing what you produce is fairly slim. It’s worth noting that most really successful videos are largely produced for, and popularised by, people who aren’t in Australia. Disconcerting, then, for Aussie businesses trying to make (or be) the next big thing on the interwebs.
If you happen to be down in these particular doldrums, these ‘viral’ videos might put you on the right track again. They’re all low budget, communicate their entertaining message inventively, and most importantly (with one worthy exception) are produced by Australian companies and agencies for Aussie (and occasionally international) audiences.
Australian tourism ads have a history of embarrassing the country they’re trying to promote, one way or another. When the ‘Where the bloody hell is you’ ad reared its ugly head, Downwind Media decided to make the most of this tradition. By casting some less appealing aspects of Australian culture (racism, restrictive immigration laws) in the same mold, the agency created an entertaining and engaging bit of viral media.
This is a similar approach from Aktif Magazine, using an advertisement promoting AFL as a springboard. It’s worth noting, at this point, that online video lends itself very well to parody. The jokes in this ad may be cheap shots at some of Australia’s true sporting legends, but they are undeniably funny, making viewers more receptive to the brand that appears at the end of the clip.
It’s important to keep your target customer in mind when creating content. This video, produced for 5min.com, and appropriated by Sprite, is enormously adept at identifying and appealing to an audience. The video follows a man endeavoring to avoid lines and a cover charge at nightclubs, by masquerading as a DJ. Entertaining, engaging, this video could be used to spruik just about anything to 20-somethings.
This Samsung ad isn’t Australian—it was shot in Wales—but its appeal is distinctly Australasian, and it’s too good an example not to include in a list of inventive DIY viral ads. The production scale in this example is slightly higher than in the previous two, but it still has a firmly lo-fi sensibility to it. The important thing to note with this ad is the idea: it’s simple, relatively easy to create (provided you have a hilly farm, a couple of flocks of sheep, and the patience to attach LED nets to all of them) and it would’ve looked remarkable even without skilled shepherds.
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