About 3 weeks ago, this video began to make the rounds on the interweb.
With 17 million views to date, it’s quite a sensation. What interests me, however, is not how this is being used to rehabilitate Chris Brown’s image/brand (it’s his song they’re dancing to), but rather the fact that it appears his record company (or their affiliates), may have been behind the video’s success. Today, digital marketer Augustine Frou laid out this compelling case. Amongst his less technical, more interesting facts: most videos take 4-6 months to achieve the number of views this video recieved in DAYS, and the wedding party was booked to perform their dance on the Today Show only 6 days after they posted it to Youtube. (Morning TV is not easily or quickly booked, especially when the dance was done to an UNCLEARED use of a major label recording). Anna Maria Virzi, at Clikz, got Frou to summarize his case in layman’s/lazyman’s terms:
“This is one of the rare, if not the only, examples of a viral video that actually drove a measurable increase in sales. Unless someone from Sony or one of their PR agencies steps up to ‘claim credit’ for doing such an awesome job of not only driving sales but also polishing Chris Brown’s image at the same time, we may never truly know if they did this. But if they did, this would go down as a text-book case of viral video marketing done right.”
Understatement of the year. If this is actually how it went down, it takes viral marketing to an entirely new level, negotiating not just the flow of the message (interns posting on message boards, tweeting, submitting it to blogs0, but huge technical, legal, and bureaucratic hurdles. In the olden days of 2008, its probably more likely SONY would have had the video taken off of Youtube because the song use wasn’t cleared. Instead, they recognized a huge opportunity for a downtrodden artist and made a mountain out of a molehill.
So sorry Rihanna, it seems funny dancing is way more compelling to America than not supporting celebrities who beat the crap out of their girlfriends. (I lied when I said I wasn’t interested in WHY Sony might be so invested in tying the (apologetic) abuser to a most joyous, happy, nonviolent moment in a young couples lives.)