29 Aug 2012

Awesome video of the week #40: Mr W

Ok ok, many of you have already seen this, but we came back across it recently and decided it had to be posted. It’s an ad for an Australian renewable energy company called Epuron. It went viral some time in 2008, and it really is brilliant.

10 May 2012

Awesome Video of the Week #39: VW Hovermobile (and a Neat Trend We’re Following)

The staples of any sci-fi film are generally predictable: space travel, antimatter energy, holographic technology, m-theory, and flying passenger vehicles. All amazing stuff, but general purpose hovercraft seems the most attainable in the short term. Apparently a couple of dreamers in China though so too. So they took part in Volkswagen’s “People’s Car” project run by the VW team in China and designed the following awesomely silly video. The vehicle is powered by CGI rather than magnetic levitation, but the technology does exist to make this a reality.

A bit tacky, you say? We absolutely agree. But the real reason we’re sharing this video is because we’ve noticed a trend in advertising: namely, pre-selling products not just before availability, but before product design is complete. The practice comes from the software industry’s use of vaporware. The term vaporware comes from the software industry; it’s the practice of announcing a product which does not exist and likely never will. It’s done mostly to steal a competitor’s marketing thunder, but advertisers are starting to use the practice to “focus group” products on a wide scale.

Pre-selling beats focus group scope and reach, but also is interesting as a means to measure degree of excitement for the proposed product. Simply put, if your company pulls a product it’s been promising, and your customers howl vociferously, you have a winner of a product on your hands.

There’s an additional benefit – brand lift. We’ve run a number of “pre sell” videos in three categories and compared CTRs to more traditional ad segments. Not surprisingly, the tech segment sees improved call to action responses, but the impact of pre-selling in the food & beverage space really stands out. Part of it may be particularly engaging creatives, of course. There’s another theory we at Volume11 have bandied about. We believe consumers don’t expect “pre selling” in food & beverage. In general, presell advertising may be particularly effective in industries where “vaporware selling” is least expected.
Either way, we’d love to see a hover car on the market VW.

18 Apr 2012

Awesome Video of the Week #38: Chipotle Farming

Chipotle’s 2011 stop-motion environmental spot featuring Willie Nelson was just amazing – worth a little Earth Day repost. The ad went insanely viral, poignantly promoting Both Chipotle’s organic ingredients and its foundation supporting sustainable agriculture.
The spot features the story of a farmer who builds his small operation into a giant industrial machine—penning in his animals, fattening them with chemicals, chopping them up in slaughter machines, and polluting nearby rivers in the process. Eventually the farmer releases the animals to roam and graze, sets up wind turbines all over his fields, and delivering the end product to a Chipotle courier. They added a cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist” by Willie Nelson, which made our eyes leak a little. To sprinkle just a little more awesome on top of this, proceeds from sales of Willie Nelson’s song on iTunes go directly to the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation. Yes, we purchased it. Yes, we’re do-gooders.

Enjoy this “Earth Day Edition” Awesome Video of the Week!

23 Feb 2012

Awesome Video of the Week #32: The Walking Dead

Anyone else obsessed with The Walking Dead? Check out what we think is the best marketing we’ve seen this week. Our favorite is the guy who not-so-subtly ducks behind his girlfriend to save himself.

11 Jan 2012

Awesome Video of the Week #27: Sh*t Nobody Says

Anybody else sick of the “Sh*t so-and-so says” meme? Well, we’re not really, but this one is kind of takes the cake. Enjoy!

14 Nov 2011

The Busy Advertiser’s Guide to Content Length Optimization

Online viewers often report shorter advertising as one appealing aspect of digital content consumption, yet content providers are always looking to increase ad loads. So how much do increased ad loads detract from depth and quality of advertising engagement? Can advertisers keep everyone happy? (short answer: we think so).

We’ve sampled nearly 2 million viewers to draw some general pointers. Completion rates were divided up into short form (15 seconds or less), medium form ads (16-30 seconds), and long form (over 30 seconds). Our hypothesis is simply that content length is a key driver of engagement, and shorter ads complete at higher rates. This is hardly an Ivy League thesis here, of course. It just makes sense shorter ads would see less drop-off. Indeed, our hypothesis that shorter ads are completed more often does pan out in the data, but we found a couple of other correlations which we were not expecting. We also found short form and long form content may be optimal for different reasons (but medium form content isn’t optimal). Here are the correlations we found from the data:

Short form ads reliably complete over 85%.

Short form ads to complete at higher rates on average. No surprise there. Also not surprising is that fifteen-second ads produce less volatility around completion rates. The difference between the worst fifteen-second performer and the best performer in our sample is only eight percentage points. In fact, excluding of the worst performer, we noticed fifteen-second ads cluster between 87% and 91% completion.

Medium forms ads are the most content dependent, but complete at similar rates to long form ads.

We’ll admit this one was a little surprising. We logically expected long form ads might be more dependent on content to keep audiences engaged, but it turns out medium form ads exhibited the highest volatility. Many of the drop offs we observed among medium form ads occurred between fifteen and twenty seconds. Interestingly, the highest performing ad in our sample is a medium form ad, but that particular ad isn’t much better than the top performing fifteen second spot.

It also turns out that medium and long form ads complete at almost identical rates: 70% and 71% respectively. Yes, long form ads actually tallied up a slighter higher view to completion than did shorter ads, although by a statistically insignificant amount. The takeaway seems to be that once you an ad exceeds fifteen seconds, content is king, and length becomes far less significant.

Conclusion and Recommendations.

  • Looking to advertise a brand, concept, issue or idea? Opt for shorter, more frequent bursts of video to retain audience mindshare. The chances are your message will be seen in its entirety, giving you the highest possible campaign efficiency.
  • Looking to tell a story, or demonstrate product use to customers? If you’re going to wow your audiences with your message, why not give yourself more than 30 seconds to tell your story? You might be surprised how many of your customers decide funny, witty, or fascinating ad content is worth sticking around for.

It’s also worth noting that content placement is likely to impact completion rates as well. However, that is a subject for a future entry on the Crank it Up blog. Stay tuned!

04 Nov 2011

Awesome Video of the Week #20: Microsoft is Cool Again

We admit it, we love the Kinect gaming system. If you’re not convinced the gaming system is one of the coolest consumer product releases in recent memory, you will once you see the following video. The ad features a series of Kinect hacks which improve the lives of non-gamers in surprising ways.


When most people think of cool consumer tech companies, it’s safe to say Apple and Google would be mentioned early and often by most digerati. That’s surely deserved, but the above ad from Microsoft is the kind of ad which moves people to shop, and can be legitimately called the awesome video of the week.

28 Oct 2011

Awesome Video of the Week #19: Real Life Online Checkout

You probably haven’t given much thought about how lengthy e-commerce checkout times are, unless you’re really, really bored. That or you work for the google analytics team. Most of us tend to think about real space purchasing as less convenient than online purchasing, but what if real life checkout lines worked the same way online checkouts do?

Below you’ll see the lengthiest ever purchase of a loaf of bread, complete with purchase timing out and even a captcha. Bravo Google Analytics marketing team!

01 Oct 2011

Awesome Video of the Week #15: How to Peel Garlic in 10 Seconds

The web is profuse with do-it-yourself guides, lifehacks, and other utility blogs. Some of them are quite amazing. Distinguishing a web portal as the premier destination for eyeballs requires creativity; particularly in the crowded foodie space. Food blogs not only need to compete in a crowded field, but also need to compete with ample user generated content.

Here’s one idea way to grab attention (from this blog, at least): create an incredible, 1 minute video which provides a simple solution to a ubiquitous and incredibly annoying problem. That’s what food blog Saveur did to earn top billing as this week’s Awesome Video of the Week.

Behold, How to peel garlic in 10 seconds.

22 Sep 2011

Awesome Video of the Week #14: Viral Ad? Nope It’s Chuck Testa

There really isn’t a magic bullet for making a social video go viral, but we do know the formula is a combination of content and distribution. We’ve distilled distribution to a science at Volume11 Media. As for content, marketers spend thousands of dollars trying to crack that code. Some have hit the mark but those who miss, often inflict damage to their brand.

The video you’re about to see more than hit the mark, but went through the bullseye, looped around, and hit it again. At the time of this writing, the video has been viewed 4 million times.

The production value and script is the tongue-in-cheek work of an IFC program called “Rhett & Link: Commercial Kings”, which decided to help local business owner Chuck Testa create a commercial to boost his business. For their part, Rhett & Link travel the country creating ads for the ”most deserving local businesses”. The IFC show duo created a script for Testa and made the ad at no cost to him. The result is a video which shows a variety of dead animals looking so life-like that people think they’re real. “Nope, it’s just Chuck Testa,” he responds repeatedly during the video. And so an Internet sensation is born. We’ll certainly follow the Commercial Kings show going forward, which has now become a fascinating laboratory for social video experiments.