Published January 17 2010, 15:11, republished with updates July 17 2010, 17:00 with comments to the Old Spice social media campaign.

Last Friday, I met Viktor Bolin of JMW on AW10, an informal afterwork for friends in the Swedish communication industry. I told him that I really liked his focus on creating video content. Why?

Well, traditionally, the PR industry has been all about the written and the spoken word. Early digital technologies actually didn’t change this; they rather added to the importance of mainly the written word. Nowadays however, the evolution in bandwith has to be regarded as a game changer; visual communication is becoming increasingly important, and as an industry, we can’t just rely on written and spoken words anymore.

Someone told me that Youtube now is #2 in search. Go figure.

“It’s not about the viral effects of video” Victor ensured me, probably aware of my persistent crusade against viral marketing as a PR strategy.

But then Victor blew me away. He explained that video producers could use the digital landscape to actually go the other way altogether. Instead of creating expensive content intended to be viewed by millions multiple times, we should start focusing on more basic and differentiated productions.

In these times, he explained, no-one should be forced to watch a video clip more than once.

Instead of investing say 3.000.000 SEK in a couple of commercial video ads, you could just give the same amount to someone who for that same budget could create a great number of films to be broadcasted one time each. Victor gave me an example:

Let the comedy crew “Varan-TV” go crazy with it, let them express a brand or its products and services and then see what happens. Brilliant. I for one would actually stay put whenever there’s a commercial break!

But what about message consistency, one might ask. Well, what about it? Any PR pro could tell you that the one and a same message always can be conveyed in any number of ways.

This is the new PR way to go about video; it’s all about becoming more engaging – not repetetive. You don’t send out a press release over and over to one and the same journalist until they actually write something, do you? Why should the digital publics be treated any differently? Well, they shouldn’t.

This line of thinking holds the potential of becoming a mental antidote for the viral mindset that so many marketeers have been infected with.

Video PR should always be about saying it once in real-time, and then let search and the long-tail take care of the rest. And, I’m just saying – this might maybe something for the advertising industry to take into account as well?

Updated: Most of you have probably seen the remarkable campaign signed by Old Spice. A fun and successful commercial that transformed into a video response PR campaign aimed at individual influencers and digital commons on the social web.

Peter Shankman, PR-evangelist and skydiver (I think he is something of a basejumper, too) was one of the lucky guys to get an individual video response, and of course he wrote about it, too. Who wouldn’t?

Oh, by the way. Old Spice guy hooked a guy up with his wife to be, too.

And yes, she said yes. Hopefully it will be enough for her to say it just once to just one individual. Lesson learned; don’t be boring and redundant. You don’t want those who love you to start looking elsewhere for their needs, right?

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Viktor Bolin

Thank you so much for your words, you’re way to kind :)

I really hope that this discussion can reatin its’ momentum and – over time – perhaps even influence budgeting in at least ONE communications campaign. Let’s keep things moving in this direction, and I’m sure consumers will become less annoyed – and agencies will gain more (necessary) creative freedom.


Very interesting thoughts.

Money spread out on more projects means less quality and thought behind it but it can also be directed towards different segments of the market and thereby, more genuinely, catch various customers who will find atleast one video they like.

Interesting to take the concept a step further and apply it on feature film. Not seeing the same movie twice, instead reaching the “long tail”