Here are some of the best examples of branded content that came out this week:
1) Jamie Casino: Casino’s Law
One of the most popular videos that came out during the Super Bowl was Jamie Casino’s 2-minute spot that aired in Savannah, Georgia.
Opening with an excerpt from the Bible, the ad is full of noir-like lighting, barbed wire, flowers, and lots of fire. Casino, a former criminal defense lawyer turned personal injury lawyer, tells the tale of how he changed professions after his brother was fatally shot.
The video looks as if it were a promo for a new cable TV show or even an upcoming crime drama blockbuster. With his leather jacket, sunglasses, and flaming sledgehammer, Casino looks like a bad-ass that will stop at nothing to get stuff done.
In a recent interview with The New York Daily News, Casino explains how the spot was intended to be only a minute long, but pushed for more air time when he decided to take a more serious and cinematic route.
It was definitely a smart move on his part because the video has gone viral, earning almost 5 million views in a matter of days.
2) Bell’s Whiskey: The Reader
Bell’s Whiskey is a brewery based out of Europe, and they are relatively new to the commercial game, in the United States anyways. Their latest ad, though, took a note from the success of other beer companies, such as Budweiser and Guiness, by creating a spot that tells such a heartfelt and inspirational story.
We are introduced to an older gentleman buying reading pamphlets at a book store. As his story unfolds, we learn that he is learning to read with the help of night classes, Scrabble friends, and children books. His giddy chuckle and clear determination to learn is touching and he confronts the obstacle with a positive attitude and willpower.
The commercial comes to an end when we see the man reading a large book and meeting the author (pictured prominently on the cover) in a bar. We learn the author is his son and was his motivation the entire time. We see the pride and happiness in both of their eyes when his son orders him a Bell’s.
Though this is an approach that we have seen from beer companies before, Bell’s switches it up a bit with a unique story and an interesting character arc. This is definitely a great way for the company to get their name out there, especially a new brand trying to break into the US Market.
3) The Walking Dead: Zombies Prank in NYC
AMC has jumped onto the experiential marketing bandwagon with a video of another frightening prank in New York City. Following the massive success of “Devil Baby Attack”, AMC gathered a small army of zombies to scare passer-bys in the city in order to promote the upcoming Spring premiere of The Walking Dead.
We are given a behind-the-scenes look as a crew designs the sidewalk grate in which the clan of “Walkers” will be hiding. The actors are styled with fake blood, make-up and prosthetics to make them look like they’re decomposing, and are then hidden beneath the grate.
Are the reactions entertaining? Yes. We see multiple people jump and squirm away from the hands that unexpectedly shoot up from the ground. Some people barely have a reaction, which is also humorous to watch.
The reactions are not as exaggerated or intense as those who fell victim to the Devil Baby. They are fun to watch, but nowhere near as hilarious. Plus, there did not seem to be as much work put into this prank, considering the Devil Baby prank required the team to completely build an animatronic baby from scratch, and here, we only see people in heavy duty makeup. It’s still impressive, but does not seem to match the hype of Devil Baby.
The Walking Dead definitely has a huge fan base, though, so this video is bound to attract thousands, probably even millions, of viewers before the upcoming premiere.
4) McDonald’s Canada: Pink Goop in Chicken McNuggets?
McDonald’s Canada has just released a video that addresses the growing concern surrounding an image of “pink goop” that was said to have been in McDonald’s McNuggets.
The Supply Chain Manager of McDonald’s Canada refers to the image at the very start of the video and immediately dismisses McDonald’s association with the pink goop. She then walks us through the Ontario facility that is responsible for making the chicken McNuggets, accompanied by one of the factory workers. We see the process by which the chicken is prepared, ground, battered, etc., and there’s no pink goop to be found.
This spot was clearly meant to disband any concerns regarding the quality of McDonald’s food, and, although it may to a degree, there is still room for questions. How are we to know that everything wasn’t staged? It’s difficult to figure out what is truth within the media, so people, in general, can find such promotional material to be untrustworthy. That is what seems to “hurt” this video.
5) TurboTax: Love Hurts
Our last video for this week is the commercial that TurboTax released for the Super Bowl, featuring a narration by John C. Reilly.
It is the amusing story of a man feeling bummed that his team did not make the Super Bowl, with his dismay and frustration being displayed in the scene of a prom in which he must watch another guy woo the girl he likes. The humor comes in the form of the other guy’s dance moves and facial expressions. His golden blazer and bow tie also add to the comedy.
Aside from the fact that the ad is very entertaining, TurboTax’s success could be partially attributed to the focus on their brand. They did use a celebrity to tell the tale, but his voice is the only part that makes an appearance. While many of the other Super Bowl commercials featured celebrities all throughout, TurboTax did not solely rely on star power to promote themselves.
However, there is a downside to their approach. Despite all of the attention they earned after airing during the Big Game, the ad has received low traffic on the internet, earning just over 500,000 views. One reason for this is that the content is time sensitive; the plot relies on the Super Bowl and that it is takes place during the time the ad aired. Had a separate voice over been recorded, one that did not relate directly to the game, then the spot probably could have been edited differently and, possibly, lived longer than a day.