YouTube has been a valid social media marketing tool for a long time. Many companies are now starting to realize this. Others are starting to re-realize this.

Here is an example by Bacardi. The video itself is from 2007, but they are re-introducing it and its Halloween theme this month. It works on so many levels and fails on one level. First, the video:

First, the successes…

It Tells a Story

The last thing you want to do as a business trying to advertise a brand or a product is talk about the brand or product from the beginning. People are leaving television and getting more and more of their media intake through video sites like YouTube because the venue allows a level of non-marketing control. Sure, there are advertisements that pop up during videos, but for the most part they are normally advertising free. It’s everything Tivo offers without having to wait for shows to come on. You control, and that’s why you love it.

This video starts us off with some important elements:

  • A clear setup (she’s going to a Halloween party and she isn’t dressing up)
  • Suspense (dark neighborhood, creepy cab driver who takes note that she isn’t dressed up, plus the bunny man gives it a Kubrick-feel)
  • Twist (nobody seems to be there, plus there seem to be a lot of bats around)

Branding is There, but doesn’t Interfere

Just as with television, the best branding is what happens when you aren’t being advertised to. In other words, the Bacardi logo on the top of the cab is all the branding the video needed until the end/outtro.

There are two ways to do this. Bacardi chose to be subtle and that fit perfectly with the tone of the video. The other way is to plaster branding throughout, almost making it comical. This is risky, but if the video is interesting enough, it can be forgiven.

Perfection in the “Casting”

  • The main character is an attractive (but not overly so) woman, mature, and looks great in her “costume”.
  • Her date is suave and mysterious, but has a goofiness about him that he displays upon entering the scene.
  • The guy who plays the cabbie has a future as a cabbie if he doesn’t make it as an actor. He may have been a cabbie before acting. Perfection.

Look, Feel, Sound

This part couldn’t have been done any better. They picked the right scenes from the dark changing room to the roads to the venue for the party. They all fit in well with the tone of the video, yet still have an “excellence” about them to give viewers the feeling that this situation is not normal. The rooftop scene, the dancing, the bar… it all meshes.

The sound throughout is excellent. Not much more can be said. The right music, right buzzing at the right time; it all comes together nicely.

The Only Flaw

While the delivery was strong, the end could have been better. It works as a strong commercial but loses its ability to go viral by not having a quirky twist after the twist. For example, once it was revealed that the party was real, the bats were fake, and the man was just wearing a mask, he could have looked at the camera at the end, displayed fangs, and had his eyes glow, letting us know that she was really in danger all along.

Bacardi decided to keep it real and go after straight-forward marketing, and that’s perfectly fine. It holds down the viral, emailable, Tweetable aspect, but otherwise makes for a pretty decent push towards making a strong video for branding and promotion.

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Read more about Viral Marketing on this blog.

Written by JD Rucker
JD Rucker is Editor of this site as well as The New Americana, a Conservative News Aggregator. He is a Christian, a husband, a father, and co-founder of the Federalist Party. Find him on Twitter or Facebook.