One of the biggest brand building mediums today is video, said Kevin Kells, national industry director of consumer packaged goods for Google Inc., which owns YouTube. It tells a story and creates an emotional connection between a brand and its customers.

“The very nature of the medium forces you to be engaged with it,” he said, referring to clicking, searching, sharing and commenting. “Video is nothing more than sight, sound and motion storytelling. It’s a really powerful storytelling device.”

This story first appeared in the June 9, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.




In the last month, 77 percent of Americans online watched a video. Only five years old, YouTube garnered 2 billion views a day in May. Every 60 days, more minutes of video are uploaded than the top three broadcast channels produced in 60 years, he said.

YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world after Google, and a quarter of YouTube sessions contain at least one search opportunity for brands, Kells said. Companies can advertise on the home page, next to video that’s important to customers, or they can create brand channels and archive company video.

Some company-created videos are among the biggest hits of YouTube. For example, in one successful campaign, Carl’s Jr. asked nine YouTube stars to answer the question “How do you eat your burger?” T-Mobile and Toyota have produced videos that generated millions of views in a few weeks.

“One of the fascinating things about YouTube is how quickly new stars can be found,” Kells said. Justin Bieber, Susan Boyle and the new Journey lead singer, Arnel Pineda, are three examples of people whose fame was enhanced by viral videos on YouTube.

Seventy-five percent of the Ad Age 100 top advertisers use YouTube.

Quaker Oatmeal ran a contest with food bloggers and found that unit sales of Quaker Oatmeal were 9 percent greater among households that saw the related videos, and came at the expense of grocery store private label brands.

“It’s a great brand-building platform,” Kells said.

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