Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Viral Fun? Four Guys Getting All Wet and Soapy

Mini Cooper's "Always Open" campaign for their new convertible is trying the viral video route by doing something every convertible lover wants to see - top down car washing. Whenever I get into my convertible I'm always tempted to press the automatic top button to see what will happen if I go through the wash sans top. Now I know. I'll get all soapy, wet and power dried.

Mini takes the fascination of convertible driving in a new direction as they show something that theoretically sounds fun and a bit rebellious as four guys video tape their drive through a car wash. The campaign team is definitely thinking this is something that could turn viral since it is video that probably wouldn't exist without marketing dollars influencing a local car wash owner to allow a drive top down. It, therefore, is unique video because I know I'm not going to payoff a car wash owner to try this at home. So unique yes. Viral?

This brings us to what makes a video viral. Unique helps, but it needs more to be viral.

Is driving a convertible through a car wash entertaining? It is, though, I'm sure the male demographic watching the Mini footage wishes it had some gender equality in the four seats. The marketing team knows this would definitely up viewer-ship, but at the expense of some negative press, especially from their 41% female owners (JD Power 2008.) Even so, they still could've included some women in the drive without it really turning into some salacious wet t-shirt contest brought to you by Mini. Editing people. Editing.

Is it funny? There are a couple moments. One guy takes a strong power jet washer hit and a back seat passenger puffs up while going through the drying cycle. Overall, it doesn't do much because it is so contrived and obvious the whole experience is a marketing stunt. Yet, it does have some interesting moments and is sure to get some circulation from the shear uniqueness of the content.

Is it relevant to the customer Mini is trying to reach? Absolutely. This is where the video is most effective. It shows the car in something other than city streets or with the wind blowing in your hair in the night sky. It's playful too which completely fits Mini's brand promise. Lastly, it is right with the messaging of the current campaign. The Mini convertible is even "Always Open" even in an unexpected car wash drive.

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