I just wanted to watch more dry demos of IT software. Instead, YouTube insists that I watch a boob video. Can this possibly be what CMOs -- in this case, Splunk's Steven Sommer -- want for their brands?

For those not familiar with the company, Splunk enjoyed one of the hottest IPO's of 2012, even tripping up NYSE's circuit breakers due to intense trading. Yet the dynamic nature of social media, and in particular online video, is such that they find themselves peer-positioned with a featured video whose preview is of a woman holding her breasts.

To be clear, the promoted video is a harmless one -- a Thai commercial that's found new life -- and 33 million views -- on YouTube. There are two real problems with it. First of all, it's just not that funny. If you want funny, you should turn your attention to videos of Japanese cats jumping into boxes (how that's gotten only 8 million views is anybody's guess).

More importantly, the Thai commercial -- while appropriate for a fun-loving brand of "slimming Green tea" -- is completely distracting and utterly irrelevant to, say, a mild-mannered IT director's quest for the right tools to "collect data from tens of thousands of sources, search analyze and alert...all the while scaling to big data proportions on commodity hardware." Surely even the most steely-nerved prospective customer, hell-bent on taming their machine data, will be tempted to take a break from signing that Purchase Order for Splunk 4.3 -- a big step up from the already "ground-breaking" 4.0 and 4.2 releases though it may be -- and instead watch a humorous Thai commercial.

No CMO in their right mind would want that experience for their customers. This is bad news for YouTube, and good news for Vimeo and others. As video matures as a content medium for B2B marketers, they'll have to give more thought to how their customers and prospects experience their brand. And one that's known for its Big Data innovation and having a CEO twice Mark Zuckerberg's age is unlikely to go for this type of funny. 
3/13/2013 07:23:06

Interesting read, Nadim. A dilemma certainly exists for CMO's with regard to video on YouTube. To choose not to post brand videos on YouTube is to miss out on what amounts to the second biggest search engine on the web. Of course, you point out the downside - a brand loses some of the control of how it's video gets fed to prospects. Certainly Splunk would prefer not to be positioned alongside a boob video. Nor would it want to be positioned next to a competitor who just might have a more compelling video and message. Ideally, the video is utilized properly across multiple channels to maximize the exposure. Even better, videos with unique messages and tone are utilized appropriately based upon the channel.

Nadim Hossain
3/13/2013 12:01:57

Agreed, and good points. On the one hand, Youtube = distribution. On the other hand, for highly targeted audiences, like Splunk buyers, it may not have much upside.

7/4/2014 14:58:10

Interesting read.


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