U.S. Net visitors watched 13.1 billion online videos in Feb. 2009, according to comScore. And while that figure is down about 12% from the 14.8 billion they watched in January, don’t be fooled into thinking that the falloff represents anything more meaningful than the fact of a shorter month, according to the Web metrics firm.
But how do you reach those video-hungry audiences? If you’ve got—or expect to get—a lot of original content, you can do what Adidas did in March and launch your own Web video channel. At www.Adidas.tv, visitors can find a global hub with channels focusing on soccer and basketball, as well as extended versions of music-laden TV spots featuring rappers and athletes.
That’s great if your brand has access to a drawing card such as athletes getting their locker-room horseplay on. But brands without that organic link to great video may want to take their cue from a partnership that hit the Web in March between Yahoo and insurer State Farm, which is sponsoring an original program on Yahoo Video, the third largest video destination on the Web per comScore.
The biweekly program, “Spotlight to Nightlight,” features parenting tips heavily laced with news of celebrity moms, and is hosted on the “Goddess” blog of Yahoo’s popular OMG! Web site. The programs will range in length from three to five minutes and, at least for the length of State Farm’s contracted six-month sponsorship, will include a short segment of celebrity parenting tips called “Being There”—not unrelated to the insurer’s current “I’m There” TV campaign.
David Oliveira, regional sales vice president for Yahoo, says the company generated the “Spotlight” programming in close consultation with State Farm. “They told us what target audiences they wanted to reach,” he says. “We already had a builtin young mom audience with our ‘Goddess’ blogs, so we were able to put that audience together with their marketing objectives.”
“Our media agency, OMD Chicago, worked on this with Yahoo,” says Ed Gold, State Farm ad director. “We were looking for a couple of ‘ownable opportunities’ that would reach the target audience we wanted in a relevant and engaging way. From an advertiser’s standpoint, it’s always best to develop programming that helps meet our objectives, but also has a high level of interest for the target we’re trying to reach.”
Branding is purposely light during the video: just a quick flash of the State Farm logo at the beginning, and an audio cue from the host, former Miss America Ali Landry, at the end.
Focusing on high-profile parents avoids the potential “ick” factor of pure celebrity gossip. “We wanted to associate ourselves with celebrity in a positive, good-neighborly way,” says Gold. And since Landry is fluent in Spanish, Yahoo and State Farm are able to offer a Spanish-language version of the Web program on Yahoo en Espanol, where it links to the “Mamas Famosas” blog and puts State Farm in front of Spanish-speaking mothers, another target.
“Whenever you create something rather than just putting your advertising where people are already at, you’re working a bit on faith,” says Gold. “But knowing that the Yahoo OMG! site already attracts a huge audience and that this audience is interested in celebrities, and giving them content that they can’t get anywhere else, we’re confident this will pay off.”