What constitutes a successful social media campaign? Indeed, when is something that PRs and marketing types claim is “viral” ACTUALLY viral?
Expedia has just found out, by virtue of its recent advertising campaign backing same-sex marriages. The campaign, known as “Find Your Understanding: Expedia Find Yours”, shows a father contemplating and eventually accepting the marriage of his daughter to another woman.
Taking a trip from one side of the US to another, presumably by buying a ticket on Expedia, he reminisces about his daughter as a toddler and during her formative years, etc, but finally shares a dance with her at the wedding.
It’s cute and heart-warming. Here is the ad:
In just over a week the ad has managed to capture two million views on YouTube. Yes, two million.
Apart from obvious brand promotion, Expedia says the motivation behind the ad was to support “an important story and didn’t want it lost, especially during the election season”.
Where politics meets travel.
Nevertheless, a player in the success of the ad (alongside the coverage in news show and mainstream media in the US) has come in the form of social sharing service BuzzFeed, a site more commonly (and originally) known for its cute kitten videos which has now become an important part of a trend to send videos into “viral” heaven.
Expedia confirms it used BuzzFeed as one of the outlets as part of the “minimal spend” (no figure actual disclosed) to help seed the campaign.
Contrast this efforts by¬†Amtrak¬†with its “Ride With Pride” promotion earlier in the summer, which once again got some attention on US news networks (such as CNN) but is nowhere near becoming the social sensation that Expedia has managed to achieve in such a short space at time.
Paid-for placement on social sharing sites such as BuzzFeed is becoming increasingly commonplace, it appears. And with ten million unique visitors a month to the site in August (says the WSJ), the trend looks like continuing.
So while advertising revenue may well fill the coffers of BuzzFeed (which incidentally also took a $15.5 million funding round earlier this year), trying to push promotion campaigns into social networks may well – if the experience of Expedia is to go by – now become rather more structured than previous methods, such as asking media outlets to feature a “viral” video which has actually only launched that very day.