Can Google, Fox turn YouTube, MySpace buzz into cash?

Does a million plus views of a corporate marketing “viral film” at YouTube translate into a guaranteed brand touchdown?AdAge says "Better ROI from YouTube Video Than SuperBowl Spot,” referencing “Dove Evolution.
Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor
Does a million plus views of a corporate marketing “viral film” at YouTube translate into a guaranteed brand touchdown?

AdAge says "Better ROI from YouTube Video Than SuperBowl Spot,” referencing “Dove Evolution.”

Smirnoff’s “Tea Partay,” another proud corporate marketing member of the YouTube million plus views club, has not yielded SuperBowl size ROI, according to Fran Kelly, President & CEO, Arnold Worldwide. 

In “Arnold: YouTube viral video hit not brand home run” I recount Kelly’s keynote at yesterday’s Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Agency Summit in New York City:

With a nod to the hip-hop cupcake guys, Smirnoff launched its new malt beverage, “Raw Tea,“ last August with a hip-hop video parody of its own: “Tea Partay”…

Smirnoff’s advertising agency plotted and planned to ensure the “Raw Tea Records” clip became a “viral” YouTube video sensation, and they succeeded…

In discussing “Building Breakaway Brands in an Interactive World,” Kelly indicated that Smirnoff dismissed the agency that created “Tea Partay” and he hypothesized poor bottom-line sales results for Smirnoff’s “Raw Tea” product.

Moral of the ROI story? What measurement of ROI is the bottom-line one?

AdAge effuses in quantifying “buzz,” the typically soft ROI metric PR firms rely on:

segments on ABC's "The View," "Ellen," CNN, "Entertainment Tonight" and even Fox's "Geraldo." 

Kelly, on the other hand, addressed the hard, bottom-line ROI metric of product sales, and found Smirnoff’s YouTube viral video sensation results lacking.

What about MySpace buzz? The social networking leader touts over 100 million friends.

In “HP: Social networking not marketer friendly” I recount Mary Bermel, Director Interactive, HP, discussing her reluctance to put money into advertising at MySpace, Facebook…at yesterday’s IAB Summit in New York City:

HP is all about selling product and Bermel cited research indicating that “people involved in social networking tend not to trust products advertised in the social network.”

Moreover, people interested in HP products visit the HP site directly or visit review sites, Bermel said.

Bermel asked “Why does HP have to 'be there'."


John Trimble, SVP Branded Sales, FOX Interactive Media, countered that MySpace is where the “sizzle” is and sought to put the “best” MySpace face forward, a sanitized one: 

Trimble offered that MySpace conveniently offers “protected areas” within MySpace to provide marketers with a “trusted environment.” Trimble cited the MySpace homepage and brand sponsored sections saying there are areas in the site that “are not fully user generated."


During the Q & A, I asked Trimble how his “protected area” brand sales pitch jibes with MySpace’s everyone is Tom’s friend positioning.


After all, if the MySpace rasion d’etre is to promote the unfettered creation of user-generated content, wouldn’t advertisers be missing out on the real MySpace experience if advertising against “non MySpace” content. Moreover, do MySpace friends even visit the “non" MySpace protected areas in MySpace?


Trimble reiterated his brand sales pitch as a response.

Regardless of the MySpace million friends sales pitch and the YouTube million plus views buzz club, brand marketers need a lot more bottom-line ROI metrics before they relinquish their brand marketing millions to the social networks.

ALSO SEE: MySpace, Facebook, NBC: Brands rule, not users
MySpace vs. Facebook: Is friendship real?

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