2009’s Most Watched Brand Ad on YouTube. Why?

Evian’s Roller Babies is the runaway commercially branded hit having been watched (at latest count) over 30 million times, making it the 5th most popular YouTube video of 2009, and the most watched commercial/ad/whatever you want to call it.

I forget where it was now but one person made a comment that went something like this..

“Beyond measuring the cute factor, can the client actually measure and attribute a boost in product sales to this effort? If so, I’d love to know how they’re measuring it.”

I liked their thinking. But at the same time I think that’s discounting a lot of the great work that has evidently been put in. So let us postulate a bit more about what made it so successful after you’ve had a look at it yourself if you haven’t already.

If we were to deconstruct the commercial, why has this become the most watched branded ad of 2009 and what is it about it that could be then replicated to anywhere near similar success levels?

Well, it’s a bit of fun isn’t it. You watch it and get that cutesy, fun, smiley and warm feeling. It has a backing track that lends to the fun, remember it did pretty well for Honda aswell in the Cog. (Reacquainted myself with the ‘making of’ here.) But then, in this case, you could just as easily have the backing track with nothing compelling in the forefront so credit where credit is due. I just don’t make enough of a link to Evian from the ad. It doesn’t make me want to go out and buy water, Evian water. Much like I’m not going to go out and buy a Honda tomorrow in fact, even though the financial investment and level of decision making associated to the two are complete polar opposites thus there being more chance of me buying Evian..  (Ok, bad comparison.)

I like the ad purely on the merit of the ad, in fact, I don’t think it sells enough what it is actually linked to. But maybe that was part of the trick. Maybe that’s why it did so well. People will share it as a piece of content because it is so subtly branded more than if Evian was plugged all over the place from start to finish. It loses its value as a piece of content if overly branded.

So the question that is left hanging over my head after thinking about and writing this is should brands now be concentrating less on what they are actually trying to sell and from an online perspective at least, be creating content that is watchable, entertaining and shareable in order to sell more of X. Again I think of the Cog ad. And which brings me back to what the commenter asked at the start of this post. Did Evian sell more water? Did Honda sell more cars? Did this achieve the goals set out from the off? What were the goals? I don’t know actually. On any of the above but it’d be good to find out more though to quench my curiosity.

The online integration is however, pretty fantastic and extends the life far further, another contributing factor to its success. Evidently, this was all very cleverly planned and executed.

It isn’t simply a video that has been put up on YouTube and forgotten about. There’s tonnes of content around the video. Some really brilliant stuff like teasers, interviews, wallpapers, where to listen to and download the music and of course, the obligatory Facebook fan page. This isn’t one of those all too familiar cases when a client thinks that by doing some kind of online video to promote something that it is going to automatically go viral. Yes, the dreaded v word. A sterling effort then.

What do you *feel* when you watch the ad? A compelling urge to buy Evian? An enjoyable feeling of escapism for a few minutes? I think i’m with the latter camp. Share the love.

6 Replies to “2009’s Most Watched Brand Ad on YouTube. Why?”

  1. It’s a great campaign. As you suggest, I would expect that Evian would see this mainly as a brand awareness excercise (as most TV advertising essentially is). Therefore the message isn’t necessarily buy, buy, buy. The target audience is likely much earlier in the buying cycle (which for water I guess is probably not very complex…!).

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