Branded YouTube videos can turn real sour real fast if creators aren’t careful. Chances are if you’ve been following any popular YouTube creator for long enough, then you have seen an example of a branded video. If you haven’t noticed it, then that YouTube creator is doing something right.
The whole point of branded video is to blur that line separating ads from entertainment. If done well, viewers shouldn’t even notice they are watching one big ad for the McRib. It’s no small task blending the restrictions that most advertisers have with truly entertaining content. These two concepts mix like water and oil, but the true badge of a great entertainer is when both advertisement and performance are blended seamlessly.
Take this “Assassin’s Creed 3” branded video from YouTube quartermaster FPSRussia:
At the top, FPSRussia does a few things right when creating this branded video.
1. He doesn’t babble on about how great “Assassin’s Creed 3” is. It’s just a matter of saying, “If you guys are interested in the game, be sure to check in the description.”
2. He throws a goddamn tomahawk into a guy’s chest almost immediately. You’ve got my attention from here on out, good sir.
Throughout the entire video FPSRussia doesn’t stray away from what he knows best – weapons. This guy is not a salesman. He knows weapons, so that’s what he is sticking with. By focusing on revolution era weapons, FPSRussia can stay within his wheelhouse while also promoting “Assassin’s Creed 3,” which takes place during the American Revolution. The “Assassin’s Creed” video ended up with over 2 million views. The makers of the game are happy, the viewer is happy, and FPSRussia is happy, especially as he would later do branded content for several more games including “Far Cry 3.”
Next up in the branded video hall of fame is past NMR featured guest Brittani Louise Taylor and her record setting Furby rap song. It sounds like a stretch, I know, but just watch the video and pay attention to how organic it turns out:
While Furby raps aren’t everyone’s idea of a great time, Brittani is appealing to what her audience likes. As the comments below the video show, no one is flaming her for the Furby shilling. In fact, most of the comments pertain to what people will name their Furby when they get one. Mission accomplished.
2012 was the year of branded videos and branded content in general. With the success of this brainchild of marketing, more and more advertisers are reaching out to YouTube creators to pump up their products. 2013 should be no less bountiful for branded videos and the creators making them.
With the above knowledge fresh in your memory let it be known that if I hear any YouTubers say “Brought to you by the McRib” I’m going to flip out.