So far this week we’ve received news that two major companies have partnered with YouTube to create viral video campaigns. The first was Coke who has partnered with YouTube in a promotion called “Holiday Wishcast” that lets users send holiday video greetings to their friends.
The second, which was just announced today, is a partnership with Southwest Airlines that is called “Wanna Get Away”. The concept behind this is to encourage people to create video ads for the company. The winner will have their clip made into a 30-second commercial that will run on national TV and they will also receive a vacation for four to any destination that Southwest serves.
Southwest already has fairly decent commercials and after breezing through YouTube I noticed quite a few user-generated spoofs of their commercials so this seems like a natural progression for them. I am expecting that some very funny commercials will come as a result of this promotion.
The one thing I do not like about the Coke promotion is that most of the videos that are available to send are actual commercials for coke. I think you would see a lot more people sending these out if they weren’t such blatant product ads. Why on earth would I want to send one my friends or family members a coke commercial as a holiday greeting? The commercials aren’t funny enough for that so I’d rather be able to select some genuine greeting videos without the in your face marketing. There are plenty of other ways to brand the campaign. Overall though it’s good to see Coke embracing social media, it wasn’t too long ago when they shunned the Diet Coke / Mentos videos saying that they wish people would rather drink Coke then play with it.
I think these types of campaigns are a win-win for both the advertisers and YouTube and I suspect we’ll be seeing much more of this in the future. This seems like a great way for the social media sites to monetize their user base. But I still question whether these brands are giving up too much control to YouTube. What do you think?