Babies: The Proven, Can’t-Miss Video Stars

On video, few things bring as much joy to the casual viewer as a baby.  Check out this little giggling guy.  And this guy Charlie.  And this little ham too.  If you’re not grinning now, check your pulse.  We love our babies.  Show the world a baby bouncing to Beyonce and that’s gold Jerry, gold!

I’ve been thinking about babies for two reasons: first my friend Rick and his wife Diana welcomed their second son Luca into the world over Thanksgiving, and next a group of roller-skating, hip hopping babies just scored huge for Evian.  The Guinness World Record people just named “Rollerbabies” the most-viewed online ad of all time.  It’s been watched more than 45 million times already and this new recognition will only add to that tally.

evian-roller-babyAs cute as these babies are, they didn’t go viral all by themselves.  Evian leveraged YouTube home page ads in the UK, Germany, France, Japan, Canada and the United States to promote the spot.  They also credit its massive popularity with positive brand impact.  Specifically, Nielsen and YouTube research indicates Internet users in France experienced increased brand awareness and purchase consideration after viewing the ad.

For a metrics obsessed client, that may not be nearly enough hard data to confirm their believe in the ad’s effectiveness.  Or the general worth of pursuing viral fame in general.  But in this medium, and with this market of widespread casual viewers, the Rollerbabies made quite a splash.  In a world where brands are opinions, their runaway popularity means they generated a great deal of positive talk, and that influences opinion.

At a certain point, everyone has to embrace the uncertainty of John Wanamaker’s classic maxim: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted: the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

One way to tilt the odds in your favor is to include a funny baby.  Or ten.  And putting them on roller skates seems to help too.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79