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What Made Evian’s Baby Videos The Most Successful Viral Marketing Campaign Ever?

There is a place in the Guinness Book Of World Records for the most viewed viral marketing video in the world, believe it or not, and this spot is currently occupied by a video made by mineral water brand Evian. The video, entitled Roller Babies, was launched on the internet video sharing platform in 2009 and was part of the same campaign as their ‘Live Young’ TV commercials, which also starred babies. This summer, Evian are launching a follow up to the video featuring yet more babies manipulated by CGI to look like they are doing unusual things, and it has already had millions of views. So, just what is it that made people watch and share this commercial more than any other online marketing film?

Here we take a look at the appeal of the Evian babies and the surprising sales results that came from the online campaign.

Why Was the Video So Appealing?

With the Roller Babies video, Evian’s marketing department demonstrated that they really understand what people like to watch online. The product – bottled water – has no niche market, it is something literally everybody could use, so the advert needed to be completely mainstream and have a universal appeal. On TV, this can lead to commercials that are a little bland, however on the web, bland doesn’t go viral, so instead Evian looked to the three qualities found in the most popular viral videos.

Videos that go viral, aside from those you might expect to get a lot of views (like movie trailers or music videos by big recording artists) tend to be either cute, funny, or strange. With Roller Babies, Evian created a concept that was all three. Those who like cutesy videos fell in love with the babies, those who like humor enjoyed the joke, and those who share videos because they are weird and a bit random were attracted to the concept as a whole.

People tend to be reluctant to share commercials and things that are obviously video marketing over user generated content or videos that are actually a product in their own right (like movie clips or music promos), so the actual advertising in the video was kept to a minimum, with just the Evian tagline included. Evian is a big enough brand that they don’t need to tell viewers what the product is, and of course, the benefits of water don’t really need to be explained. This added to the video’s share-ability.

How Successful Was the Video?

The ironic thing about the Evian video is that despite all of the views and shares, there was no increase in sales. In fact, sales of the bottled water have consistently gone down since the campaign. This is not to say that the advertising was harmful, as it almost certainly wasn’t, but that competition has taken its toll on the brand. It is entirely possible that the slump in sales would have been even more significant had Evian not run the campaign, because then when faced with the other, often cheaper water brands as a choice at the store customers would not have had the Evian name in their minds and may have forgotten the brand altogether. It does go to show, however, that even the best marketing campaign can only do so much.

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Today’s feature contributor, Leo Roach, is an SEO expert and a frequent blogger. He has a lot of interest in website marketing and he has worked as a consultant for many companies. His blogs usually contain many useful tips for marketing online, which have been appreciated by many readers.

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