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Marketing / Business marketing

Viral advertising: Why this four-minute ad got 10 million views

Want to up the feel-good factor in your marketing? Empathy is your secret weapon. This case study of a hilarious viral video will help you deploy it.

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This article was inspired by a video currently going viral on social media. It’s an ad for a photobook app called Chatbooks and is the funniest thing I’ve seen in ages (at 10 million views and counting, it seems many people agree with me!).

The reason it’s been so successful is it’s jam-packed with great examples of empathy-based marketing in action, something we soloists can put into play for our own businesses. Before I share exactly how we can put those learnings to good use in our businesses, I need you to watch the video below (trust me, you won’t regret it).

Lesson 1: Be really, really clear about your target market

In the opening line of the video, Chatbooks Mom introduces herself by saying, ‘I have three kids and I work from home …’ making it crystal clear right out of the blocks exactly who this video is aimed at.

"Start by deciding how you want to make people feel and what you want them to do, and work backwards from there."

This kind of laser focus is essential in order to empathise with your target market. To understand why, close your eyes and imagine yourself in the shoes of one of your current or prospective clients for a few moments. That wasn’t too hard, was it? Now try the same exercise again, but this time put yourself in the shoes of all your clients at the same time. It’s impossible, isn’t it?

Key takeaway: When creating marketing material, narrow down its target market as tightly as you can. You’ll often have more success creating separate material for individual segments of your audience than you will by trying to connect with all of them with the same content.

Lesson 2: Empathy allows you to create emotional connections

In every scene of the video, we’re treated to visual and verbal cues that make Chatbooks Mom and her situation more and more relatable. In addition to being a comic genius with impeccable timing, delivery and facial expressions, she’s just like many of the people nodding their heads and chuckling to themselves while watching her: a busy parent who doesn’t have a hope in hell of finding a moment to scratch herself. We get her, we like her, and we want to be her friend. That makes us trust her, and by extension the Chatbooks brand.

Key takeaway: This level of emotional connection is only possible because the video’s creators have taken the time to truly empathise with their audience. While their over-the-top style may not be appropriate for your business (or your budget), taking a deep dive into your clients’ hearts and minds will always be worthwhile, and can help make your brand more likeable and your audience more engaged.

Lesson 3: Let me know you feel my pain – and give me an alternative to reach for

I’ve long ago given up on the idea of making photobooks. Every time I’ve tried has been excruciating, taking longer than I anticipated and making me want to smash my computer to pieces in the process. No surprise then that seeing Chatbooks Mom sitting at her desk in the wee small hours doing exactly that was a delightful moment for me! It’s just one of many examples of ways that the team behind the video let me know that they understand my pain, and are offering an alternative that has the potential to make it a thing of the past.

Key takeaway: The more convincing you are when letting me know that you get me, the more ready I’ll be to trust that you’ve considered my needs when developing your solution. To apply this insight to your marketing, look for opportunities to showcase your understanding of your customers’ pain points and to demonstrate how your solution eases their agony.

Lesson 4: Obliterate any obstacles that might prevent me from purchasing

Signing up for yet another app that claims it’s going to change my life is not something that’s easy to sell me on. What if it’s time consuming? What if the quality of the books is rubbish? What if I forget to order? How complicated is it to sign up? And how much does all this cost anyway? Can I get my money back if I don’t like it? The video systematically addresses each of these issues and more, putting my mind at ease and clearing the way for me to make a commitment with excitement and enthusiasm rather than doubt and dread.

Key takeaway: Your customers have concerns that make them hesitate before spending money too. When you use your marketing to openly address their fears and reassure them that you’ve got their best interests at heart, you also open the door for them to feel good about proceeding.

Lesson 5: When you make me feel something, you make me want to do something

The call-to-action of this video is exceptionally clear and extremely effective. In fact, when I told Flying Solo’s editor Kelly that I was planning to use this video as a case study for my article this month, she promptly clicked on the link I sent her. Five minutes later she’d written back to me: “OMG – that’s brilliant! I’m downloading the app as we speak.” Did you have a similar reaction when you watched it for the first time? Whether you response was to share it with someone else or sign up for the service, this video has hit the mark if the emotional response it triggered in you was significant enough to prompt you to do something.

Key takeaway: The way your marketing makes your audience feel has a direct bearing on the way they act. Regardless of the type of marketing you’re creating, your call-to-action is everything, and is the point of the whole exercise. Start by deciding how you want to make people feel and what you want them to do, and work backwards from there.

Empathy is one of my favourite marketing superpowers, and one that’s accessible to all of us, even if making a big budget video isn’t. If you’re still not convinced about how important it is to make your audience feel good, take a moment to imagine what the Chatbooks video would’ve been like if it had focused exclusively on facts designed to appeal to your rational mind, and ignored the role that your heart and emotions play in decision making.

Pretty forgettable, right? And more importantly, unlikely to have driven sales to anywhere near the same degree.

Applying the lessons above to your own marketing might not help you reach 10 million plus viewers on social media like this video has done, but it will help you connect with your customers and to do so in a way that makes them more inclined to buy from you.

Did this video succeed in making you take action?

Please comment below telling us which aspect of it resonated with you most and sharing any additional marketing insights you gained from it.

Jayne Tancred

is a copywriter and marketing consultant and copywriter specialising in natural health and wellness. She’s also co-founder of Tribe of the Tree flower essences. Connect with her on LinkedIn or her Natural Health Marketing or Tribe of the Tree Facebook pages.

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