Creating a killer video ad campaign is a struggle even when the brand itself is interesting. Trying to bring attention to a B2B brand can be even more challenging – especially if the idea is abstract or complicated.
That certainly doesn’t stop B2B brands from trying, and many of them often knock the ball out of the park. Here are six B2B brands were able to pull together campaigns that grabbed attention, showed their brand in a new light, or just made viewers laugh.
In 2008, a video of a man having a meltdown in a hotel lobby went viral. A businessman and his partner are trying to find their coworker, Ian, with no luck. The businessman quickly loses his patience and has a dramatic, almost violent, meltdown in the lobby. The secret to this video is wonder. When you watch it, you wonder if it’s real, who made it, and why Ian won’t pick up his phone.
Throughout the video, produced by Ogilvy & Mather, no mention of Cisco is made at all. After it runs, a URL – www.donthaveameltdown.com – is shown on a black screen as an obvious call to action. Viewers who took the bate were directed to a micro-site where they met a fictional psychologist treating fake disorders like getouttamyinterfacia, saxophonia, mono transmission disorder, post traumatic beep disorder, and schitzophonia. Visitors ultimately found themselves at a Cisco site outlining the company's Unified Communication solutions to solve the “disorders.”
Grasshopper is a virtual phone system allowing companies to run their business from their cell phones. The company is geared toward small businesses – particularly startups and entrepreneurs looking to run their business remotely.
Knowing who its audience is, Grasshopper hired comedy video producers Pantless Knights to help create “The New Dork,” a spoof music video of Jay Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind.” The techie dork-filled video is actually produced quite well and definitely deserved the chuckles and million-plus YouTube views it received. The genius behind the marketing is that Grasshopper truly understood the people it wanted to reach would get the jokes poking fun at hipster startups.
Cloud-based invoice, payment, and dynamic discounting management solution provider Taulia did what a lot of B2B companies do when they want to promote a new product – it took notes from a B2C company. To promote its early payment discounts, Taulia created a spoof on Direct TV’s “Get Rid of Cable” commercials that featured an unrealistic chain of dire life events resulting from frustrations caused by cable TV.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and much like the Direct TV spots, Taulia’s video is ridiculous enough that it’s funny.
Funny or sexy might not be the first things that come to mind when you think of supply chain management, but Kinaxis set out to change all of that. With its Drama 3/4-produced Web series “New Kinexions” (pronounced connections), Kinaxis draws the similarities between vendor relationships and dating.
Besides being entertaining and amusing, the series helps to simplify the process of choosing a supply chain management partner. It also pokes fun at the supposed similarities between B2B executives and a high-maintenance girlfriend or domineering ex-boyfriend. The series outlines a list of features Kinaxis hopes viewers will associate with its brand, like simplicity, flexibility, and collaboration.
General Electric has been known to produce some seriously good marketing over the years, and 2013 was no exception. Brilliant Machines – a BBDO-created campaign focused on drawing attention to its ability to unite big iron with big data – spawned a series of web videos and social media posts that made their mark.
Not only was the campaign beautifully executed, the videos took a stab at humor by spoofing science fiction favorites like The Matrix and Star Trek. The movie parodies helped draw attention, but where GE really excelled was at laying down the ability of its Industrial Internet business to bring together hardware, software, and big data. The result was a campaign any B2B marketer can appreciate.
What's the secret to creating a B2B video resulting in over 70 million views and viral status on social media? Casting action star Jean-Claude Van Damme, according to Volvo.
In order to promote its commercial truck line, the automobile maker hired Swedish agency Forsman & Bodenfors and cast The Muscles From Brussels for a series of video spots. The most popular saw the camera zoom out from Van Damme’s face to reveal him standing with each foot on a different truck moving backwards. To the sounds of an Enya tune, Van Damme proceeds to move into splits. The spot has very little to do with the brand, but the kind of viral status it achieved is nearly priceless.