The 2010 US Census: Going Viral Saved Them $85 Million

I’ve never been more excited for a US Census…EVER! They’re doing a perfect job of marketing to our generation. This television ad is part of the U.S. Census Bureau’s national advertising campaign to boost mail participation rates in the once-a-decade population count. For every percentage point increase in the 2010 Census mail-back participation rate, the Census Bureau saves about $85 million in follow-up costs with households that failed to return their forms. The advertising campaign represents the most extensive and diverse outreach campaign in U.S. history, with advertisements appearing in 28 languages

The 2010 census is the most ambitious count ever of the nation’s population. Did you know that a census is required every 10 years by the U.S. Constitution’s Article 1, Section 2? I didn’t, (but that doesn’t say much)!

What Peaked My Interest?

I was still a bit weary and un-interested, but at this point, I not only felt obligated…I was actually excited! And then I got this letter…

…I couldn’t help but think “Woah, I’m actually excited to fill out this census!” Can’t speak for anyone else, but assume other people felt the same way.

Use of The Internet/Viral Campaign

The commercials went viral and their web-presence was growing, but how effective was it overall? Their YouTube campaign ( was helpful, though their channel has only received 100,000 views. That’s less than “David After Dentist” which has over 54,000,000+ views on that 1 video alone. It doesn’t imply anything about our country, but for something this important, I feel they should have had more views. STILL…they deserve credit for Blogging, Tweeting, Newsletters and more. They’ve done everything possible to reach us and make us interested, now it’s time to do our part…

For more information, visit

Posted under Blogs, Events, Online Marketing, Online Video, Social Networks, Viral Marketing

This post was written by Joshua Russak on March 22, 2010

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Jewish Organization NCSY Produces #1 Hit On YouTube

For five minutes last Monday, the bread aisle at Gourmet Glatt became an avant-garde musical theatre.

Customers were surprised, to say the least, when 7  students broke into a song and dance routine to the tune of “Be Our Guest,” from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. They did it to help drum up online publicity for NCSY’s 18th annual auction. The six dancers are all NCSY alumni.

They seem to have met their goal: the recording was the most-viewed video last week in YouTube’s non-profit category, according to NCSY’s marketing and PR director, Duvi Stahler, who came up with the idea. As of press time Tuesday evening it had been viewed over 9,000 times.

Stahler hit upon the idea of a musical interlude from this year’s top prize: a year’s worth of free groceries from, the online supermarket that operates out of Gourmet Glatt’s Cedarhurst facility.

“The idea was to do something as a grand prize that [people] need, not luxuries, something people have to spend money on,” he explained.

While the number was heavily rehearsed, the recording bears a touch of improv nevertheless. The video shows an elderly woman who insisted on disrupting the performance, pushing through the dancers to get a loaf of bread.
[*Original Article Above Found On The Jewish Star.]

Of Course They Made #1…

What did you expect? Of course this idea worked! According to Duvi Stahler, the concept for this video was inspired by ImprovEverywhere’s “I LOVE LUNCH” prank. Every one of their videos is an immediate success, so by following their guidelines, Duvi was confident this video would work as well.

I have a feeling the inspiration for this video also came from ImprovEverywhere’s “GROCERY STORE MUSICAL” (1 Million+ YouTube views) prank, Published 3 weeks before “Supermarket Takover”. Though Duvi claims originality, it’s not an issue. The point I’m trying to make is that Viral Videos like these work!

In Conclusion…

I guess if you’re a small business or niche organization, and you want to go Viral, just copy ImprovEverywhere. No, seriously…just copy them…Until you can come up with something original, do them a favor and give them credit at the end of the video.

Posted under Online Marketing, Online Video, Viral Marketing

This post was written by Joshua Russak on November 19, 2009

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Sparking Social Media With Video

Brands and businesses are using video, but few are realizing video’s true value as the ignition point of a targeted social media marketing campaign or, the spark. Likewise, many brands and companies are embracing social media but not getting as much out of the experience as they could. With a “videocentric” approach, video serves as the center of conversation from which layers of additional conversation evolve across social networking channels, blogs and forums often extending into traditional publications and beyond. This conversation goes from being

  1. About the video
  2. To being about the brand or business behind the video
  3. To the products and services offered
  4. To the  fans of the brand
  5. To the people behind the brand and so on…

As with any successful marketing effort, this requires proper planning and execution. I’ll explain how we attack the process at Supercool Creative, from start to finish and offer some fresh ways for marketing executives, brand managers and entrepreneurs to look at video as a crucial piece in the social media puzzle..

Step one is not “go shoot a video.” Too many campaigns fall flat or flat out fail because they start with a video and end with a plan of what to do with the video. That’s retrofitting and as you know, retrofitting can be more costly than doing something the right way the first time. We start off by establishing objectives that can be measured against hard goals like “more site traffic” and “increased sales” as well as soft goals like “more blog mentions, retweets and interviews.” Next, we identify the target audience. Who is the ideal customer and where are they online, right now? Then, we establish what the video will be about, what will be the bigger conversation surrounding that video and where and how that conversation will happen. The time to figure all that out is not after you have posted the video.

Content is king, be creative! The video should be engaging and above all SHAREABLE. Make it funny, shocking, quirky, confounding or whatever but be sure that it’s something worth talking about. The video itself is not and should not be enough to tell or sell the entire story. This is where a lot of marketers go wrong, packing too much into one video or making it into a commercial.

Online videos do not always require insane production value but they do need to be valuable. Three questions we ask before writing and shooting any video are

  1. How will this video add value to peoples’ lives?
  2. Should the video be funny or entertaining, shocking, controversial? Which genre if any will best fly with our client’s audience?
  3. How likely will people be to share the video if given the opportunity? Basically, “why should somebody care about this video enough to watch it?”

After that, we outline and write the script then plan the shoot.


Unlike other forms of media including TV, radio, print and billboard, social media is not a broadcast channel intended to reach the masses but rather an interactive channel intended to mingle with the masses. As such, time and attention need to be given to setting up the right channels and building and maintaining relationships. Is the client’s audience mostly on Facebook? LinkedIn? YouTube? Twitter? How much time does the client have to spend on social media marketing each week? These factors will help determine which and how many channels are selected and developed.

One last thing to consider before locking down a video shoot is integration. Will the video be part of a larger marketing strategy including TV, radio, banner, video pre-roll, website integration, PR? This is an important thing to consider, especially if we are working with multiple agencies including traditional, interactive and PR agencies. As with retrofitting, integration is much easier and more cost effective the first time around.

Shoot and edit the video, including pre-production, casting, crewing up and executing according to the script and objectives. After post production, the video is encoded for the places it will live online for a very long time. To establish the video as the originating medium, we upload to YouTube and several other selected video sharing sites. Video search optimization is very important at this point so research is always key.

Now, we have a video link or two to work with. Just a few of things we do to help that link see the light of day include sharing the video with the client’s new YouTube community, inviting new friends, emailing the link, posting the video story and a link on Twitter; embedding the video on Facebook sparking conversation whenever possible; posting the link on LinkedIn status updates and starting a few discussions based on the bigger story surrounding the video.

The final step is to start building a genuine conversation surrounding the video. Outreach is a very important part of this process and includes reaching out to relevant influencers, launching local, topical and/or industry related press releases and contacting relevant online and offline publications. Just be sure that the story is compelling, the video is engaging and the product or service is sincere.

David Murdico is the Executive Creative Director of Supercool Creative, a Los Angeles based agency specializing in online video creative & production, viral marketing and integrated social media campaigns.

Posted under Online Marketing

“3D Dancing Baby” – The Infamous Return of A Viral Phenomenon

3d dancing baby

The  year was 1996…
AOL Instant Messenger wasn’t even invented yet…
YouTube, Facebook & Myspace didn’t exist…
E-mail was the only form of online communication…

…and some-how the video of a dancing baby went super-viral! 13 years later, and the 3D Dancing Baby is trying to make his return. With over 8.4 million views in just over a week, I’d say it’s working.

Ooga Chaka Goes Viral in 1996

The Dancing Baby aka “Baby Cha-Cha” refers to a 3D-rendered animation of a baby dancing to the song “Hooked On a Feeling”.  The video is one of the earliest examples of an Internet phenomenon (aka Viral Video). It became popular in 1996-1997 after circulating through email. Parodies were created shortly after, including a ‘drunken baby’, a ‘rasta baby’, ‘samurai baby’, and others, but none ever became as popular on the internet as the original file which still circulates. The dancing baby video and its variations appeared TV Shows,  Commercials, and music videos. David Hasselhoff did a music video cover of Hooked On a Feeling featuring the dancing baby. It too, quickly became an Internet phenomenon due to its surreal visuals, low production quality, and Hasselhoff’s celebrity status.

Evian Baby Goes Viral in 2009

An Evian commercial become a YouTube sensation…in a week! The video has racked up over 2.6 million views in a few days and is currently at 8.4+ million views and climbing! Obviously, they’re not the first ones to use the baby succesfully (ie E-Trade’s TV commercials), but we’re talking about dancing babies! Discovered a little over a week ago and garnering nearly 1,000 blog posts…this video has gone 100% Viral! For your viewing pleasure…

Posted under Online Video, Viral Marketing

Will Ferrell stars in “Man vs. Wild” on Discovery Channel Special

I really wish I was kidding right now…but I am 100% serious! Man vs. Wild premiered the video Tuesday, June 2, at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Here’s how they pitched it on youtube:

“In the harsh arctic tundra of Sweden, Bear Grylls and Will Ferrell from the Land of the Lost set out to conquer the wilderness … together. See if they make it out alive.”

It’s all due to Will Ferrell’s recent film starring in Land of The Lost. Bear Grylls and Discovery Channel used this as an opportunity to promote their Facebook ( and Twitter (@beargrylls) popularity. Just watch the promo:

How the heck did I find this video?

Well, unfortunately I found it by accident. I guess you can say that’s the true art of viral marketing, when it reaches users randomly with an impact. I was researching the youtube trial pre-video ads, when I happened to wittness a post-video, only to be too in shock to hit “print-screen” to capture prof. I’ll make sure to follow up with an article…BUT NOW BACK TO HOW I FOUND THIS VIDEO. I simply typed in Discovery Channel and it was the 2nd one down from the top.

My Thoughts?

This is HUGE! Will ferrell is simply a genius. He is the genius by one of the top comedy video sites online, I wrote an article on it about a year ago titled Online Video and TV Merge. Seriously, Will Ferrell is doing everything right online. I have a feeling this is just the beginning.

Posted under Online Video, Viral Marketing

This post was written by Joshua Russak on June 11, 2009

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