When Viral Video Works and What Publicists Can Learn from It

The publicists and producers for Oz, the Great and Powerful must be doing handsprings over this little social media moment gone viral – not just in broadcast media, but social media as well.  Chris Stark of Scott Mills’ show on BBC Radio 1 interviewed Mila Kunis during a press junket about her latest film, Oz, the Great and Powerful, touching upon everything from lad bombs watching Watford play and Blue Moon beer.

If you’ve ever seen the movie, Notting Hil, then you’ll love this Mila Kunis interview reminiscent of “the Fox & Hound William Thacker interview with Anna Scott” but the Hugh Grant part is played by a green BBC radio reporter who is smitten with Mila.  Take a look at their candid conversation during a recent movie press junket:

This interview is a great example of how actors become so numb when they do publicity for a film and answering the same questions over and over in press junkets that they crave anything that breaks the monotony.  Sure, the publicist could have stepped in when this interview strayed off course, but they let their client run with it thus giving way to some soundbite gems  that may garner more press than the interview would have otherwise. By letting the reporter “go rogue,” it also exposes a celebrity client in a real and  genuine way that thousands of potential movie goers and fans can relate to.  I’ve met Mila several times (in my pilates class, actually) and her candor and humor is genuine so it was no surprise to me that she handled this curve ball so generously.  With that said, there may be some celebrity clients where this approach may expose them in a non-flattering way, but publicists will know their client and when to step in.

Now, in the old days (i.e. pre-Social Media), this off beat interview would have been conducted behind closed doors and aside from the BBC Radio 1 listening audience, no one else in the world would have heard it or seen it.  But in the perfect storm of 21st century social media, it’s become a viral video on YouTube with over 2,886,708 views in just two days of posting at the writing of this blog.  No doubt these YouTube views were driven by millions of Facebook posts, tweets on Twitter, and additionally fueled and synergized by the numerous  broadcast TV programs (like TODAY and entertainment programs) and talk radio exposure.  This may very well be a case where the broadcast television exposure drew viewers to the laptops, iPads, and smart phones to get a first look for themselves.

You can’t plan this type of publicity or can you?  You could attempt it, but it would never end up being as organic, believable and endearing as this genuine darling conversation/interview that has exploded onto the social media scene.

What you can do though is encourage reporters to ask more candid questions than the standard boring ones like, “Tell me about your character in this film.”  What this no holds barred press junket interview by a cub reporter exhibits is the power of letting “your hair down” in an interview.  More people may go see this film since they saw an interesting side of Mila instead of the traditional and boring Q &A.

Before I close this blog on viral video, here’s another great effort by Dove (produced by Ogilvy Tornoto) that is gathering steam on YouTube.  This is an excellent example of creating a great campaign that will also work for social media – real beauty is not photoshopped.

This was posted just three days ago and already has over 42,000 views.  Not bad.  The right public relations strategy synergizing broadcast television with social media will skyrocket this video viewership and create great brand awareness and goodwill for Dove.

NOTE: I just updated this blog from writing it two hours ago and the Mila Kunis Video now has over 3,060,000 views.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Copyright (c) 2013. CMP Media Cafe. All Rights Reserved.

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