Thanks to continuing improvements in Internet bandwidth, video streaming technology and the explosion of social video sharing sites like YouTube, more and more Internet users are using online video as a source of information and entertainment. This emerging media is a marketers dream; its immediately accessible and provides a captive audience for the duration of the video, which often runs for several minutes — a signficantly longer attention span than other media.

Furthermore, it amazes me how long users are willing to spend watching this stuff. Many people dont mind giving up several minutes of their day to watch dancing monkeys on YouTube, clips other peoples misfortunes, or other mindless nonsense.

While there has been a number of highly successful video-based viral campaigns over the past few years, a few forward-thinking agencies have clicked-on to the habit forming nature of online video and are leveraging it together with the variable support in Flash to incorporate personalisation in videos. The results are very effective and highly viral.

Ive been following this emerging form of personalisation for a few years and thought it was time to share a few of my hot picks and feed you all with a litle inspiration.

CNNBC Video

Election-mania is sweeping news headlines across the world and some of organisations have decided to create election news stories of their own. One example is available on a fictional news website hosted by the democratic policital organisation MoveOn.org. Its obvious that significant effort has gone into making this fictional video, and the personalisation effects arent extremely effective, the campaign gets a good overall chuckle factor.
http://www.cnnbcvideo.com/taf.html?hp=1

Make Me Super

EVB, a digital agency in San Francisco, has put together a viral video campaign for Kodak where you can transform yourself (or someone else) into a super person. The site includes an image-editing tool where you can upload a photo of yourself and define the edge of your face. If youre fortunate enough to have a common name, youre name will even be featured as part of a pre-recorded soundtrack. The campaign is very impressive and a great deal of effort (and expense) has gone into the production of the campaign.
http://www.makemesuper.com

Ave A Word

Although this ones a couple of years old now, it still deserves a mention due to its viral effectiveness and numerous creative awards which include Silver, Cannes Lion 2006 and Best Interactive Campaign, Adobe Design Awards.

London-based agency, Glue, created an ambitious and unique viral ad for MINI to tie in with the launch of the new MINI Cooper S with JCW GP Kit. The agency used Flash-based interactive video stitching techniques to create highly effective, personalised experience. From the micro-site, visitors can nominate friends who may be demonstrating unmanly characteristics. The unsuspecting friend then receives a personalised email from their friend advising them that someone wants to‚ ave a little word. On the site, they receive a personal video message from a hard bloke with a blunt and scarily knowledgeable message for all men who appear to have forgotten just who they are… While the campaign closed some time ago, it can still be viewed at:
http://aveaword.glueserv.com

Bar da Boa

If you havent seen this campaign yet, then you obviously dont have many friends. Its one of the most popular viral video campaigns ever produced, although Im guessing the majority of site visitors dont understand what its promoting. It appears to be for a Brazilian beer brand named Boa, but my Brazilian Portuguese is pretty non-existent, so I cant be sure. Once youve punched in a couple of names on a form, you see the names incorporated in tattoos within a video sequence. Give it a go for yourself on the Bar da Boa site. Simply enter your name on the first line, a friends name on the second line, then click visualizar. If only I knew what they were talking about…
http://www.tatuagemdaboa.com.br

The Dexter Treatment

Meet Dexter; Americas favourite serial killer. I was shocked to learn that Im next on Dexters hit list, but fortunately this turned out to be a spoof; its actually viral campaign promoting the US hit TV series, Dexter.

The campaign was created, filmed, directed and edited by Digital advertising agency, Ralph. When the campaign was launched in London, it proved so effective and controversial that Ralph received calls of complaint from the public and Londons Scotland Yard Police!

This has to be the most effective use of video-based image personalisation that Ive seen to-date. The personalisation also extends to the newsreaders voiceover for additional authenticity. Even the spoof website is convincing; a social media site complete with a report summary, folksonomy tags and a list of fictional comments.
http://www.sliceoflifetv.com

Supporters Cheer Up

This highly effective viral online campaign was created by DDB for Philips for the FIFA 2006 World Cup. It delivers a novel message for your mates who may need cheering up if their team didnt win the world cup. There doesnt really seem to be a call-to-action, but Philips are probably trying to publicise the fact that theyre an official sponsor of the world cup and that they can relate to football supporters.
http://www.supporterscheerup.com