Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

YouTube’s Sales Pitch: Please Buy Ads! And Please Make Them Like This!

So you’d like to start advertising on YouTube but aren’t sure how to do it? Google’s (GOOG) video site has some advice: Make awesome clips that people want to watch!

Easier said than done, of course. But that’s the gist of the presentation that Hunter Walk, director of YouTube’s consumer products team, gave to ad executives at the big industry schmooze-fest in Cannes, France, last week.

You can see the slides from Walk’s presentation below, but since you can’t actually hear his presentation, I asked him to summarize the pitch in text form. He was kind enough to oblige:

Presented at Cannes Interactive last Friday to the Young Lions (top digital creatives under 30). Goal was to share a perspective on how brands/creative agencies should approach YouTube in order to develop content that resonates with our audience. Given the advertiser enthusiasm of the past year (eg 10x increase in display advertisers on YouTube) we’re now able to shift from basic education about our platform (2007-2008) to one of creating the future together (cue hymnals :) ). So we reviewed some great examples of ads which worked as content AND commercial messaging, and discussed the YouTube design language and creativity from our community. When brands “make content, not commercials” they find a multiplicative effect in their ad spending where promotion leads to organic views–it’s sorta our version of the social gaming viral coefficient–how many people will the viewer pass the video on to….

Note: Many of the clips in the slides below are “playable.” And if you don’t want to squint, click the box in the middle of the menu bar at the bottom of the slide.

And here are three of the examples Walk calls out as excellent content, which also happens to double as excellent commercials. Note that you have probably seen at least a couple of these on TV as well. Draw your own conclusions from that.

Kia’s Soul Hamster (featuring excellent 90s hip-hop from Black Sheep):

Electronic Arts’ (ERTS) ad for “Tiger Woods ’09,” which has its origins in an amateur YouTube clip:

And an ad from Google itself, promoting its Chrome browser:

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik