Thursday, May 5, 2011

Vodacom advertising goes ‘viral’

Vodacom is getting a lot of things right lately. I blogged a few weeks ago about how much I enjoyed Vodacom’s re-branding adverts, with my colleague, Kerryn le Cordeur, reporting on how Vodacom set the wheels of the ‘red bandwagon’ in motion, with the likes of Virgin Active and Dulux scrambling for a sliver of the limelight and basking in the glow of the awesomeness that is Vodacom.
I thought the Vodacom hype was simmering down, and then it comes out with this. Vodacom’s new TV advert embraces everything that is good about social media and viral advertising and makes it that much cooler. In the latest offering, Marcus (who looks to be around 11 or 12) takes delivery of his brand new Vodacom phone. He turns the phone’s camera on himself, marches into his bedroom, props the phone up and proceeds to make a video. But this isn’t just any old video. It features more South African celebrities than a bumper issue of Heat magazine. And if his huge brown eyes don’t get you, Marcus with the raucous’ rapping skills certainly will – as will his uncanny ability to make celebrities such as HHP, Loyiso, Freshlyground, Corné and Twakkie, Prime Circle, Tamara Dey, Elvis Blue and Gang of Instrumentals literally crawl out of the cracks of his room and morph from his linen.
The clever word play (“And I get what I want, even got digits for Tanya van Graan; but I stay freshly-grounded and the girls just really, really like it”) and good-sport celebrities dancing around in sleeping bags, singing into desk lamps and zooting around the room on office chairs make this the exact kind of video I like to share with my friends – it’s catchy, has familiar faces and is just so damn clever!
And you know what they say about videos shared by friends – people tend to watch them for three times longer than if they had stumbled across it themselves (read Leigh Andrews’ article on what makes a video go viral).
The ad opens as if it’s a regular YouTube video, zooming in when it has received just fewer than 100 views. At the end of the ad, after Ross from Prime Circle spins Marcus’ chair around and all the featured celebs cram into the screenshot, the camera zooms out again, putting the viewing tally at nearly 28-million.
I suspect Vodacom won’t need to spend too much money airing this ad on TV. I’ve already forced everyone in the office to watch it and a friend of mine on Facebook has declared his intention to adopt Marcus. That is, not if I get to him first.

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