I am always on the lookout for brands that are creating original, engaging online video content. I think brands, with their resources and big pockets, are able to push online video as a medium toward greater heights—at least, as long as they're eschewing traditional commercials in favor of entertainment content. This week, there are two completely separate brewing companies taking to social video to try and engage their audiences, and they couldn't have used more different approaches if they tried.
Amstel Light Goes Artistic
I love Vimeo. It's a fantastic place filled with outrageously original content. It's not uncommon for me to lose a few hours browsing Vimeo clips, because you never know when you're going to find a great time-lapse piece, or a talented new animator.
Amstel Light has gone the Vimeo route this week. By that I mean, they created a piece of behind-the-scenes artistic video that doesn't feel remotely like a commercial. It actually ends up feeling like a lot of the other amateur videos I've seen by creative young filmmakers on Vimeo. The concept is deceivingly simple: let's film some painters putting up a new display-ad mural for Amstel Light on the side of a building.
Of course, painting ads on the side of a building isn't something most of us have ever done. So showing us that process is a great way to show us something new. Turns out, for what it's worth, that the painters just ride up in a huge and frightening lift and stand there painting the huge mural one bit at a time. Here's the clip:
The clip is only four days old, and is still sitting at around 2,000 views, but I suspect it will find a larger audience than that very soon—it's already being picked up by some of the more prominent curating sites. It's shot beautifully in HD, lets the pictures tell the story instead of a narrator, and gives us an entertaining look at how building-ads are created… all while keeping that Amstel Light brand (and logo) at the front of our minds.
It doesn't feel like advertising at all… which is, of course, the whole point.
Breckenridge Brewery Skewers The Competition
Now, Amstel Light may not be the most popular beer in America, but it's definitely a recognizable and famous brand. But what about the microbreweries that are so popular these days? How are those little fish supposed to stand out from the big fish in the same pond? Easy, create a video that offers humor, and has a little fun at the expense of some of the larger companies' marketing methods.
There are two Breckenridge ads I want you to see. The first pokes fun at Budweiser's new "vortex bottle”—I'm sure you've seen the original ads for this… but it is a new bottle construction that puts carefully-measured grooves in the neck of the bottle so that it pours better. Check out Breckenridge's response:
[Video removed from YouTube]
Over a hundred thousand views between the two videos, which isn't a bad little haul for a beer brand most of us have never heard of. That's a fine way to get some attention (and probably also some people to try your beer).
Social video isn't something in a box. It doesn't have to look the same for every brand. The only real rule with branded social video is this: entertain first, market later, encourage sharing. From there, brands can choose to be funny (as Breckenridge did) or artistic (as Amstel Light did), and both avenues can bring success. What's impressive to me is that both these brands are trying. They couldn't be more different in their traditional approaches to advertising, their marketing budgets, or even their main customer base… but despite their unique needs and goals, social video was a great strategy for both of them to extend their reach and brand awareness.