In the world of retail, selling mobile phone contracts must be up there with payday loans for the sheer number of providers all looking for a slice of the lucrative consumer pie. We've seen some amazingly effective video marketing strategies from the likes of Three, Vodafone and current viral sensation TrueMove and now Virgin Mobile USA are hoping to catch the eyes (geddit?) of consumers with their new 'Blinkwashing' campaign.
Blinkwashing you say? Why, yes. Using their custom branded channel feature, the company have set up a series of 25 videos that the viewer can scroll through just by blinking, although you are encouraged not to. The channel uses the viewer's webcam to calibrate and then respond to some hardcore eye action, changing the video should you blink. The videos are time-coded and "smart cached," so if you do blink (which is highly likely, let's face it) then you won't miss a second of dialogue as the new video picks up from the exact spot in the script as the last video.
The technology does work well, although it took a few goes with my glasses on and then off. And then on again. Also, it looped a lot so I only got to see 4 of the 25 videos even though I was blinking like a crazy person – I guess a faster internet connection would have been helpful here. The videos are well made, as you would expect and it's a unique and quirky way to navigate the on screen content. The videos aren't embeddable but you can see them for yourself (and test them if you have a webcam) on the Virgin Mobile US channel. Here's a trailer that gives you a clue as to some of the content:
Doug Vosik, part of the Virgin Mobile USA brand team said of the YouTube exclusive campaign:
We understand that traditional advertising is limited in how much it can tell viewers about Virgin Mobile [so] why not let viewers create unique, fun experiences while learning more about our brand?
Created by Mother, New York in conjunction with Rehabstudio, YouTube and Greencard Studios, the ads run on both Mac and PC desktop computers. Have a go and let us know what you think.
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