Business Week ran a story on W+K's recent work for EA's Tiger Woods PGA Tour '09. Partnering with EA, we used YouTube to launch a video response (below) to a YouTube posting by Levitan25, which called attention to a "glitch" in the '08 game that allowed Tiger Woods to "walk on water".
The response to this effort - from video plays (2MM+) and text replies (3,200+) on YouTube to blog posts to Business Week articles - has been strong. And has been touted as the kind of effort possible when you engage players on their terms.
Creating buzz in the social/viral media game isn't just about signing "Insertion Orders" (IO's) with social nets like YouTube, it's also about acknowledging and respecting the implicit and explicit "Social Contracts" of those 'nets - and participating in them in ways organic to both the brand and those ecosystems to create engaging brand connections.
YouTube's chronologically short but narratively rich history of post/counterpost, of user-generated video and text commentary "enhancing" original content, provided the social fabric for EA's response to the Levitan25 Glitch video. And the response fit perfectly into the social fabric of the YouTube cosmos.
And folks seemed to dig it.
Which raises an interesting question for social nets:
Is living in the carefully circumscribed "brand playpens" on social nets the right strategy to engage? Or can we dig a little deeper into the ecosystems and live by their native rules, rather than backing the damn brand truck into the loading bay or carpet bombing with low click through tonnage? The UK has already passed laws about transparency in advertising that effectively requires brand forays into social media to be clearly labeled as such. What is the right mix?
How many presentations do we have to watch about "earned" media vs. "bought" media? After concepting/production costs, isn't one promise of "social media" [or "viral media"] that used well, "media" can be free?
Sure, social ecosystems need dollars to support their business models, but rather than drop a brand depth charge into a digital/social ecosystem only when you've got something to sell, shouldn't brand presences grow organically out of natural fits born from LIVING in those communities where conversations germane to their products are taking place?
If the true power of social media and community is EARNED, not bought, how are your brands "investing" in the communities that matter?