Hopefully you’ve had a chance to see the witty and headline grabbing response that feminine care company Bodyform posted to Youtube on October 16th in response to a snarky comment on its Facebook page. Though if you haven’t, I’ve posted it above.
In just the first 24 hours, the video garnered more than 626,000 views. By any standard, that’s pretty amazing.
Everything started on the 8th when Richard Neill wrote a tongue-in-cheek comment on Bodyform’s Facebook page – shown below.
For your benefit, I want to outline several reasons why Bodyform’s video is such social media genius.
Recognizing an opportunity
Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, and Morten Hansen argue in their book Great by Choice that you can manage luck. One of the steps to earning a high return on luck is spotting good-luck events when they come.
When Richard posted on Bodyform’s wall, the community managers could have ignored him, posted a polite response or decided to create an Internet sensation. They saw the opportunity and acted immediately.
Which brings me to the next point.
That’s how long it took Bodyform to put together a video response. Just 8 days. That’s not a lot of time.
Some firms have so many layers of bureaucracy that getting the green light to make the video could take longer than 8 days. Much longer.
But in the Internet time-space continuum, speed is everything. In some instances, you may only have a matter of hours.
Bodyform demonstrated marketing and organizational nimbleness (there is some speculation, though, that all of this was staged).
The tone and message of the video shows that Bodyform is self-aware. They were able to make fun of themselves and their own ads.
Rather than defending, they embraced. Rather than attacking, they laughed back.
The social web scrutinizes and does not make room for companies that don’t get it. Novell tried to copy the success of Old Spice’s Smell like a man, man campaign and failed. At least they didn’t receive negative backlash like so many other firms or individuals who don’t get this.
On the web, humor and the use of cats are sure ways to get attention. In fact, most memes do well because they are funny.
The problem is when you try too hard. Authenticity is key in all things advertising. That’s why some Youtube videos have experienced backlash when viewers find out that a “real” video was fabricated by a marketing agency.
Bodyform did an excellent job of applying humor and wit without any sense of over-trying.
Either go big or go home – one of my favorite adages.
I don’t believe in taking unnecessary risks, but do step out of your comfort zone from time to time. In fact, that’s much of what Seth Godin argued in Linchpin. The lizard brain tells us to play it safe. Use that nagging worry or fear as a guide to know that you are headed down the right path.
The wit and even slightly crass humor is not typical of a Bodyform commercial. For just one moment, they have pivoted. They have stepped outside of themselves.
And it’s going to pay off.