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The smart way to use viral marketing: Pork & Beans

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One of the most significant examples of a viral marketing phenomenon doing the rounds on the internet at the moment is the new video for Weezer’s current single, “Pork and Beans”.

A favourite band amongst the marketing team at Coast Digital, we’ve certainly notched up a few views between us in the office, not only for the musical content, but for the incredibly digital-marketing-savvy video.

The video for “Pork and Beans”, released on YouTube weeks before international music TV channels began showing it, is a collection of Weezer’s ‘favourite stuff’; in other words various internet video ‘stars’ miming along to their latest track.

Essentially Weezer brought together various cult internet ‘memes’ and flew a number of self-made YouTube ‘stars’ to Los Angeles to film parodies of the videos which first made them popular.

The smart marketing ploy was to create a video featuring the creators of previously viral content – if one thing is bound to get your brand or message noticed, it’s through endorsement by people already popular in the public eye.

Weezer are certainly not the first band to come up with the idea of a collaboration of YouTube Celebrity – The Barenaked Ladies produced a similarly themed video for the track "The Sound of Your Voice" last year, but to less fanfare.

A great contributing factor to Weezer’s success, is that they had the good grace to allow the “embed item” link in the YouTube channel – something many record companies don’t seem keen to allow, often preferring to direct traffic to the official website. But this move allowed bloggers to spread the video at an even greater rate – us included.

The video reportedly had over 1.2 million views in its first 24 hours on YouTube, reaching 7.5 million views by June 19th.

Obviously Weezer’s marketing efforts have paid off, providing the band with their fastest rising single to date in the American Billboard Modern Rock Charts, shooting up to number 1 after just 3 weeks release.

E-consultancy report that research into the global impact of social media indicates significant growth across all social media platforms; with video clips growing the fastest; now commanding 81% penetration worldwide.  This kind of growth signals an exciting boost for non-traditional marketing methodologies and strategies.

Weezer front man Rivers Cuomo is no stranger to YouTube – he is currently compiling a series of homemade videos entitled “let’s write a song”, encouraging viewers to provide feedback and ideas for a track, which is evolving through a number of stages, from title, style and feel, through to lyrics and more subtle production elements.

This kind of transparency and involvement is one way bands are proactively using the internet to create buzz and differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack. Nine Inch Nails founder, Trent Reznor openly makes high quality multi-track versions of his tracks available on the internet for the general public to remix, modify and upload. The director of the ‘Pork and Beans’ video, Matthew Cullen, hopes others will use the video to create their own video mash-ups.

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