By now you’ve probably heard of / seen Susan Boyle, Demi Moore’s favorite new singer. Boyle’s performance this past weekend on the UK’s Britain’s Got Talent has been burning up the Internet. If you haven’t seen it, here you go:
That video has more than 8 million views – in four days! That’s the kind of instant critical mass that marketers dream of. That’s the kind of attention that make CMOs tell their agencies, “I want a viral video like that.” But of course, we know that’s not how it works.
What all these shows – American Idol, Top Chef, Project Runway, etc. – do, and do well, is create a framework for opportunity. Sure, we’ve all heard of Susan Boyle now, but can you name the other contestants who were on the show with her? No, of course not. Heck, you probably didn’t even know the show existed before you saw the clip on YouTube. But by creating a framework where authentic talent could florish, the people behind the show gave themselves the opportunity to catch lightning in a bottle.
Think about that the next time you launch a campaign. Are you relying on one slick, overly-produced video, or are you open to magic coming from some place unexpected? In 100 years, nobody would have picked Susan Boyle to be an Internet sensation, and that’s part of the reason she has become one.
Unexpected and unplanned is not something many marketers are comfortable with. That’s why when it happens, it explodes. Those few marketers willing to take the risk are greatful for the many marketers that would rather play it safe.