Carl's Jr. Brings Sponsored Conversations to Video

Nate Elliott[Posted by Nate Elliott]

My colleague Sean Corcoran stirred up a bit of controversy recently with his research on sponsored conversations -- a.k.a. paying bloggers to discuss your products. (The 20,000-foot view of that research: the practice is here to stay -- in fact it's growing -- so everyone involved must ensure there's full disclosure, and follow other best practices.) But until recently, I'd only ever heard of sponsored blogging and sponsored twittering. So I was fascinated to hear that fast food chain Carl's Jr. is running a new sponsored YouTube video campaign.

Carl's Jr. -- no stranger, of course, to pushing boundaries in online video -- recruited YouTube stars and gave them a simple mission: make a video about how you eat hamburgers, and mention the chain's new portobello mushroom burger. They won't say how many video creators they've engaged for the campaign, or how much they're paying each. But they expect the videos to generate a total of more than 10 million views.

Considering how difficult it is to launch a successful viral video campaign, this approach makes a lot of sense: the marketer is guaranteeing lots of reach, and the videos will carry a reasonable level of authenticity and trust. And they appear to be following the best practices that Sean laid out in his report -- which might just be enough to keep the critics at bay. I'll be watching to see how this campaign works out for Carl's Jr. -- and whether YouTube finds a way to take control of this practice and turn it into a viable revenue stream.

What do you think -- how do sponsored YouTube videos compare to sponsored blogging and sponsored twittering? And would you pay YouTube stars to make a video about your product?

Comments

re: Carl's Jr. Brings Sponsored Conversations to Video

Sorry, I don't mean to be mean, but you guys at Forrester need to get out more. If people know you're being paid for something it inherently diminishes or eliminates any impact and resulting engagement we would normally expect from more traditional viral or pure social media. That said - if something is funny or awesomely sharable, it will travel.So, yes, they could get reach. But they also could piss a lot of money down a quasi affiliate hole and get a lot of crap vids - accompanied by a loud and ironic chorus from all quarters about what chumps the brand is.Btw - they are existing - and fast growing - social affiliates that can be tapped into for a much more authentic way-in to targeted audiences. These are common in tech review circles and financial services blogs. But they are paid, typically, for conversions of some sort (CPA) not for submitting content. If a brand wants to work this side of the social media street they will get bigger and more real bang for their bucks.

re: Carl's Jr. Brings Sponsored Conversations to Video

I sure could use a western bacon cheeseburger right now.

re: Carl's Jr. Brings Sponsored Conversations to Video

Thom,Thanks for your comment. We agree wholeheartedly that a genuine viral message is going to carry more impact than a sponsored conversation. But at the same time, it's incredibly difficult to make viral marketing work: only 15% of marketers who run viral campaigns say their messages get passed along by consumers. We'll keep doing research that helps marketers learn more about how to make their viral marketing successful, but we think it's also important for marketers to understand the other tools that can help get their messages out. Sponsored conversation is one of those tools -- so we're trying to make sure marketers ensure full disclosure, follow best practices, and ultimately get the most value from this tactic.

re: Carl's Jr. Brings Sponsored Conversations to Video

Very interesting what Carl's, Jr. has attempted. I just read an excellent account of the campaign at YMC: http://bit.ly/11H9aX. They're right that the videos are brilliant, but the distribution channel is absolutely worth investigating.

re: Carl's Jr. Brings Sponsored Conversations to Video

"But at the same time, it's incredibly difficult to make viral marketing work: only 15% of marketers who run viral campaigns say their messages get passed along by consumers."Could it be, that the successful 15 % of the marketers using viral marketing are the same 15% (don´t know really how much) using high quality content for their viral marketing campaings!I think a lot who fail in viral marketing just think putting together some well known information with their links is all thei have to do to be successful in viral marketing!This brings me to the question: how many marketer using their own and/or at least high quality contentfor their viral marketing and how much of them is successful of them!Nice informativ Blog by the way!

re: Carl's Jr. Brings Sponsored Conversations to Video

From my thought, i guess people would not pay youtube to do the main things around the ads camp. People are used to use it for free as far as i am concern. Rather people are knocking on http://www.adwido.com type companies to do the big things for them. Surely, these companies came with great services, we always expect.