This story is part of our series on building event buzz with online videos.
A marketing event that got significant buzz in both the real and virtual worlds was Charmin’s 2006 and 2007 holiday promotion, in which the company installed free public bathrooms in New York’s Times Square. Accompanied by singers, dancers, and fun facts about flushing, the quirky event, produced by Charmin along with experiential marketing firm Gigunda Group and public relations firm Manning, Selvage & Lee, brought in 400,000 visitors each year. In a pleasant surprise for Charmin, several dozen of those people were so tickled with the happening that they recorded it with handheld cameras and posted the videos to YouTube—sharing Charmin’s event with thousands more viewers.
“The event was all about providing an opportunity for the consumer to engage in the brand in a different and more unusual, innovative way,” says Dewayne Guy, external relations manager at Charmin. “We put a lot of effort into making sure it was interactive, and that lends itself to the visual media. Online video is not something we actively pushed—it happened organically based on the consumer reactions.”
Because Charmin’s event was inventive, one-of-a-kind, and a little bizarre, consumers not only wanted to check it out, but were also compelled to share the experience with others. Whether they were amused, annoyed, or just confused, they were engaged enough to film a video, upload it, and share it with friends and strangers.
Darling says creating an online video that people want to share is “all about the energy; it isn’t about the technology or the craftsmanship. It’s about, Does that video in some way touch someone, so that they will want to tell people about it, and then those people will want to tell people about it?”