Medvedev on YouTube

Last October, I had the honor of speaking at the first digital marketing conference organized in Russia. Speaking with our colleagues in Moscow, I had became aware of the potential of “bringing the State to the Web.” Well, it’s been happening bit by bit. Here’s the latest from President Medvedev on YouTube. Too bad I don’t speak Russian, so I can’t understand what he’s saying. While the subtitles are in Cyrillic, the headlines are in English. So the page still gives me a sense of the various touch points President Medvedev’s office is creating. Here’s a look at some personal photos from the President’s album. (Notice he’s a Mac user :-)) And here’s entertaining animation for children.

I had often wondered about the politics of speaking in your mother tongue when addressing people as the Head of State. Switching to another language can sometimes be a graceful gesture to that country’s people. Sometimes it may mean straying away from your national identity. So, I don’t think Medvedev’s office would create an English version of the page to reach a broader audience. Kremlin speaks Russian. But it’ll be interesting to see if a situation arises where Medvedev chooses to do a video in English, speaking to American audiences on matters concerning the two countries. Until then, we’ll go brush up on our Russian.

US Congress Goes on YouTube

The Obama campaign has shown many the power of Internet in garnering public support. And just today, YouTube unveiled a partnership with the 111th Congress. Members of the House and the Senate will be able to have their dedicated channels on the video network. Visitors to the househub or the senatehub will be able to see how their representatives are working for them in DC. I like that idea of transparency and proximity!

The Ban on YouTube Doesn’t Stop Young Turks

After claims that a YouTube video contained degrading content about Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkish state, Turkish courts banned access to the popular video exchange site from Turkey. They didn’t want anyone to tamper with the evidence while they reviewed the case.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a follower of Ataturk’s path and I staunchly believe in protecting his name and his institutions. But I am not sure if it may be possible to contain content on an ever dynamic social media site. My guess is that many people wouldn’t even be able to find the video and the pertaining user comments that are in question.

But nowadays the focus on the case have shifted from the court’s decision to the back roads Turkish Internet users take to access YouTube. As Milliyet, a leading national paper here, reported recently the number of Turkish visitors to YouTube has reached 800,000 per day, pushing the site to the most viewed 10 Web destinations in the country. Google searches on alternative ways to access YouTube returns more than 300,000 results. In a November interview, even the country’s Prime Minister admitted to accessing YouTube through alternative sites.

The ban doesn’t seem to stop young Turks from connecting and networking.


I have not packed a mover’s box in years, but the pain of lifting, carrying and pushing large objects through narrow doorways and blocked hallways is permanently etched on my mind. But when my colleague Rick showed me Klondike®’s latest viral video a few weeks ago, I simply cracked up. The video features two guys carrying a couch into a house while a task master Klondike bar coaches them with condescending remarks. A talking ice-cream bar, whipping two dudes with comments from the sideline…What’s there not to laugh about?

The video is produced by the SNL digital shorts team and was premiered on YouTube by the popular video producer Timothy Delaghetto. Currently, it’s been viewed more than 200,000 times on YouTube, Metacafe and Funny or Die. The Moving Day video follows on the footsteps of the previously released Phone Call video.

These videos, that are meant to drive interest around a Klondike video contest , are shaping to be viral success stories. They take a well-known phenomenon and put a quirky spin on it by having a non-human character speak and other actors say things that many people stuck in frustrating situations would want to say. They strike a chord in a humorous way. They give people the opportunity to be the funny person of the hour by passing it along to friends.

Yet it’s not just quality content that’s pushing the videos along Web networks. The team behind the promotion took a pretty strategic approach to distribution as well. The Phone Call video was first released exclusively on Metacafe. On the release day, the Klondike brand took over the Metacafe homepage, greeting every Metacafe user that came into the site through that central area. As I mentioned before, The Moving Day video was premiered by Delaghetto, who already had a sizable following and had been a fan of Klondike’s. The campaign for the video contest is also supported by the twittering Klondike bear (Twitter ID: Klondikebear), a Klondike Facebook page and intensive media relations and blogger engagement. Best of all, the contest submissions are flying in. So, what would you do for a Klondike Bar? 😉

* Disclaimer: Klondike is a GolinHarris client. I decided to write this post because I enjoyed the campaign as a Web user and as a marketer.

Content Is King, When It’s A Commodity

Like many readers I was fascinated to learn about Battle At Kruger, a YouTube eyewitness video, being featured at the National Geographic Channel. The video was taken by David Budzinski from Texas who was on a Safari trip. It is your typical story of baby buffalo gets attacked by the lions, who almost lose the baby to an alligator. The miraculous act happens when a buffalo herd shows up to save the baby. 

Budzinski shops the clip to the National Geographic Channel and the Animal Planet upon his return, without much success. Yet after his video garners 33 million views on YouTube, he gets the TV executives’ attention and his clip is featured on the National Geographic Channel. 
Even if some people viewed the clip several times from several different computers, 33 million is a force to be reckoned with. The YouTube counter served as an indicator of how many viewers would watch the episode and how much money it would generate. 
Too bad we do not have the episode’s ratings or insights as to why/how the audience decided to tune into National Geographic for this program… Or, I’d like to think they did. (Why would I want to pay for cable TV or remember to tune into the program, when I can just search for the same footage online and watch the director’s cut as many times as I want for free.)
The dynamic between YouTube’s audience and the TV executives made me think of my former classmate Fernando Bermejo’s take on online audience measurement.  In his book, The Internet Audience: Constitution and Measurement, Fernando points out the following: 
  • the audience is the first requirement for a mass media channel to exist 
  • the media industry needs to define a commodity by its audience before buying or selling it 

Had it not been for the YouTube counter and the hundreds of comments posted under the video, the Battle At Kruger may have never made it to TV. Video views and consumer-generated comments do not have the same level of accuracy and representativeness as census bureau statistics. Yet, when the buzz is large enough to capture and the volume is too high to ignore, we get to embed user-generated content into traditional media.