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Social media watch: things are speeding up


Last Thursday’s Times had two articles, one about how Heineken is aiming ads at young digital consumers, the other about ordinary people who are figuring out ways to make money from their blogs.

Considered together, the articles suggest that social media has entered an important phase that, just a year ago, would not have been possible.

Heineken’s story is interesting. It’s an old, mature brand. When I was an undergrad, Heineken was very hot and sexy. It was imported, upscale, one of the first aspirational beers. If you wanted to impress a date, you bought a Heinie–not Budweiser or Pabst Blue Ribbon.

But Heineken “has lost some of its cachet,” admits a senior Heineken executive. It’s particularly lost traction in the all-important 18-34 year old demographic, which prefers American microbrews. How do you get across to 18-34 year olds, mainly men? You make a series of YouTubes that are commercials disguised as wacky videos: one that’s “about a young man on a wild date” and another “about a young man’s show-stopping arrival at a wild party,” as the Times puts it.

Young men! Wild parties! Dates! Heineken knows what’s driving this consumer market.

Here’s the link to the ad called “The Date.” It’s good, but even better is the video called “The Entrance,” which is so good, it gave me shivers. Who wouldn’t want to be that guy? He’s the coolest dude that ever lived. And with 3,652,601 views so far and counting, Heineken is obviously attracting a lot of eyeballs.

I have no idea if ads like these will help Heineken with Millennials and Xers. But advertising on YouTube is way less expensive than running comparable commercials on T.V., which young people are abandoning anyway, in favor of online.

Meanwhile, the other article, the one about bloggers actually making money (who woulda thunk?), will surely catch the eye of many who read The recipe for success goes something like this, according to the bloggers the Times interviewed. First, pick a topic you’re passionate about and thus won’t get tired of. Then, be prepared to spend years building your blog. As you reach a certain level, start taking ads on a pay-per-click basis. Besides the usual banner ads, you can also have “contextual ads,” which are highlighted words in posts that link to a vendor. “A commission is paid on resulting sales,” says the Times. (Excuse me for a moment, I’m gonna go get me a refreshing can of Coca Cola and make a quick phone call to my broker on my iPhone.)

Other money-making strategies include charging for content, developing book deals and being hired to speak before groups because you’ve become so darned famous from your blog. And there is, of course, YouTube, which spices up any blog. So quickly is the quality of vlogging improving that YouTube itself is teaching vloggers “how to create a viral video, build an audience and bolster a brand,” says this article in yesterday’s Times. Last year, said a YouTube manager, the top channels on the company’s Partners Program (which teams up with vloggers) “generated 100 billion views and attracted millions of dollars in advertising revenue,” with hundreds of partners earning more than $100,000 a year.

Exciting stuff.

  1. In terms of making a name on-line, you also need some chops (no different than in the off-line world). For example, the second article you site quotes Molly Wizenberg, who I know, and she is a very, very talented writer.

  2. Consistency is key for gaining online and offline brand recognition with the Millennial market.

  3. OMG! Those videos are amazing. Go Heinie!

  4. Lori, they really are great. Glad you liked!

  5. Both of these are that historic blend of European/Asian sensibility that is so British Empire. I liked The Entrance when it launched (if for no other reason than it reminded me of Johnny Depp and of some friends who are truly from the era of the Raj).

    The second felt more Conan O’Brien meets James Bond. I don’t think Millennials and GenXers are similar targets, BTW. Though these targets are largely white (male?) based; doesn’t necessarily translate to other same age demographics.

    Not surprisingly, both of these ads ran in multiple language markets and were produced by Amsterdam arm of a….drum roll…. Portland, OR agency: Wieden + Kennedy. Can they help wine?

  6. Kathy, thanks for weighing in! Will we see you this summer?

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