Oh, that sweet, sweet earned media. A dream for any and every brand to see a small investment in an idea skyrocket to Super Bowlian heights of virality. Understandably, to anyone who's seen three minutes of their life die a slow painful death in the wake of a less than hilarious branded comedy web film, this is a dream rarely realized. But this week it was Emirates Airlines' turn, parlaying a single first-class upgrade into more than 12 million YouTube views in just three days. Though not technically an ad, make no mistake this was a marketing play, and both the idea and Casey Neistat's resulting video are worthy of praise in the halls of Top 5 headquarters. Onward!
What: A film by famed vlogger and filmmaker Casey Neistat documenting his experience in flying first class on Emirates from Dubai to New York.
Who: Emirates, Casey Neistat
Why We Care: Now of course Neistat is a known commodity, with millions of followers clickety-clacking on everything he decides to point his camera at. It's why his reputation for creativity and a lack of all-around BS is so valuable to the brands he does choose to work with. And whomever it was at Emirates that realized just how far an investment of, oh say, $16,000 (the cost difference between a regular business class flight Neistat had booked and the approximately $21,000 first class seat he was upgraded to) could go. And they couldn't have imagined a better outcome. First, the video is essentially nine minutes of Neistat high-fiving the brand while giving the rest of us a peek at how the other half live at the front of the plane. Second, the small matter of more than 12 million YouTube views in three days—and media coverage like this—make the move look like one of the best marketing investments of the year.
What: A Netlfix ad disguised as an awesome female powered pep talk.
Why We Care: Not only was Netlfix picking up awards on stage at the Emmys, but it also had people cheering on Twitter during the awards broadcast with this fun celebration of some of the best women characters starring in its original shows. Also, where else can you see the Queen, women convicts, and a pre-teen superhero in one place?
What: A social campaign in which for every food photo people delete from their Instagram account, Land O'Lakes will donate 11 meals to those in need through Feeding America, until it hits its goal of 2.75 million meals.
Who: Land O' Lakes, The Martin Agency, Feeding America
Why We Care: Finally, a really good reason for people to nix the food porn clogging their feeds, besides making me feel better about my sad, sad baloney sandwich at lunchtime.
What: An extended ad for Red Bull's 30 Days In L.A. music festival that sees the L.A. Clippers star get in touch with his inner self. Sort of.
Who: Red Bull, Doubleday & Cartwright
Why We Care: It's nice to see Griffin in such a safe, peaceful place and sporting such a mellow constitution, even leading a meditation class. A super weird meditation class, but when you get in trouble for punching out one of your team's own staffers while out to dinner, whatever works, right?
What: A celebrity-packed political ad for Joss Whedon's Hillary Clinton Super PAC Save The Day that assembles stars of The Avengers, The West Wing, and more in order to urge people to vote.
Who: Save The Day PAC, Joss Whedon
Why We Care: This achieves the rare feat of being a big cheesy celebrity political ad while acknowledging and poking fun at the fact that it is a big cheesy celebrity political ad. Plus, they all promise Mark Ruffalo will do a nude scene in his next film if Clinton is elected. So yeah, civic duty or that, whichever works best to get you to the polls.