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Brands on YouTube: Version 2.0

From a pre-launch platform, YouTube has emerged as a powerful medium for companies to engage with social media users

Viveat Susan Pinto  |  Mumbai 

A video of Nick Goepper, one of the top freeskiers in the US, recorded about 100,000 views in three days of its release. The video is no ordinary one - 19-year-old Goepper is a teen sensation and role model, who not only dominates his sport but is also good at academics. He is sponsored by Red Bull, the energy drink long associated itself with extreme sports.

Instead of using Goepper in conventional TV ads, Red Bull chose to promote him on YouTube, uploading his videos from various events. The video mentioned earlier shows the freeskier talking about his style and technique. The clicks, experts say, weren't unexpected.

Recently, Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor was part of a campaign for Philips' LED lights. OgilvyOne, the digital arm of ad agency Ogilvy & Mather, which conceived and executed the campaign, released what appeared a leaked video of the actor dancing to the 1981 film Yaraana number, Saara Zamana. The video went viral, becoming a talking point on social networking websites Twitter and Facebook.

A few days later, OgilvyOne released another video showing Kapoor lashing out at a journalist for leaking the first video. Suspense over the goings-on continued till a few days later, Philips unveiled a two-minute music video on showing Kapoor dancing to Saara Zamana in a suit covered with LED bulbs. Though a shorter version of the video appeared on TV, the big medium here was

are increasingly tapping the power of the video-sharing website to engage with users. And, most aren't disappointed, given the pace at which use is growing in India, with those active on estimated to touch 80 million by April-May, says a study by the Internet & Mobile Association of India. Now, it is about 60 million.

Acutely aware of this growing segment, across consumer goods, electronics, retail, automobile, telecom, banking & finance, etc, are demanding sites such as YouTube be at the centre of their media and advertising plans.

Sabyasachi Mitter, managing director of Interface Business Solutions, a digital agency, says, "Earlier, it was normal for to release TV commercials on YouTube and gauge the response of viewers. This would create the necessary buzz prior to a big release on TV. Now, the focus is on exclusive content for YouTube, which could be ads, interactive videos, channels, etc, with links to Facebook and Twitter."

Chaaya Baradhwaaj, managing director and chief executive of digital agency BC Web Wise, which works with Hindustan Unilever (HUL), says at every step, the attempt is to grab eyeballs, something long associated with TV alone.

HUL, for instance, has a popular channel on YouTube - the Sunsilk Hair Experts channel. Here, viewers, mostly women, can not only view the latest products from the company's hair care range but also discuss problems and get solutions.

First Published: Tue, January 21 2014. 00:44 IST