Remember that Extra gum commercial, the one that made everyone cry? (Don’t lie, I know you did.) Boy meets girl, falls in love, etc., etc.?
Turns out, it wasn’t just a cute love story that went viral. It was a piece of marketing genius that we could all learn a thing or two from. At about 20 million views on YouTube, over 80 thousand shares, there was something about this commercial that compelled people to engage with it. Was it the music? The actors? The story?
How can we use a simple video or advertisement to build a community and client base around our brand?
At the end of the day, your product or service has no human attributes to it; that is to say, there is no real way for us to connect with a tangible thing (unless you’re a shopaholic or a robot).
People relate to people. For something to resonate with them, they need to be able to connect with it on a deeper level. If you can choose a topic people are passionate about, they will latch on to it and see more meaning in what you are trying to sell.
In the Extra Gum commercial, we see the story of Sarah and Juan unfold from when they meet, to how they struggle, and eventually to when Juan proposes to her. Meanwhile, the product is incorporated at every step of the video. This works because many of us can put ourselves in Sarah or Juan’s shoes to some degree, and we find ourselves identifying with the characters. By constructing something that we care about emotionally, the advertisement makes us care about the product too.
Try to involve as many different networks in your marketing effort as you can; if you can partner with individuals from another industry or area of work, you automatically expand your network and therefore your potential reach.
The iconic track used in the advertisement is the famous ballad “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” covered by a budding artist named Haley Reinhart (you may remember her from Season 10 of American Idol). The advantage of this critical partnership is that the song became just as important to the commercial as the story itself was. Due to the connections between industries, the commercial was able to gain access to a whole new audience through Reinhart’s fans.
And just like that, when you scroll down to the YouTube comments on the video for her track, you get the pesky “_____________ brought me here” comments, and people are writing “the Extra Gum commercial brought me here.”
Marketing is About Emotion
Any day your marketing piece can make a person laugh, cry, smile, or just plain FEEL is considered a victory. If you can evoke a response from your audience, it means that somehow, you have reached them.
It is not enough to just feature a product, say what it offers, and tell potential customers to buy it. How something makes us feel dictates a lot about the opinion we form about that particular thing. So if we feel amused or emotionally connected to something, we are more likely to endorse or trust it.
The Extra Gum commercial uses the emotional approach to call on our capacity for sentiment. This method makes us connect the gum (or gum wrapper) with a “bigger picture meaning.” Initially, many of us would say “it’s just a piece of gum.” This advertisement pushes us to say, “No, it’s more than that.”
As you can see, what started out as a simple gum ad turned out to be a innovative piece of marketing; or in other words, a step-by-step guide on how to be a master manipulator of emotions to increase customer engagement (just kidding; we’ll leave that to next high school bad-boy breaking some innocent girl’s heart). Who knew a piece of gum could mean so much?