The band is Ok-Go, a quirky group of guys who create odd songs and even more eclectic videos. That one was viewed more than 50 million times after being posted on YouTube, mostly embedded on other sites. In fact 90% of the viewings came from the embedded YouTube player, not on YouTube.com according to the band.
No? That’s the official music video for the band’s new song. It’s only been seen 940,000 times in just over a month. The bean counters at EMI, the band’s label, won’t let them share the video the same way. So if you want to see the video you have to go to YouTube.com.
For a band that made it’s name with viral videos this sucked. And the band’s leader said so, in a New York Times Op-Ed piece.
“Viral content doesn’t spread just from primary sources like YouTube or Flickr. Blogs, Web sites and video aggregators serve as cultural curators, daily collecting the items that will interest their audiences the most. By ignoring the power of these tastemakers, our record company is cutting off its nose to spite its face.”
Enter an unlikely ally, State Farm Insurance. Like many companies it was looking for a way to connect with younger prospective customers. What if they sponsored a video, paying for production costs and the royalties lost through viral networking? And the idea for the video was much bigger than the label’s version, a warehouse-size Rube Goldberg machine, created by NASA and CalTech engineers. Which leads to this:
This is the second video of the same song, “This Too Shall Pass”, a particularly appropriate thought since this video is now wildly successful. There have been 3.4 million views in less than 72 hours. Two million times people have seen the video, State Farm’s logo on the little truck and a heartfelt thank you in the credits. There’s another 300,000 views of a series on how the video was made, all with State Farm branding.
It’s a brilliant strategy by the band and nimble action on the part of State Farm. While terms of the deal haven’t been released, it was the band that approached State Farm, and gave them a seat at the creative process in exchange for the sponsorship. The fact that the band has openly told EMI what to do with its policies and found away around them isn’t lost on State Farm’s target market.
Why State Farm? The band’s leader is a policy holder.
For more, here’s a brief interview with the director. Can you imagine resetting for 60 takes?!