Why marketers should party like it’s Youtube’s birthday


Happy birthday to Youtube! Five years ago this month, the self-broadcasting Web site that we’ve all come to know, love and add to our favorites went live with a 19-second video featuring one of the site founders on a trip to the zoo. It was surprisingly entitled, “Me at the zoo.” Creative, guys!

So, what have we learned from the completely accessible, omnipresent pop culture phenomenon that has allowed ordinary people to either make fools of themselves or become superstars literally over night, and created a linked and attentive world audience? We’ve witnessed the sheer and undeniable power of the viral thread. Well then, how do we use it to our benefit?

Just ask David Devore, the father and director of one of Youtube’s greatest success stories, “David After Dentist,” a short video featuring a seven-year-old boy coming out of anesthesia on his trip home from a visit to the dentist. His dazed looks, intense line of questioning and profound realizations spread like viral wild fire when the video was first posted in January 2009, gaining 3 million views within the first week, and still brings in nearly 100,000 hits per day. The elder David reportedly no longer needs to work and brings in six-figure profits from davidafterdentist.com, which sells merchandise related to the video’s various catch phrases, including “Is this real life?”

The video was just announced as among the top 10 most-watched Youtube videos of all time – right up there next to three Lady Gaga music videos, Miley Cyrus and an infant biting a finger – and father David apparently holds seminars on not only how to create a viral phenomenon, but how to market it and make quite a living off of it.

So what can marketers learn from a trip to the dentist?

That this viral thing is not just a big thing right now – it’s THE thing. How else could a seven-year-old with one front tooth and a wobbly stance earn his parents international fame in one week and six figures over the last year? Thank you, Youtube!

What’s your favorite use for Youtube? Have you ever thought about the marketing power for small businesses? The site set up a special FiveYear Channel and campaign, asking for people to submit videos about how Youtube has changed their lives. Look out for the MOS success story coming soon…

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