YouTube catches a Buzz from Google

The summer’s best TV show wasn’t on television. It was YouTube‘s lonelygirl15, AKA Bree, and her best (and only) pal, the schlumpy Daniel. The two have been starring in videos posted to YouTube since mid-June. Already, lonelygirl15’s videos have each been watched hundreds of thousands of times. Her YouTube “channel” is the second most subscribed to of all time, and each video elicits thousands of viewer comments. Bree and Daniel are proof that a secret-handshake-styled series of short videos can be a bona fide hit.

The videos are earnest, goofy, chaste (Daniel’s crush is thus far unrequited), narrated in tight close-up, and largely set in Bree’s bedroom. They focus on time-honored teen themes: parental conflicts, social isolation, boy and girl troubles. They are, as the stats suggest, hideously addictive. There are at least two fan sites, and a casual blog search reveals references to lonelygirl15 in six languages, including Russian.

But rumor had it that they were not real. Blog chatter suggested a few theories, such as the videos are a corporation’s viral marketing campaign, or a teaser for an unknown major entertainment property. But recently the creators behind the Internet video mystery revealed themselves and their “experiment” in storytelling that seemed to be a perfect fit for using video blogging.

Ok, so where’s the Buzz? Well, just think how successful this little “experiment” has been for its creators. So successful that Google is paying $1.65 billion for YouTube! Clearly, online video is one of the hottest media platforms going – for conventional online ads, viral marketing and relationship building. Begin experimenting with it in your marketing mix as a way to build sustainable Buzz.

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