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How Intel and Toshiba recreated success with "The Beauty Inside"

How Intel and Toshiba recreated success with "The Beauty Inside" Matt Fiorentino

Online video advertising is full of one-hit wonders. The campaign explodes, people share it with everyone they know, and after a few weeks it fades away.

Brands with one-hit wonders benefit from massive visibility in a compressed timeframe. They generate great brand awareness and recall, driven by high levels of earned media and engagement. But, after this brief period of excitement, the brand goes relatively silent in online video.

This is less than ideal because audiences are constantly choosing to engage and interact with the brands that are creating the most compelling content. If you're not creating relevant content for your audiences, they're going to choose to watch one of your competitors.

What's the solution? Creating that first campaign that people will choose to watch and share is difficult. Recreating that success is an even larger challenge.

This is what makes Intel and Toshiba's latest success all the more impressive.

Last year, Intel and Toshiba teamed up for the world's first social film, "The Inside Experience." The film was an eight-part Hollywood-caliber thriller that put audiences at the center of the story by allowing them to interact with the main character via Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. "The Inside Experience" stars Hollywood heavyweight Emmy Rossum as a woman trapped in a room with a Toshiba laptop as her only source of communication with the outside world. Fans interacted with Rossum's character in real time and changed the story by voting and making suggestions.

"The Inside Experience" was a groundbreaking and runaway success: It generated over 6 million views in three weeks. With it, Intel and Toshiba were able to create something that audiences hadn't seen or experienced before. Light on branding and heavy on audience interaction and celebrity firepower, it blurred the lines between branded content and Hollywood filmmaking. For Intel and Toshiba, and the agency Pereira & O'Dell, the challenge then became how to repeat the success it had found with "The Inside Experience."

"The Beauty Inside" was their answer.

Create a unique experience

Launched in late July, "The Beauty Inside" took everything that worked for "The Inside Experience" and transferred that template to a softer, more romantic storyline. Directed by Sundance-winning director Drake Doremus and starring Topher Grace and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, "The Beauty Inside" follows the story of Alex, a young man living in Los Angeles who wakes up every day with a new physical appearance.

Like its predecessor, "The Beauty Inside" puts the audience experience first by creating a premise that automatically throws audiences into the center of the action -- because Alex's appearance is changes constantly, fans could audition for -- and get -- a real role in the film. This underlying social component provides audiences with a singular opportunity to engage and star alongside Hollywood big shots.

This opportunity changes the dynamics between producer and audience. When audiences become part of the production process, their relationship transforms from being a passive observer to an active participant, and, as an extension, they become an advocate for the campaign. So, not only does creating a campaign premise that encourages audiences to take part in the creation process develop a unique experience for them, it also creates built-in evangelists for the campaign, allowing audiences who were part of the film's production to proudly promote it across their networks.

Make your audience the star

One of Intel and Toshiba's goals with "The Beauty Inside" is to reach a younger, hipper audience -- a consumer base that goes on Facebook every day, watches viral videos, and thrives in social media. The campaign captured audience attention by reaching out to them across these social mediums and by making them the star of the campaign.

Relinquishing control over certain aspects of the campaign and messaging is scary for any marketer, so it took a certain amount of courage from Intel and Toshiba and shows a high level of trust in Pereira & O'Dell. The prize for giving up control was incredibly high engagement for the campaign.

Just after a month of "The Beauty Inside" going live, and with two episodes remaining in the series, the campaign has already collected more than 11 million views, many of them from a global audience, including high viewership from China. Additionally, "The Beauty Inside's" Facebook page has been liked more than 87,000 times, and its wall is full of pictures and videos of audiences from all over the world.

Put the story first

With a fascinating story replete with Hollywood actors, "The Beauty Inside" could have easily been a mini-series on a major TV network or the premise for a blockbuster film. Instead, it's an advertising campaign for Intel and Toshiba.

This isn't a knock. Quite the opposite. With "The Beauty Inside," Toshiba, Intel, and Pereira & O'Dell have elevated advertising to the point that it no longer feels like advertising. There are no jingles, flashy product placements, or customer testimonials. There are no lists of product features, specs, or facts. When it's used, the Toshiba Portégé Ultrabook is subtle and organic, naturally woven into the storyline. Ultimately, the story comes first.

With "The Beauty Inside," instead of creating an ad campaign that happened to be a film, Toshiba and Intel created a film that happened to also be an ad campaign. While the distinction between the two is subtle, it's important. This shift in perspective to put the story first can be the difference between an authentic experience for audiences and one that falls flat.

The Top 10 Chart: Quick look

Beyond Toshiba and Intel, August's Top 10 brands in video were watched more than 123 million times. Samsung dominated the competition, generating more than 25 million views from more than 80 active campaigns, with four campaigns launched in August alone. Google takes the runner-up spot for the second month in a row, and President Barack Obama sees a jump in viewership this month to grab fifth place. We also see Old Spice return to the chart, thanks to a new video campaign launched at the end of the month.

Powered by Visible Measures.

iMedia's Top 10 Brands in Video chart, powered by Visible Measures, focuses on aggregated brand view counts across related social video ad campaigns. Each brand and campaign is measured on a True Reach basis, which includes viewership of both brand-syndicated and audience-driven video clips. The data are compiled using the patented Visible Measures platform, a constantly growing repository of analytic data on close to 400 million videos tracked across more than 300 online video destinations.

Note: This analysis does not include Visible Measures' paid-placement (e.g., overlays; pre-, mid-, and post-roll) performance data or video views on private sites. This chart does not include movie trailers, video game campaigns, TV show, or media network promotions. View counts are incremental by month.

Learn more here.

Matt Fiorentino is the Director of Marketing for Visible Measures. Prior to joining Visible Measures, Matt was a freelance journalist for publications like the Associated Press, The Dayton Daily News, and The American Magazine. Matt has a...

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