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The secret to driving success with a sequel campaign

The secret to driving success with a sequel campaign Mallory Russell

February was a huge month for sports. The month kicked off with America's favorite unofficial holiday, the Super Bowl, and was quickly followed by more than two weeks of Winter Olympic events.

By the sheer size of the television audiences that they draw -- 111.5 million for the Super Bowl and a primetime average of 21.4 million per night for the Olympics -- these events are big opportunities for brands. But in recent years, advertisers have also found a new place to make a splash during these events: online video. The February Brands in Video chart is filled with Super Bowl and Winter Olympic advertisers.

Budweiser, which ranked No.2 in January, takes the top spot in February with 35.9 million views being driven almost entirely by its Super Bowl ads. It's sibling brand, Bud Light, takes the runner-up spot driven by the performance of its big game ad "Up For Whatever," featuring stars like Don Cheadle and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Coca-Cola and Samsung, the next two brands on the list, were also Super Bowl advertisers, while P&G and Nike focused their efforts around the Winter Olympics.

It's not surprising that brands advertising around these events should have the most views during February. What stands out about this month, however, is that some of the biggest campaigns from these brands were all sequels to mega-viral hits from last year.

Budweiser's "Puppy Love," for example, is a sequel to the brand's Super Bowl commercial from the prior year, "Clydesdale." It drove 24.6 million views in February and now has more than 50 million views in total.

P&G released its third version of its "Proud Sponsor of Moms" campaign for the Winter Olympics. It drove 8.4 million views in February and more than 24 million views overall.

Melbourne Metro Trains' "Dumb Ways to Valentine" was a cute follow-up to its mega-hit "Dumb Ways to Die" -- one of the most viral campaigns of all time. It has generated 10.7 million views and helped to restart the view count on the original campaign.

In an innovative move, GoPro released a sequel to another brand's campaign. "Stratos" from GoPro is a follow-up to Red Bull's record-breaking stunt that presents the jump from a different point of view. It's generated nearly 15 million views overall.

And Pepsi MAX had two campaigns in February that play off the success of previous hits, contributing to its more than 16.9 million views. "Test Drive 2" finds Jeff Gordon pranking one of the automotive journalists who had questioned the authenticity of the original ad. And "Uncle Drew: Searching for the Big Man" sees Kyrie Irving step in to the role of Uncle Drew once again, in part three of the ongoing series.

It's not unusual for brands to try to capitalize on the success of previous campaigns, but it is difficult to do well. Not every sequel turns out to be as successful as the original. So what makes for a successful sequel?

Mallory Russell is the Director of Content for Visible Measures. Prior to joining Visible Measures, Mallory wrote for Advertising Age and Business Insider. She also spent a few years in the San Francisco ad business at DraftFCB and Goodby,...

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