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

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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.