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Lessons in Video from OK Go

OK Go has become more famous for their videos than their actual music. Which is part of the explanation of why the band and its music label EMI parted ways in 2010.

Fast forward to 2012 and the band continues to put out some of the most innovative clips, music videos and otherwise. The latest is for their song “Needing/Getting,” which was teased (above) in a Chevy Sonic commercial, part of the company’s “Let’s Do This” campaign, that aired during the Super Bowl.

Rather than rely on a music label to go the traditional route, the band has signed sponsorship deals with companies seeking to leverage the online following that the band has cultivated. TechDirt notes the band’s philosophy that once you have fans, the money will come. In this case, the sponsor was Chevy. The “This Too Shall Pass” video was sponsored by State Farm.

We’ll join TechDirt in stating that we’re not advocating for willy-nilly sponsorship all over the place. But as the site notes, “…things really open up when you realize that content itself is advertising. And that’s something that a lot of brands are recognizing by tying themselves to different content creators, and letting them do cool stuff around their brands.” Publicists of all stripes have been telling us for years that content is the most important part of PR. When there’s something worth watching, people will take note of all of the cool things associated with that clip, which is great PR for everyone involved. Good content generates buzz.

Note the word “good” in that sentence. Too often, we see videos of someone — an executive, a spokesperson, etc — in some random place saying the same stuff that’s in a press release about the thing that this boring person is talking about. Why would anyone watch this video? That’s the question one should ask before they hit record.

Taking the “be creative” idea a step further, we’re going to push for the “passion project”/”the flashy stunt.” Not everything can take the months that OK Go spent on this video. But every once in a while, it’s worth it dig in with a client that you have a good relationship with to create something massive like this. It shows personality and speaks to how much you value your fans. You’re not just trying to sell them something, but build a loyal following by doing something cool just because.

The full “Needing/Getting” video below.

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