SBJ/October 2 - 8, 2006/This Weeks News

Flyers’ buzzworthy viral video will morph into TV ad

The Philadelphia Flyers became one of the first NHL teams to launch a viral-video campaign two weeks ago, and the 30-second highlight reel featuring team fights generated so much buzz that the organization plans to move it to TV.

The move marks a rare reversal in the world of viral-video marketing, which relies on a short video’s popularity to inspire consumers to share it through e-mail, Web logs or Web sites such as YouTube.

For most brands, viral videos begin as TV spots that are later posted on a video-sharing Web site.

The Flyers experienced so much buzz around their video, however, that the team will move it from the Internet to TV with local advertising buys on NBC and CBS affiliates, as well as Comcast SportsNet and Comcast cable, said Shawn Tilger, the Flyers’ vice president of marketing and communications.

A Web site address at the end of the spot offers team and ticket information.

The video is part of the team’s promotion of its 40th anniversary, an effort that also includes a commemorative DVD and a promotion in which more than 10 million Pepsi cans featuring the 10 most popular players in Flyers history, as identified via fan polling, will be distributed in the Philadelphia market.

The team’s creative department designed the video of the best fight footage from different eras and released it internally on Sept. 20, asking that employees send it to friends. Within days it spread to fans in and outside the city.

“The big thing with the viral spots is to make them interesting enough so that they’ll forward it on,” Flyers marketing manager Lindsey Domers said, “not just watch it and let it die.”

The success of the viral-video campaign has inspired team marketers to create other videos as part of the 40th-anniversary effort. Subsequent videos will highlight the team’s greatest coaches, saves, players and fans. The team also will turn its primary 40th-anniversary advertisement, which was designed for TV, into a viral campaign.

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