Narrative is Power Video Mashup Ad

The Awesomeness of Mashups in Advertising

Video ads have always been an effective marketing opportunity, especially for their narrative potential. Find any list of top 5 ads of the year and chances is that they had some narrative element that give you the feels if you don’t believe me just check out any southeast Asian ad that has gone viral; all could easily qualify for short film contests. But with good narratives comes fan-made remakes, subs remixes and mashups of the original creation. The correct term is cultural appropriation, not the copyright crime kind, but the artistic kind that made Andy Warhol so famous such as his Campbell soup can wall. Mashups have a narrative potential for any ad that will make your customers turn their head and say “hey I know that-”



Taking an original work and then mashing up the scenes to alter the original artistic intent is a popular form of creation for videos (check out this great genre recut for The Ring Trailer). To make one take a piece of popular culture, let’s say Simpsons combine it with the ingenuity of Google and you get one of the most innovative YouTube ad videos of all time.

If you haven’t seen the Simpsons episode Mr. Plow (it’s one of the episodes when the simpsons were still good) it’s about Homer’s latest career change, this time, a snow plow man. Google creatively recut scenes so Homer isn’t competing with Barney but Lisa promoting Mr. Plow on Google.

As a mashup pretty much expertly done, that you could have sworn they must have added new scenes to make it look that good, as well as a great little narrative of how Google would have altered Mr. Plow storyline into this weird amazingness. Gold Star Google.



One of the more popular videos on Youtube is to add subtitles to an original property but with unintended consequences. One of the most popular memes was from the movie “Downfall” a scene where Hitler breaks down like a spoiled manchild is subbed with Hitler ranting about trivial things such as Justin Bieber or Brazil losing the world cup.

A taco shop in Texas was recently vandalized and had their cash registers stolen. And it was caught on security cameras. The standard action would be to report it to police, sending over their surveillance tapes and had some luckless employee come in early to clean up the mess. Instead, they did awesomeness.

Adding a commentary utterly changed the nature of the surveillance cameras, promoting a message of a thievish love of tacos instead of old-fashioned robbery. This ad has been seen on, adweek and other prominent sites for its spot-on ingenuity. The restaurant was probably able to pay for for any damages and theft with the extra sales they made from extra customers looking for a taco fix.

Gaining copyright permission is important as well we can’t all have opportunities for original content or thievery land on our laps. Think like a fan, especially your fans, and remake a popular narrative into something new that they will enjoy and engage with.

Star Wars The Force Awakens the Power of User-Generated Content

With Star Wars The Force Awakens utterly shattering box office records, the $4 billion investment Disney paid to George Lucas seems to have paid off. Not that the hype for the 7th entry into lightsabers and the Millennium Falcon was a surprise, given the sheer amount of hype. The Disney Marketing team should pat themselves on the back for the massive campaign which involved teaming up with Google to heavily viewed trailers. However it wasn’t only Disney’s efforts that ensured only those living in bunkers, stocking up on gunpowder and baked beans, could not have gone one day without seeing an X-wing fighter. The movie was a success because by the lead-up to the film’s release, social media sites were clogged with Star Wars related articles and videos, creating user-generated content. 
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Narrative is Power - Cecil Hotel Feature Image

Narrative Cliffhangers: Why the Cecil Hotel Mystery is so popular

A death at the Cecil hotel two years ago ending with a body in the hotel’s water tank has elevated the deceased, Elisa Lam into an internet phenomenon becoming an inspiration for a TV series. The hype could be because of the Cecil Hotel’s already dark past which includes murders and two serial killers, or in the urban myth quality of how her decaying body mixed with the water supply. However Elisa Lam’s has become a macabre celebrity because her death is a mystery that hasn’t been solved.
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Why only Nostalgia could power the Star Wars Battlefront Ad

If you haven’t watched the new Star Wars: Battlefront ad by Playstation watch it. Even if you aren’t interested in playing the game, watch it. Here let me make it easy for you.

For an ad, it’s got a great narrative arc, a very focused message and most of all touches on the major source of Star Wars Fandom: Nostalgia. And while we may laugh on how thickly nostalgia has been used it works. Nostalgia the reason why the prequel trilogy and the now upcoming The Force Unleashed movie are killing pre-ticket sales. It’s a great example of the power of motivation that one would clearly understand leaping out a skyscraper onto an X-wing and why an ad’s success is dependent on choosing the right motivation.
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Defeats, Blue Jays, Narrative is Power

Why the Blue Jays needed to lose to be popular

Jose Bautista’s bat-flip like a tomahawk will be marked down as one of the many high points of the Blue Jay’s 2015 season. For a city and a team that has suffered a dearth of sports victories for over a decade, it was well-needed with #cometogether being Toronto’s rallying cry. However The Jays needed those defeats, those losses to make the emotional impact of their near storyific rise.
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Why Video Game Marketing is developing a Narrative

Videogame trailers are usually a predictable affair. The announcement trailer, the gameplay trailer, the story trailer, the multiplayer trailer etc. And they’re all aping movie trailers with cuts of gameplay and big flashy words. However, video game marketing are evolving beyond movie trailer and into something smarter. Below are why videogame marketing are becoming narratives in their own right.
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What “Nazi” can teach about picking Keywords

Recently treasure hunters claimed to have found an armoured train full of Nazi loot in Poland, which was lost since 1945. While exciting in itself, because it is a “NAZI” train full of loot, had it blow up social newsfeeds. Though this isn’t a surprise. as a keyword, “Nazi” is a great example of choosing keywords for any piece of content.
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How Fallout Shelter fails as a Videogame

Fallout Shelter has been recently released for Android, a freemium mobile that picked up $5.1 million on the first two week as an IOS app. It’s purpose is to be a cute marketing tool for Bethesda’s upcoming Fallout 4 (So excited :D), play a couple hours for its novelty but don’t get hooked onto it. As smarter people have pointed out, it’s a shallow game experience that will take time (and even money) and leave you nothing but a somewhat empty feeling. It didn’t have to be. It’s set in one of the most creative post-apocalyptic universes in video game history and could have been so much more. Here’s how.
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hitchbot feature image

Why Hitchbot needed Social Media to Exist

If you hadn’t been keeping up with your Facebook newsfeed, HitchBOT, a great social experiment on a hitchhiking robot was brutally beaten up in Philadelphia, ironically the City of Brotherly Love. A shame yes, but that he reached so far, travelling through Canada and through Europe with nary a scratch (except America)  says a lot about human nature and the power of social media to deliver a story.

HitchBot starting Journey

HitchBOT is the answer to the question: Is it possible for a robot, that can’t move, to hitchhike across Canada. The answer is yes and it took an existence in social media to make it happen.
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What Coca-Cola can Teach about Creating Characters

Coca-Cola’s recent ad went viral (13 million views on YouTube) and watching it it’s not hard to see why. As a social experiment about the strength of prejudices based on appearance, it was wonderfully done (especially with the rising islamophobia around the world). It isn’t until the end that the free-coke-for-everybody promotion comes out, and it becomes an ad. Normally just an ad would be disappointing, but it’s not. It’s a great ad because it’s still an awesome social experiment in itself and a characterization of Coca-Cola as a can.
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