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 collegehumor.com, 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.