Over 1 million views for a Cenovus Energy video in a few days. How?

What makes videos go viral online? It’s one of the biggest questions in marketing. Is there a magic formula? Here’s an even more challenging question: How do you produce a video about a breakthrough oil sands initiative go viral? You may be surprised.

First, an interesting stat from YouTube. Only a tiny % of videos online have more than 1 million views. A tiny percentage. So by that fact, the Cenovus Skystrat video is a major video marketing success. The Calgary based oil giant is pretty darn happy with being propelled into YouTube’s stratosphere.

According to Youtube’s Kevin Alloca, it takes 3 things to make a video go viral. Those 3 things are Tastemakers, Communities of Participation and Unexpectedness.
Tastemakers are influential individuals or groups that have a certain degree of clout in the social arena (like Jimmy Kimmel or David Letterman). Communities of Participation are groups of viewers who want to imitate and make spin off versions of the video. And finally, Unexpectedness. It’s exactly what it sounds like. If something is unexpected or surprising it will make it stand out from the 48 hours of video that get uploaded to YouTube every minute.
So what made the Skystrat video “take off”? Plain and simple, the video we produced was unexpected. You don’t expect to see a piece of content like that from a big oil company. It looks more like a big budget television commercial or prime-time television promo. And regardless of your perception of the oil sands, the video is very compelling.
And guess what? The video is achieving the desired results. The plan was to show innovation at Cenovus. To show how and why Cenovus is different. And the way the company chose to do that is with a web video (with great video production, storytelling and video marketing!)
The Skystrat video is just one of dozens we have produced for Cenovus, a company that is very proud of the work they do. And they move quickly and decisively. The “flying rig” concept went from white board drawing to a working prototype within 18 months. The video was conceived by the communications team and assigned to Kicker to produce (it was shot in 2 days and 1 night in Fort McMurray). Sounds fast, but so too is getting over 1 million views on YouTube in 10 days. Wow.


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