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Viral marketing & managing expectations

An example of the user experience.

An example of viral marketing.

Ken Block’s spirited gymkhana video finally made AdGabber today. For those of you not familiar with Subaru beyond taking your Labrador and 2.5 kids for an off-road picnic, the company has an amazing history of hooliganism thanks to the spirited Impreza line and the tunability of its turbo four and chuckability of AWD.The amazing performance in this video, brought to you by DC Shoes, Subaru, 0-60 Magazine and the masterminds at Crawford Performance, has been viewed over 14 million times since first posted back on November 11, 2008. Even with half of those views coming from Brad, those stats are still staggering, especially for a project that doesn’t reek of ROI-focused marketing.

But what is the key metric? Impressions? Brand retention? Image-shifting? This timely video was launched right after the launch of the recently softened (and subsequently spiced-up) new-bodied Impreza line, which was seen by the market as a total departure from what traditional buyers enjoyed most about the model.

But, while this video is directly responsible for at least one direct sale, viral marketing still seems out of the realm of a client who is narrowly focused on immediate, trackable ROI figures. Which is something of a shame, really, since the art form can accomplish so much more.

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