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How to Start a Brand Romance

Comedian and marketer Kevin Nalty analyzes the success of the Cebu Pacific Airlines video gone viral.

It was a YouTube sleeper hit: A crummy video of Cebu Pacific Airlines flight attendants dancing through the safety procedure guidelines to a Lady Gaga song. It zoomed past 1 million views in a matter of days late last year--and rocketed brand awareness for the obscure Philippines airline.

But we have to admit, we were mystified. Why was this strange little clip so compelling and, more important, what can other businesses learn from it? We asked Kevin Nalty--YouTube comedian and marketer, and author of Beyond Viral--to break it down.

What it was Why it works
It's on a plane For some reason, anything that happens on a plane is more interesting. Think Snakes on a Plane. And Steven Slater.
Lady Gaga Hooks into the planet's biggest pop-culture phenom. Duh.
Feels sneaky There's rehearsal footage online now, but the video feels spontaneous and voyeuristic.
The weird factor A buttoned-up business--and what's more tense than air travel?--gets down. Kind of. Plus, Nalty adds, the thrill of watching "Asians letting loose."
No hard sell It's grainy, jumpy and doesn't feel like advertising.
We've all been there It's easy to imagine yourself in this situation. So always keep your target audience in mind.


 

Jennifer Wang is a staff writer at Entrepreneur magazine in Southern California.

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This article was originally published in the January 2011 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Brand Romance.

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