Top 5 Non-Humor Forms of Entertaining Content: #3 Performances

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Are you reluctant to entertain your audience as a way to make you video content go viral? After all, suppose your attempts fall flat or fail to engage your audiences in a professional way.

Follow these 4 tested techniques for applying “performances” to your YouTube videos, and you will be well on your way towards engaging your audience. In fact, our study of the top viral videos demonstrated that the use of performances is the 10th most effective technique used by advertisers to boost their viral YouTube video statistics.

4 Ways to Boost Viral Video Stats with Performances

One way to capture your audience is to entertain them with music, choreography, drama and stories. Many television commercials re-casted on YouTube went viral when the brand message was integrated into a mini- theatre performance, a fascinating life narratives or a memorable song.

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Examples of Performance Oriented Entertainment

Among the types of performances that perform best on YouTube are the following:

  1. Musical and Performing Arts
  2. Slice-of-life Narratives
  3. Plotted Storylines and Timelines
  4. Transformation Entertainment
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Devices Used in Performance Oriented Entertainment

Musicals and Performing Arts

Several high performing YouTube videos feature mini theatrical performances.  Much like the role of movie trailers, these short clip entertainers set the stage for mood setting and fantasizing. Especially when backed by a legendary song, the brand message could stick in our heads as we sing along and reminisce over our favorite nostalgic moments. 

Some of the more popular methods include short drama clips where well known celebrities are cast into leading roles of mini episodes. Similarly, Broadway style choreographies work well to captivate audiences through contemporary beats and synchronized dancing. 

Common to the higher performing clips of this type is a performance that drives audiences to the end of the script. This can be especially effective when the cast of characters and story-lines match up well with the intended brand message.

Slice-of-Life Narratives

Another long-standing techniques used in entertaining videos involves “slice-of-life” narratives. Audiences are often enamored with the subtle imagery portrayed in the life of someone that could be them.

The plotless storylines are not intended to culminate in a story ending. Instead, the narrative is intended to impart profound messages that make us pause and reflect on our lives as we progress from one scene to the next. Some sponsors have gone as far as portraying what dogs and cats may feel in their lives.

The typical slice-of-life narrative consists of a soft musical journey where snap shots of a real person’s life are narrated with words of wisdom.  Those slice-of-life narratives that reach viral performance levels typically involve messages of hope for our youth or for certain cultures.

These messages are often poetic in nature and described from the eyes of an admired icon.  Michael Jordan did this very effectively in his “Look into My Eyes” commercials for Nike.

Slice-of-life narratives are effective in pulling audiences to the end of a clip. i.e., As the concatenation of events unfolds, audiences are often intrigued by the scene transformations.  Moreover, the life messages depicted in the narrative can enhance a brand image among those connecting with the words of wisdom. Finally, this technique is perhaps the least expensive approach to creating performance oriented entertainment.   

Plotted Story-lines and Timelines

Alternatively, stories with plots or timelines can also captivate an audience while holding their interest to the end. Short cartoons and fairy tales often accomplish this by providing a mini episode. Timelines in the form of countdowns, evolving developments or historical achievements can also stimulate audience curiosity as they progress through the chronology.

Another technique used for captivated story-line attention involves a concatenation of events often leading to big performance or vision of the future. Similar to plotted stories and timelines, this technique works well to stimulate audience curiosity as they advance from one stage to another.

Transformation Entertainment

Besides story-lines and theatrical performances, another effective performance uses rapidly moving scene transformations. Dove and Adobe capitalized on this with their real-time makeovers. In less than two minutes, audiences witness an entire facial transformation.

Others like Chevy and Nike attempt to fascinate us with metamorphic transformations of their products. This can be done across product styles or across the design stages of a product.  The technique works especially well when the transformations involve animations created from real objects.

Finally, transformation entertainment often involves scene transitions such as that experienced in alter ego exploits. T-Mobile reached viral performance levels on a YouTube video featuring a lifeless women who let loose of her wild nature.

Study Background

A total of 3351 high performing videos (> 50K views) were examined in this ranking of top YouTube videos. These viral videos included re-casted television commercials that were posted on YouTube as a social media video back channel. Statistics were then recorded on the number of likes, dislikes, comments and views, where an exploratory study was subsequently published with the Academy of Marketing Science and 2013 Cross-Cultural Research Conference.

From the final list of most viewed YouTube videos, about 18% involved some type of performances. This form of viral video engagement ranked number six, ten and eleven in average views, comments as % of views, and net likes as % of views, respectively.

So what do you think? Is this an effective way to go? Have you ever resorted to using performance as an entertaining content marketing theme? 

Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.


25 thoughts on “Top 5 Non-Humor Forms of Entertaining Content: #3 Performances

  1. I think it is an effective way to advertise, it is fun and unique. I think the goal is to make the lyrics simple, so your target market finds themselves humming the song in their head. If I worked in advertising I would use it as a technique, I cannot sing or play any instruments, so I have never done it personally, but I would recommend someone who can to use it as a tool.

  2. There are many of these Slice of LIfe commercials that go viral on social media, because they pull at the heartstrings as they portray profound messages. An example is from a Thai insurance company:
    In this commercial it is a Slice of LIfe into a guy who does good things without expecting anything out of it throughout his day to day life. It is a profound message as the end of the commercial asks us to think about what we want out of our own lives.

  3. I think utilizing performances is a great way to reach consumer’s emotions, especially the different slices of life narratives. These are touching and leave a lasting impression on the viewer. I also like to musical performances and cartoons, no matter how old I get. These never get old and can be used for children and adults of all ages. This type of marketing strategy is ideal for television networks that are made specifically for children, such as Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel.

  4. I think using performance as a marketing theme is a great way to target an audience and capture their attention. It’s like providing a theatrical performance where if you plan it right, you will capture the attention of the audience from start to finish. If one is clever enough to create a great storyline or theatrical performance to do just that, you will more than likely sway at least one person to try your brand based solely on that performance, leading to others doing the same. This is not a marketing ploy that I have ever tried but it seems like a fun way to capture an audience and to wear your director’s hat as well; I really like this one.

  5. Using “performances” to engage audiences is a very effective way of marketing. Commercials are constantly reinventing the wheel, coming up with newer and better ways of telling a story. Anything from a plot and story line to an amazing transformation, audiences are captivated with these types of commercials because of the interesting visuals and music. Companies use popular songs on the radio to tell their story hoping that it will help people remember their brand by associating with with their favorite song. These types of commercials leave lasting impressions, leaving audiences wondering what’s next. The way a brand tells their story using a commercial can keep people coming back or deter them away. Performances help tell the story in an appealing way.

  6. I, for one, am a big fan of musicals and the performing arts. Most of my favorite shows on television involve music- i.e Glee, Nashville, The Voice, Dancing with the Stars. That being said, I think that using performances is a very effective technique to use in engaging the audience. Most of the commercials that are memorable to me involve a popular music song. One of my favorite commercials is a Starbucks double shot commercial that follows a man named Glen and features survivor singing their iconic song “Eye of the Tiger”. This commercial is a few years old and to this day, I sing this song and it has even become an inside joke between my sister and I.

    Here’s the commercial. Enjoy!

  7. I think Musical Performances is a brilliant way to market. Viewers see these music artist, actors and celebrities associated with the brand and it immediately gives that brand high credentials especially if the viewer is a fan of that person.

  8. Compared to other content marketing themes, I do not think that this is an effective way to go. I was not attracted by this theme. There was only one category that stood out to me, “alter ego exploits”. Actually there was only one commercial in that category that appealed to me, which was the T-Mobile commercial.

  9. I totally agree with this blog that animated performance and musical do catch people’s attention. Indeed, when having an appearance of funny animated creatures, fruits, etc. people tend to watch the ad until the end, because it is uncommon to them to send dancing, singing and moving fruits or toys.
    I strongly agree with this blog post.

    Martin Tavernier,

  10. I found that musicals performance is very useful technique with ads. In fact, music captures people attention. I remembered the musicals performance T-Mobile did, that was great and the audience loved it. Using musical technique is a good way to go. I have never resorted using performance as an entertaining marketing theme. But for those who did, I appreciate their effort.

  11. Performances are good for marketing due to the use of music. Music has always been a good tool when you want to sway a consumer into buying a product. Commercials used for example in the Super Bowl always have musical performances which have brought great success. This is why I say performances in marketing is always a good approach.

  12. So what do you think? Is this an effective way to go? Have you ever resorted to using performance as an entertaining content marketing theme?

    I feel that captivating your audience by telling some sort of story is a great way to market. It is fairly simple as well because it can either be a true story or a made up story, either way it has some sort of plot that is giving a moral or lesson. Whether one can get the story to be interesting is another situation. It can only be effective if you have an intriguing story line for one to pay attention to. Life is a performance, so i feel like doing anything can result into a performance. I have done this before just by being myself, it creates a perfect story and performance.

  13. Performances in commercials are such an effective way of catching the audience’s attention. I know it pumps me up to see a commercial with a humorous or entertaining musical performance. A perfect example of this is the Kia Soul commercial featuring the hamsters. Everyone pins the hamsters to the Kia Soul, so obviously it does an effective job of marketing the car.

  14. This was one of my favorite categories. It was fun and entertaining to watch, and was light-hearted and inspirational at times. I think it is an effective marketing technique for those who enjoy musicals and dancing, as I do. This is a particular category for that reason, as some do not necessarily find theatrics and performances entertaining or attractive. I have personally never used this technique myself but have known people who have and it has worked well for them.

  15. I absolutely enjoy watching commercials that have a song or tell a dramatic story. Often the songs or jingles are very catchy, and you find yourself singing along with them and using those songs to associate products or services with it. This is demonstrated through many things such as free credit report, KitKat or even Empire. All of which have advertised through the use of musical theater, and which I believe to be very effective.

  16. This is definitely one of the best methods of marketing. People love to watch other people perform tot heir best ability in order to entertain and persuade others. I love this method and I can guarantee that you are going to start seeing more and more of it.

  17. This is probably my favorite type of marketing. Musical performances are extremely catchy and memorable. Its a type of advertising that keeps giving and proving worth is. Performances and dialogues, things we find entertaining are memorable. We will repeat them or catch ourselves singing them and give brands even more advertisement inadvertantly

  18. These commercials are probably the ones most often remembered and referenced in everyday conversation, as they have a certain jingle to them, making people remember the tune or sing it often to themselves or others. If you want to make a consumer remember your product, make a very catchy jingle. I feel like almost all commercials made in the 1950′s had these types of strategies in mind.

  19. Hello everyone!
    I found this week very amusing and creative. I thought this was an effective way to go as they capture attention, they make people laugh, and they are different. I love the musical and performing arts because there are different subtopics that can be covered such as the choreographed or mini dramas. I enjoyed those very much as well as i enjoyed the alter ego videos. I have not resorted to performances as a marketing strategy but I would use it because it is so unique. This week I posted a Sundrop commercial and I thought it was so catchy, fun and hilarious. Those are the types of commercials that make people interested, in my opinion.

  20. This type of marketing technique has been one of my favorites along with Motivational Inspiration. I truly believe that this type of marketing technique is a very effective way to go because it relates to all audiences. This marketing technique has a wide range of creativity bound to it; therefore it is an automatic attention grabber. The fact that this technique can engage a mixture of events such as, music, mini drama, choreography, story line, and transformation, there is no specific audience that these commercials are directed to. Moreover, a majority of the categories from this technique draw away from humor which humor can sometimes be “stupid” or “annoying” when someone watches it and does not laugh because they do not understand the humor in it. Over all, I would resort to this type of entertaining content marketing theme because it is creative, attractive, and unique.

  21. Engaging performances create some of the best fragrance commercials. When using Musical Performances or storytelling through fragrance commercials, you sell the idea of the fragrance. The idea can be that it will create a person’s desire or show the sophistication that you have.

  22. I agree with the previous posts. Choreographic dances are a great way to advertise a product. I personally like professional dancing because it is great to look at. However, I do not think that this puts the focus on the product so much. I rather pay attention to the dance itself than the product and most of the time I do not even remember what product it was for if you asked me 10 minutes later.

  23. I believe that musical interludes, musical performances, and mini dramas to ad something special and extra to commercials that I find attractive. I believe the Chanel mini drama commercial to be my favorite. It provided a quietness to commercials that they do not usually have. The artistry of the commercials draws viewers in, and are very well made. Music is something that connects people and therefore always viewers to be drawn in.

  24. I found that musicals and performing arts were a very useful technique with ads. Heineken does an excellent job of using this, and in turn the company makes very effective commercials. I think what makes the usage of music and synchronized dancing so effective is the way it grabs the viewers attention, and leaves a lasting image. I also believe that viweres appreciate the quality of the commercial. We are immediately drawn in by the catchy beat, and the artistry throughout keeps us interested.

  25. I found the best example of performances marketing through the Duracell commercial with Derrick Coleman (Seahawks football player). The commercial shows his journey through life when dealing with him being deaf and playing football. Duracell uses a chronological performance technique to connect with viewers. I think that this is a great way to market in videos!

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