Posted by Abe Sauer on April 28, 2011 11:00 AM
Of all of the creative capitalizations on the upcoming Royal Wedding, T-Mobile's viral campaign has to be both the most ambitious and bizarre.
Part of its "Life is for Sharing" campaign, this viral (viroyal?) hit pays homage to an earlier viral video smash: the now-iconic JK Wedding Entrance video, which has been viewed more than 65 million times.
T-Mobile's royal update is on its way to that stratosphere, having passed 13 million views in the two weeks since it was posted on YouTube, so it's certainly popular. But is it effective?
The ad's popularity stems from not just the YouTube spoof, but from the fact T-Mobile used such great lookalike actors. "Prince Harry" really looks like Prince Harry, and "Prince William" may be a bit short, but the facial resemblance is there. It all gives the spot a depth that without would have made it look amateurish.
OK! magazine, in the midst of a royal frenzy, posted a behind the scenes look at the video:
Newspapers like the The Daily Mail have noted the "phoney Royal Wedding."
But will the viral success translate to sales? Or does it need to?
A great deal of evidence suggests that the spectacularly successful Evian roller-babies virals didn't actually result in any sales benefits for Evian. Meanwhile, Isahiah Mustafa's Old Spice Man is credited with giving the brand a body wash sales boost (though long term results are still TBD).
Then again, T-Mobile could be happy with the positive vibes transferred to its brand.
While it's a small player in the US, where parent company Deutsche Telekom is in the midst of merging T-Mobile US with AT&T, the T-Mobile brand marketers have been very successful at seeding virals in the UK, primarily by creating buzz via mastering the flash mob.
Released two years ago, the T-Mobile Liverpool Street Station dancing flash mob video, also part of the brand's "life is for sharing" meme, has logged an impressing 27 million views. A similar Trafalgar Square one netted T-Mobile nearly 5 million.
Despite these viral successes in the UK, Deutsche Telekom recently announced a joint venture (or not-quite-merger) of T-Mobile UK with France Telecom after longtime speculation that it would need a partner after a devastating €1.8 billion write-down in Q1 2009.