Have you seen the PSA (public service announcement) “Gerbils on a Train?” It’s a great example of getting your point across by telling a story. While not specifically content marketing, it is a terrific video that’s part of an overall content marketing strategy from the Ad Council and the Children’s Oral Health project.
Here’s the video. Turn the music up. The music and the tiny engineer cap on the gerbil makes me smile every time.
Content Marketing Example:
Gerbils on a Train PSA (Linked from YouTube/AdCouncil)
Why This is a Great Content Marketing Example
Content marketing should move consumers from awareness to interest, engagement, and education before their final purchasing decision. While kids aren’t buying anything in this campaign, and neither are their parents, the 2x2M campaign (the sponsors of this piece) are trying to get you to “buy” an idea. Buy in can be treated the same way as buying a product or service when it comes to marketing, and this video makes the case for how it can be done effectively.
The premise of the campaign is that in the span of two minutes, or about the time it takes to watch a silly video, children can brush their teeth, keep their teeth healthy, and prevent future tooth decay and tooth pain. This video is part of a series of PSAs and other advertisements featuring silly videos, video games, and other things children do for two minutes to make its point: two minutes flies by when kids do what they want. Two minutes isn’t a lot of time to spend while brushing your teeth!
Another bonus of the campaign is that parents can download the videos and play them on a tablet while kids brush their teeth. Children who can’t tell time yet can be taught to brush for as long as the video is playing, thus helping them learn the “two-minute rule” for proper oral health.
There are five factors that I think make this campaign a total winner, a great content marketing example and content marketing best practice:
- Appeal: The content (video in this example) appeals to both the target market (parents, who need to understand proper oral hygiene for their children) and the “buyer” (the child, who must “buy into” the idea or he won’t do it.) It’s a win on both levels.
- Creative Direction: It uses a simple, catchy piece of content that has everything going for it for both target audiences. Adorable gerbils riding around on toy trains? Check! Catchy music? Check! Hey, my husband and I found the video online and played it one night just for a laugh. Don’t judge. It’s a great example, however, or why it’s a good piece of content. We don’t have children and aren’t their target market yet even we loved it. How wonderful is that?
- Multi-Purpose Content: It functions as both a content marketing video and a useful give away. You can watch the video for the sheer lovableness of it or as a parent, download it as a timer for your kids to brush their teeth. It works on both levels.
- Integration: It’s part of an integrated awareness campaign that includes multiple content channels to reach the “decision makers” (kids) and “influencers” (parents).
- Engagement: It engages without talking down to the target audience or without preaching to the influencers. When creating content around a serious topic like oral health, the tendency can be to go overboard with seriousness. Yet people tune out serious messages or worse, make fun of them. Remember the egg in the frying pan and the “this is your brain on drugs” campaign? Serious topic, serious message, important message, but it became fodder (pun intended) for late night talk show hosts and Saturday Night Live skits. It takes a delicate balancing act to strike a humorous, gentle note while engaging your audience in a serious topic, and this video hits the bull’s-eye.
So that’s my take on the content marketing example, Gerbils on a Train. The video above is linked from YouTube, and you can follow the Ad Council link to learn more about the talent behind the campaign.
You can make your own marketing videos using Lumen5. Download the videos and use them in your content marketing or contact us for help.
Want to have your company’s content marketing featured as a case study? Contact me. And be sure to learn more about my content marketing and freelance writing services. Great content can help you engage customer interest, convert browsers into buyers, and build your brand online. Let’s talk about your content marketing!
Jeanne Grunert, president of Seven Oaks Consulting, is an award-winning direct and digital marketer with over 20 years of senior marketing leadership experience. She’s passionate about mentoring marketing managers and providing exceptional content marketing programs and services to Seven Oaks clients. Jeanne holds an M.S. (awarded with distinction) in Direct and Interactive Marketing from New York University and frequently lectures on content marketing, search engine optimization, and project management techniques.J