Franchise Storytellers

Storylines: Lessons Learned From a Viral Video Dilemma

What would you do? Suddenly, out of the cloud, a corporate video produced for your brand almost a quarter century ago starts going viral. Crazy viral.  Here’s the problem: the video shows your brand as it was then, not as it is now. In fact, it reinforces age-old perceptions that you have spent years trying to change. What do you do? Ignore it? Fight it? Something else?

Our client Sizzler earlier this year was faced with that very situation. A 1991 video filmed to sell franchises dominated the Internet and social media for a week, even being broadcast on ABC’s Good Morning America.

Given the video’s viral explosion, Sizzler quickly decided to embrace it, even though it showed the brand in an outdated light. Over the next three days, we worked with Sizzler’s marketing team and its advertising agency to develop and implement an integrated strategy to take advantage of the opportunity. At a recent American Marketing Association Los Angeles chapter meeting, Justin Phu from Sizzler’s marketing team and Brad Ritter took members on a sentimental journey that looked at how Sizzler managed the challenge. The presentation looked at the reasoning behind the decision, how mainstream and social media were managed, the promotional tactics used to maximize the opportunity and lessons learned.

Watch the now famous 1991 video here, then view Justin and Brad’s presentation here.