A history of YouTube video marketing.

Whether we’re consciously aware of it or not video marketing has become a part of our everyday lives, whether we’re creators, brands or consumers, in fact the roots of video marketing stretch way back, further than we realise. Since the early days of internet advertisers have searched for a format to equal the effectiveness and reach of the ads that we watch during commercial breaks on television.

Although video marketing has a long and rich history its two videos; “The Spirit Of Christmas” made by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone in the early to mid 90’s that are often credited with paving the way for today’s industry – the first of which was passed around colleagues at LucasArts having been cleaned up by an animator, and the second being commissioned by Fox executive Brian Graden as a video Christmas card having seen the first video. The two features became the precursors to the hit series.



Video has come along way since it first made the leap from tape to pixels with these first muffled, low resolution attempts, but it wasn’t for another decade until YouTube put the marketing into ‘video marketing’ and brands, promoters, marketeers and technology giants raced to be the first to harness the value that video continues to provide.

With the launch of YouTube came the era of the viral video!

The earliest forms of video marketing were in fact the overlay and display adverts positioned alongside popular YouTube videos – This revenue stream allowed creators who were previously making content for free to potentially make a living.

In the early days of YouTube few brands and businesses were making good use of video in a meaningful way, one trailblazer at the time however was Tom Dickson, Founder of Blendtec.

Dickson created what’s considered to be one of the first and best viral marketing videos to promote their range of kitchen blenders. Each episode would see Dickson setup a scenario with all the enthusiasm as a high school science master, proclaiming “will it blend” as he stuffs a suitably unsuitable object into one of their ridiculously powerful $400 kitchen blenders.



It all sounds more like a comedy short than a piece of serious advertising, but over the following two years their ‘Will It Blend’ videos turned a brand with little mainstream recognition into one of the most recognised and talked about brands on the planet, attracting over 1.5 million views on Youtube and helping to increase sales of their Total Blenders by over 600%.

Despite there being little technical distinction between viral videos and the rest, businesses such as MacDonalds and Fiesta began finding innovative ways to make use of creators and ‘Youtubers’ to promote their brands.



As the digital revolution accelerated, driven by the new iPhone and the proliferation of broadband internet access video consumption became more and more in demand. As competition for audiences and views increased the collaborative efforts between creators and marketers worked for both parties, helping to shape yet another online industry.

The Old Spice “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” video uploaded in early 2010 saw yet another twist in the way video could add value when it spawned a multitude of parody and spoof versions. This not only helped to spread their original message entirely for free, but also demonstrated the value created when an engaged audience interacts with your video content.



Now that a relationship between makers and advertisers had been determined Multi Channel Networks or MCN’s began popping up to take advantage. In short MCN’s help creators/artists and brands to generate a revenue through multi platform distribution and management. They do this by affiliating themselves with multiple YouTube channels. MCN services involve assistance with programming, funding, promotion, partner management, digital rights and copyright management, monetisation, audience development and more.

MCN’s led the way in collaborative guerrilla ads, brands would pay a premium through MCN’s to run ads cleverly disguised as videos. These kind of videos have been used to promote many brands including airlines such as WestJet’s 2013 Christmas video through to new movies such as often priming audiences for what was to come.



As audiences find evermore different ways to use video, marketeers and advertisers find more innovative ways to promote the products and services they offer.

Although big budget viral videos have their place many brands have focussed more attention on ‘social video marketing’ campaigns that often compliment other social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. These kinds of campaigns focus more on core audiences and generate much more more meaningful discussions, not to far better indicators of their success through increased sales.



In recent years video has grown, matured and become mainstream, it’s reshaping the internet as we know it, and will continue to do so. For consumers it’s far easier to consume a three minute video off our smart phone than to read a couple of pages of text, if you’re still here?

By |2015-03-02T10:50:07+00:00November 24th, 2014|Animated Explainer Video Blog|0 Comments

Leave A Comment