To Brand or Not To Brand, That is the Question

Two weeks ago I stumbled upon a video tweeted by a friend; the clip was visually stunning, brilliantly edited and instantly made me want to cash in my airline miles to follow in the director’s footsteps. I shared the video via email to my co-workers and via Facebook to my friends. Within an hour of hitting send, two friends had also shared the video and a colleague posted it to his Tumblr account. Roughly five thousand people had instant exposure to this content simply because I thought it was worth sharing.

As I kept my eye on the video it continued to be shared and viewed in multiples previously attained only by pop-stars and adorable cats. As a digital strategist I couldn’t help but investigate why and how a group of independent filmmakers could pull this off.

I started down the wormhole, did a few searches, and stumbled upon mentions of the directors on outlets like OK Magazine without a whisper of the brand that actually commissioned the content! I continued to investigate and suddenly noticed that the credits on the director, Rick Mereki’s, Vimeo account had been updated with funding details. As it turns out, STA Australia-the well known student travel site had commissioned Rick’s team to create the now “viral” clip.

So was this some strategic plan to unveil the content through the creators’ online platforms minus any branding? Additional searches surfaced the branded video inclusive of logos and some minor edits to the content, but at that time it only had a few thousand views while Rick’s Vimeo account was a beehive of activity. Was this intentional-or merely an oversight?

Are people more inclined to share non-branded content? Does the inclusion of a logo elicit pause from viewers or is it just odd luck that this particular non-branded video took off? Regardless, now that a few weeks have passed and the videos have received media coverage plus millions and millions of views, I would like to think that all parties involved are quite pleased-but it does raise a larger question-

Which would you share?

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.