Low Cost, Widespread Access to Production Technology Has Changed the Home Movie Landscape Forever

Okay, not exactly. While it’s true that anyone with a smartphone can capture moving images in HD and then edit them on their Mac, Daniel Hashimoto isn’t exactly anyone.  He’s an animator with DreamWorks who specializes in After Effects. And damn, his home movies of his son are awesome…


Hopping from couch to ottoman to avoid hot lava? Every kid’s done that before…but never has it looked like this. Check out Action Movie Kid’s YouTube channel here.

It’s surprising and delightful. And thus, highly shareworthy.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Jean Claude Van DAMN–That’s Shareworthy!

I heart everything about this: the casting, the totally counter-intuitive music choice, the direct relationship between the action and the product benefit. And at nearly eight million views after a mere two days on YouTube, a lot of other people do too. I have scoured the net and not found a single plausible argument that this is a fake…


I hope it’s not. I want to believe in a world where action stars can continue to amaze us, even at fifty-three year old.

Happy Friday.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Pent Up Rage Is Amazingly Shareworthy

No one feels sorry for JP Morgan Chase. Nor should they. They are all after all, the country’s biggest bank as measured by assets. But as Reuters reported yesterday, that brand’s most recent foray into social media was an unmitigated disaster. Want to see what pure outrage looks like? Type #askJPM into your Twitter feed. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

Dennis Ryan, Olson, AdvertisingYou have to go down pretty far into the feed to find the original postings because in the intense echochamber that is the Twittersphere, dozens of people have been retweeting the story with unalloyed glee. But it’s worth the effort. Because there you will read some of the most bitter and brutal sarcasm ever leveled at a brand. On their turf. At their invitation.

JP Morgan’s mistake couldn’t seem more obvious in hindsight. Sure, within the investment banking community, they have been lauded and celebrated for the way they’ve driven value. But out among the unwashed, where the cost of those bankers’ bonuses are reflected in foreclosures and the impact of government fines looks laughable, the opinion is far different.

This episode perfectly illustrates the power of the biggest driver of shareworthy content: a strong POV. The more opinionated your content is, the more like-minded people will share it. When brand opinion is shaped and fueled by real world outrage, encouraging people to share their thoughts is tantamount to self immolation.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Agendas are Shareworthy…and Movement Building

A sure way to make any video clip more shareworthy is to give it a very strong POV. Given the internet’s incredible reach and the power of a truly connected global population, people will forward and share powerful messages to only the most receptive audiences.

Leftwingers… Rightwingers… 911 Conspiracy Believers… Or,  less politically charged but equally self-selecting communities like “Working Mothers”, “Amateur Filmmakers” or “Rabid Vikings Fans” (no kidding, they exist)… All of these loosely affiliated groups manifest via social connections, sharing the content and ideas that speak to them. It’s Clay Shirky’s theory of “Organizing without Organizations.”

Enter Tim Piper. Tim is a filmmaker, and the director of Dove’s Cannes-winning “Evolution” viral video. He wants to make a feature documentary about the distorted visions created by the beauty industry. And to draw attention to his Kickstarter campaign, he created this video of his wife and filmmaking partner, Sally Gifford Piper, undergoing a radical transformation via Photoshop.

Tim really hates the distortion created by imagemakers, particularly advertisers. And when you watch his video, it’s easy to see how easy it is for us to manipulate and distort images in this digital world. Tim believes this leads to huge self esteem issues, eating disorders, even somehow, the evils of industrial food. And maybe he will be able to make his case with this film.

Of course first, this video is gonna have to help spur $150,000 in Kickstarter donations. We’ll see how that goes. It’s a big goal and he’s only got until December 7. But hey, he’s already earning a lot of attention.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Kindness Is Shareworthy…and Brand Building

Perhaps you saw this clip floating around Facebook or Twitter last week. I don’t know Jim Wolf’s story, or what led him from the US Army to homelessness and ultimately, to the doorstep of Dégagé Ministries. But I do know that his expression at 2:09 is one you wish for every veteran–it’s the very essence of everything it means to be part of a close, effective, caring team.


And make no mistake; it may be feel good but this shareworthy clip is designed to help build a brand. Dégagé Ministries operates their nonprofit out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, providing aid and shelter to people dealing with poverty, abuse, addiction, and unemployment. Their forward thinking mindset is evident in everything from the creation of this powerful viral video to the way they address panhandling. Hopefully the success of this piece will help advance the mission of their organization.

It worked on me. I sent them a hundred bucks. It seemed only fitting for Veteran’s Day. Good luck Jim. And god love you Dégagé Ministries.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson


FBomb: The Fundamentals for Shareworthy-ness Apply to Infographics Too

Want to make your video clip more viral? The basics of shareworthy-ness are simple.

  1. Give it a strong POV that lines up with a well-defined group or community’s values.
  2. Give it a strong element of surprise (as a corollary–if it involves a celebrity, make their appearance or actions the surprise).
  3. Make it super simple to forward on mobile.

Those principles don’t just apply to video. They apply to everything from photos to essays to games…and yes, infographics too.  Last August, MediaBistro’s AllTwitter blog reported that infographics shared on Twitter get 832% more retweets than articles or images. That’s rather staggering. (find their wonderfully easy-to-digest column here).

Dennis Ryan, Olson, Advertising

But to be shareworthy, your  infographic  still must be remarkable on its own. Which brings us to FBomb

The idea behind FBomb is simple: at this very moment, who exactly is dropping that expletive via Twitter? And where are they?

FBomb is realtime, it’s interactive, and it’s a fun little divergence courtesy of Canadian student and developer Martin Gingras. It’s a hill of fun that’s not meant to be posited as social commentary, yet a stunning amount of wet blanket comments in response to Martin’s creation all seem to take issue with his science. “This is only Twitter users, not the general population.” “It’s an English word so of course the US and UK seem disproportionately sweary.”

It’s not science, it’s a lark. And a hilariously entertaining, highly shareworthy one at that.  Happy Friday!

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Start Your Monday With Your Heart In Your Throat

Look, it’s no surprise to anyone that GoPro absolutely kills it when it comes to Shareworthy Content. Their cameras are perfect for first person experiences of epic experiences. Like this bike ride…


Seriously?  Seriously?  I wouldn’t walk down that path and this guy goes down it hell for leather with a camera on his helmet. And not only does Kelly McGarry achieve a sort-of internet fame, GoPro is right there with him, bookending the experience. Yes, Red Bull sponsored it, but GoPro gets the lion’s share of credit. Because man, when he pulls that back flip, that could only be GoPro.

This, like so much of their online strategy, is brilliant marketing. And why Olson’s duties on this amazing brand remain mostly focused on PR; these GoPro guys have branding figured out all by themselves.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

What Makes People Share Videos? Well, Self-Interest Helps…

Social media and the omnipresence of the mobile web makes sharing videos and other content remarkably easy. With the click of a button or two, you can send something that you find worthwhile to all your friends and neighbors.

But what motivates people to share a particular video?

A point-of-view helps; people love sharing pieces that confirm their personal opinions.

Surprise works really well; and there’s nothing quite like sharing that experience with others.

And of course, there’s always self-interest. At it’s worst, self-interest comes off like a stream of tropical vacation Facebook posts during the brutal days of February.

I hope this doesn’t come off that way, but I’m sharing a video with you that doesn’t espouse a particularly point of view we might share…one that doesn’t surprise overly much…but one that shamelessly reflects my own self-interest. Because it’s not everyday you and your agency get featured in the Wall Street Journal. And it’s even rarer that they extend that into a short video on their online site.

Dennis Ryan, Olson, Advertising

The WSJ embed code isn’t working so please click here.

Olson Minneapolis does enjoy the nicest, best designed, most collaborative office space I’ve known in my career. It’s nice to see Gensler get a nice shout out for it. And man, I work with good looking people.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Continuing The Prank Advertising Theme…

Back in June, Leo Burnett London released this viral clip on behalf of UK THINK!, a government organization designed to encourage safer driving to reduce road injuries and fatalities…

Contrast this with yesterday’s Carrie viral and it’s pretty clear the whole genre of “prank advertising” is quickly evolving and maturing. In contrast to higher profile clips like the Jeff Gordon Pepsi MAX prank or the LG Meteor prank, this one never lets the prankees in on the joke and withholds its point from viewers until the end super. The net effect is that this piece feels like a longer form commercial instead of something new and shareworthy.

At 8.6 million views for a government message, it definitely qualifies as a success. But with the others climbing into the tens of million viewers (16.4 and climbing, 38.9, and 12.6 million views respectively), engaging viewers seems like a better approach to this still nascent advertising form.

No doubt, we’ll be seeing lots more of these pranks as brands try to jump in on this opportunity. Many of them will be incredibly clever and inventive, finding new ways to surprise, engage and encourage viral sharing. But I can’t help feeling that prank advertising is enjoying a bubble of popularity at this moment in time.

A bubble that will pop when someone gets hurt by one.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Thinkmodo Does It Again: A Brilliant Prank for “Carrie”

Surprise. It’s the hardest thing to truly create but it’s also the most devastatingly effective. And it’s become a massive asset for breakthrough marketing. Which explains why marketers build so many shareworthy clips around pranking–there’s nothing quite as fun to watch as peoples’ raw reactions to surprises.

The two man viral shop Thinkmodo leverages pranking again and again. From Bubba Watson’s hovercraft golf cart to a shaving helmet, they feed story after story to media outlets starved for content and conversation topics. And the one they just released to promote the upcoming Carrie remake is spectacular…

With nearly three million views in the first twenty four hours since its release, Thinkmodo has another bona fide hit on their hands. And traditional movie marketing evolves another step forward to better leverage a new, socially-powered world. Films thrive on buzz and word of mouth because opening weekend box office is so critical to their success. This makes short-lived, conversation sparking and shareworthy engagement particularly smart for promoting them.
By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson