Viral Spiral: ‘Beware of the Doghouse’

JC Penney first launched the World Retail Award-winning
“Beware of the Doghouse” campaign – created by Saatchi & Saatchi – in
November 2008. Throughout the 2008 holiday season, the campaign logged more
than 7 million visitors to www.BewareoftheDoghouse.com and more than 14 million
total video views. A sequel to the 2008 success was released in 2009, but
wasn’t nearly as successful as the original.

On YouTube, this video has been uploaded under several names
with a varying number of unique views. But based on the number of comments
posted and the estimated aggregate postings, this video continues to be hugely
popular for both men and women with thousands and thousands of unique views. See
what video industry video marketing guru Nick Failla says about JC Penny’s online video:

2008 original:

the 2009 sequel “Return
to the Doghouse”:   

“As creative retailers who would like to create the next big
viral video what can be learned from the “Beware of the Doghouse” and “Return
to the Doghouse” videos?  

“Comedy is king! Especially universal humor that runs a
familiar theme. This type of humor can be a powerful tool to employ
if you want to create a viral video. When you examine the most viral YouTube
videos, excluding those that are music videos or movie trailers, you will find
that for the most part they fall into two categories, humorous or shocking,
with humor leading the pack.

“The choice of theme for the ‘Doghouse’ videos is brilliant
because it sets up the eventual call to action that advises the viewer to buy a
piece of jewelry. Fine jewelry is purchased to communicate important messages
that often include one of the following:

  • ‘I
    love you
  •  ‘I’m
    proud of you’
  • ‘I’m
    proud of me’
  • ‘Thank
    You’

“And of course, ‘I’m sorry.’ All of these sentiments are
fertile material for creating a funny video that people will relate to and can
end in a call to action to purchase jewelry.

“Saatchi & Saatchi, the creators of the ‘Doghouse’
series, never lost sight that ultimately these videos were intended to generate
sales. This is demonstrated by the creation of BewareoftheDoghouse.com. Once
the customer’s attention has been captured by these videos they are then
directed to the fun and interactive website. There they can receive guidance
that will help them buy the appropriate piece of jewelry for their gift giving
occasion and avoid making the same mistake as the poor schlubs in the videos.

“It is important to note that this campaign was more than
just a video. The video pieces were supported by the website and a dedicated
Facebook page. If you create a video that you hope will become viral, consider
launching your campaign with the support of a combination of several
advertising vehicles that might include Facebook, Twitter, print, television,
or radio. The greater the exposure your video receives the greater the
chances it will become the next viral smash!”

Nick Failla