Cultural Movements? It's just Puppy Love

Posted on 10th Apr 2012 by Scott Goodson in Case Studies

I’d like you to meet Fiona. You may not have heard of this little dog – yet - but once you’ve watched the following video I guarantee that you’ll be telling everyone the story of this heartwarming hound, passing it on via social networks, just as over a million people over the world have done this week alone.

Her story is incredible not only because of her transformation from pitiful pup to perfect pet, in just a few short days of her rescue and rehab video being posted on YouTube by Hope for Paws – despite the fact she was rescued a year ago - the whole world has gone Fiona crazy. She’s been featured on The Huffington Post, Perez Hilton, CNN, Right This Minute, People Magazine, MSN…the list goes on…and so does the hit count.

It’s a massive viral hit and crucially has helped raise awareness of Hope for Paws’ efforts, run by Audrey and Eldad Hagar, in rescuing stray and abandoned dogs off the streets of LA – it’s also served to highlight the plight of other animals in similar situations.

So why has this been so effective? Simple - it’s emotional. Capture our hearts and you’ll capture our attention, and keep it. In this sense Fiona’s story has managed to achieve a unique appeal – it makes us laugh and cry – first in sadness then joy. It’s unforgettable, and you sure as heck want to help out when you see this downtrodden doggy.

It’s why Cultural Movements only work well when a brand taps into shared beliefs and passions. There’s nothing that gets us off our backsides quicker than tapping into our emotions, we yearn for that real, ‘feel-good’ feeling that we’ve made a difference – we need to see it, we need to feel it.

Content pushed out on the web is generating massive awareness and brands, marketers and companies – and individuals – are accelerating their rise to dominance and doing it really cost effectively and really cheaply.

These brands are being built for a fraction of the cost of what companies like GE or Verizon pay. StrawberryFrog’s (full disclosure, my own agency) for Nani Kahli is another example which achieved this by giving people that instant gratification. By getting involved, you instantly see what you ‘bought’ and how you are helping.

Think about it. The films we talk about are the ones which are either controversial, funny or make us cry. It’s a given we’ll get involved if a brand says, ‘hey, we know how you feel - let’s make a difference together’ It’s why so many brands are now realising the power of Cultural Movements for the very way they tap directly into our emotions without any need for the hard-sell.

Case in point: Last week a hot new fashionable online shopping magazine was launched called ‘I Like What You’re Wearing’. They are building their brand and growing their business by creating a movement with curated content. Run by Founder Olivia Gossett, is an example of a new generation of tech innovators who are managing a business aligned to these principles.

Watch this space. It’s the future.

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