Nice job if you can get it – Matt Harding and Cybercom!
After leaving his job in Australia to travel, a friend of his suggested he record a dance he used to do at peoples desk to get the to go for lunch with him. The idea being that he dance in front of famous and not famous landmarks in different parts of the word and then merge it into one video collage with a great backing track. His efforts caught the attention of Stride, a US chewing gum and they paid for him to do the same all over again. Since then it has grown in popularlity (over 25 million views) and he has undertaken more commercial sponsorship (ie where he had little control over the content and left it to a large film crew – big change from hand held video recorder).
One has to wonder how much more there is in an iniative like this but the real value lies underneat. Social media and web platfoms offer the opportunity to have huge peaks over a short period. Matt is now extending the dance theme with choreographed dances where he teaches different nationalities to do the traditional dance of another country – i.e. teaching the chinese to do Irish dancing.
Some interesting observations on this whole initiative where the is probably more interesting lessons and value:
- A great and simple idea (with a lot of work) can attract global attention.
- Engagement and featuring of people is key – Matt by himself because tedious after a while.
- Hands off sponsorship can benefit both sides – video product appears untarnished/uncompromised and Stride get copious mentions and kudos.
- One of the real benefits is the 10,000 email addresses and contacts that Matt now has. The majority of these are very willing participants in future projects.
- Ability to leverage a global audience to do something bigger and more dramatic.
- People everywhere in the world are happy to partake in online experiments (for a few seconds of fame).
Matts experience, although probably one in a million, does show that you can make a livilihood out of social media but that route will probably only become clear after you do something special rather than a planned programmes. Lots of interesting crossovers with the Chris Anderson book Free – the content is free but some brand pay for its development.
I will be interested to see how the next set of videos go and if the more professional edge lessens or increases it popularity.