In an advertising saturated world, how do you stand out? Sometimes it means taking risks, thinking creatively and having some fun.
Robert Lee knows how to stand out. The owner operator of a liquidation center and mobile home reseller in Cullman, Alabama struck internet gold when his small company was chosen to create an online commercial on YouTube. Lee’s business, Cullman Liquidation Center, now has a reach and brand recognition that is the envy of big brands everywhere…and it’s all due to a clever YouTube clip.
There hundreds of thousands of articles, blog posts and Tweets all touting the “rules of viral marketing,” but to me it boils down to the same principles that make a hit movie or a blockbuster song or a Top 10 song:
- It’s simple
- It[‘s clever
- It’s new, but also familiar
- It’s authentic
Lee’s business is simple to understand: “I sell mobile homes.”
He then drives the point home by setting a simple expectation.
“I’m not gonna waste your time, I’m gonna tell it like it is. These are mobile homes. They’re not mansions. They come in two pieces. If that’s what you’re looking for, that’s what I got.”
Lee and the producers are clever about how they’re talking about the business though. They meet the preconceptions of the business head on in an honest, but humorous way.
“Some of them are stained. We cover that up.”
But this is a local business that’s owned, operated and staffed by people in the community. Local viewers are likely to know these people and so they’re featured but with dramatic music and sound effects. Lee himself gets into a bit of mythology by telling the viewer a bouncer hit once hit in the face with a crescent wrench and that his wife’s boyfriend broke his jaw with a fence post.
“So if you don’t buy a trailer from me it ain’t gonna hurt my feelings.”
And you believe him…
Authenticity doesn’t mean you have to be factual, it means you have to be truthful. The viewer has to believe that might have happened, not that it actually happened. If they do, then you have an authentic story to tell and that authenticity can translate to loyalty in marketing.
Finally, Lee and his crew had fun. He told the Cullman Times last year that he was initially hesitant to even make the commercial but eventually decided to play along.
“As hard as times are, I thought everyone needed a good laugh,” he said.
The results are 1,547,873 views (to date) since the commercial was posted in October of last year. That’s a lot more than a local ad buy will get you and the resulting discussions between fans is priceless. Bravo to Robert Lee for having the guts to do it. Of course, you’d expect no less from a guy like that.
*Originally posted on The New Ideas blog.