Canon throws down viral video challenge

LAKE SUCCESS, NY: To promote its high-definition cameras, Canon has launched a viral video campaign that asks some popular Web personalities what their last video would be, if the Internet were to disappear.

LAKE SUCCESS, NY: To promote its high-definition cameras, Canon has launched a viral video campaign that asks some popular Web personalities what their last video would be, if the Internet were to disappear.

The campaign features Web phenomena personalities like "Lonelygirl 15" and "Obama Girl" competing in a video challenge using Canon's HG10 AVCHD to shoot videos viewers can vote on. The campaign, whose goal is to position Canon as a leader in the high-definition camera space, is part of a broader promotion the company plans to unveil next year.

"This campaign, in particular, is targeted at the video sharing community who are reliant on video capture devices and tools for their self-expression," said Chris Cesarini, marketing manager at Canon.

Though some believe the viral video community skews younger, its popularity has expanded the core demographic beyond the youth market, noted Cesarini.

"I think this is a forum for self-expression, regardless of the age," he added. "We didn't feel like we were leaving out the older end of the audience."

Leading up to the campaign's launch, Canon initiated a teaser campaign that included flash banner ads on video sharing sites, and a trailer on YouTube's homepage that directed people to the micro site. Other outreach surrounding the launch mostly included reaching out to trade press, and viral marketing.

"We want [consumers] to realize that we are in this to enhance the experience for them," he said. "Just because it's online video, doesn't mean the video quality has to be sacrificed."

To avoid a heavy-handed marketing message, the company aligned with online celebrities considered credible in the new media space.

"If it looked like Canon had bought these guys out, no one would watch it and it would backfire," added Bruno Corbo, creative director at Denstu, the company's ad agency that assisted with the campaign.

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