Posted by Scott Meis
You may still be soaking in the full double rainbow reactions of HungryBear or more likely, doubling over sideways from one of the many remixes around our favorite tourist but you should also be sure to check out the latest viral craze – “Guy Walks Across America.”
2,770 still frames and a 14 day road trip later, the creators of this spot put together a catchy, creative masterpiece that has garnered over a million views since its posting on July 20. Being a photographer myself, the creation of a stop motion, time-lapse visual struck me as unique.
As ABC news reports, the project was shot on a “shoestring budget” but Levi’s did in fact sponsor the spot. According to the film’s producer, Blake Heal:
“We came up with this concept, and we didn’t have the money to do it,” said Heal. “We looked for a sponsor, and we thought Levi’s would be a good fit. So we pitched it to them, and they loved the idea.”
Think about that for a minute. A major, major brand was pitched on a low-budget project that has garnered huge Internet buzz within one week. An incredibly low investment/low risk opportunity for a brand and yet another telltale sign of the powerful possibilities that can surface by being open to new ideas and strategies in social media.
I also love that the team was smart and captured this “behind the scenes” spot to help provide context around the creation of the video. The inclusion of the Google Map pinpointing shoot locations is another nice add-on with tied in photo documentation.
In poking around, I was actually quite surprised to see that no effort was put forth by Levi’s or the filmmakers to create an official blog, Facebook page, Twitter account or YouTube channel. I’m also a bit surprised that Levi’s hasn’t capitalized on the building buzz around the spot. A wall post on their page merely states:
These filmmakers came to us with an idea a few months back. 2,000 miles, 14 days, and 1 pair of 501′s later they have this wonderful piece of artwork to share with the world. Blake, Sam, Peter, Michael, Benji, and Brian… Go Forth!
Given the low front end investment, Levi’s would be wise to brand out a custom tab on their page, embed the video and use Facebook ads to target specific demographics to drive Facebook users to the page. A triple win in my book as Levi’s could A) increase their fan base B) utilize the spot to offer some type of discount code for visiting or interacting with the custom tab C) give these filmmakers that provided you with killer content an extra boost.
My nonprofit mind also can’t help but wonder if a there was a missed opportunity to do more with the spot. It’s a wonderful artistic piece but it seems that there could have been endless potential for Levi’s to ramp this effort up with a strong cause marketing campaign. Why not partner with TOMS for a creative tie-in and partnership?
I think it’s time Levi’s ramp up for round 2…Guy Walks Across America…AGAIN. The attention level is certainly there:
In the meantime, if you’ve latched on to the walking theme and want a bit more insight about America outside of a two-minute spot, I’d recommend checking out this fantastic photo blog documenting a walking journey across the states…or more…http://imjustwalkin.com/.