Imagine an industry-leading website that offers users free email, news, shopping resources, and a whole slew of other services. We can call it Wahoo because using the website is so much fun. Then one day, a new website emerges that does everything Wahoo does, but a little better. We can call that other website Moogle, because the best websites have silly names.
Over time, Moogle continues to grow and evolve, becoming a worldwide destination for everyone’s Internet-related needs. Meanwhile, Wahoo gradually loses relevance and market share. Eventually, Wahoo becomes so desperate for attention that it collaborates with a cereal company to make video editing for baby boomers, the least web-savvy demographic of all. If this story sounds sounds familiar, that’s because it was based on real life all along. And the videos? Oh, they’re real too.
The Second Act videos are simple, so simple a boomer can watch them. Assuming the boomer can even find the video production, since Yahoo hid them deep in the bowels of its news section. But in the event that someone accidentally stumbles upon them, this is what they’ll find.
What’s in it for Cheerios?
The video editing has everything it takes to be the Internet’s feel-good hit of the week: they are short, heart warming, even inspirational. Plus they have a very specific audience in mind: bored, restless, baby boomers. The type of people who are fragile enough to adopt a life-altering lifestyle, and old enough to have a life savings that would pay for it. Cheerios has very obvious motives for producing something like the Second Act video production. The cereal has long been marketed for the health conscious, offering extra years of life for the old, and a good foundation for the young. These videos, although unrelated to food, have good health and wellness in mind. Second Act features people who are creating positive lives for themselves, and eating Cheerios is an implied way to do that. But these are not commercials, and whether they sell products is almost irrelevant, since their goal is to convey the image of Cheerios as a positive, healthy brand. The more views these videos get, the more likely Cheerios is at achieving their brand goals.
What’s in it for Yahoo?
Does yesterday’s search giant have anything to gain from making video editing movies about 50-year-old weight lifters? And why is it collaborating with Cheerios?! The Internet has bigger concerns than heart health. Most importantly, what image do these videos convey about the Yahoo brand? Sure, they present a certain level of professional video making, but no one is going to watch a video about a 45 year old architect and decide to use Yahoo to search for wood planks.Or will they?!
If that’s Yahoo’s assumption, they are digging pretty deep and not saying much about themselves in the process. Rather then distinguishing themselves from competitors, Yahoo just wants to be that search engine which happens to be available at the time. It’s as if they’re saying, “all search engines are the same, so use ours because we don’t care that you’re old and type slow.” Not one of Yahoo’s better marketing campaigns.
What’s in it for baby boomers?
For a generation as forgotten as Altavista.com, it probably feels nice to get some attention, even if it is the boomers’ riches that Cheerios and Yahoo are after. Unlike Pamper’s latest marketing campaign, these videos don’t offer their audience any real value. Maybe the video production meant to provide viewers the encouragement to reinvent themselves, but two and and a half minutes is hardly enough time to convince someone to make a drastic life decision. If that’s how long it takes you to make a drastic life decision, perhaps you should step away from the Internet and reevaluate your decisions.
These videos show what real people have done to improve their lives, but Second Act doesn’t offer viewers a course of action or helpful resources. They’re nothing more than a couple minutes of shallow, corporate-sponsored niceness. It’s good when people, young or old, want to take on a positive change or pursue a life-goal, but Yahoo and Cheerios don’t seem to have the tools or incentive to help anyone do that. Second Act, although aesthetically pleasing, is ultimately a failed attempt and pathos-driven marketing.
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