It's not easy to make a winning viral video. Whether you spend $1000 or $100,000, no one can guarantee that a YouTube creation is going to ‘make it’ in the online world.
However, in the process of launching a video ad, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you have a fighting chance: keep it short, make it funny, and don't tick off mommy bloggers. Unfortunately for Evenflo, they didn't get the memo.
The U.S.-based company, which makes baby products such as nursing pumps and car seats, is under fire for their latest video ad: ‘ How to Endure the In-law Feeding Frenzy.’ While the video seems to have been online for a few months, its many critics are just now spreading the word about their disappointment across Twitter and Facebook. As Montreal-based blogger @momzelle writes, “I am fully aware of the distasteful way absolutely every character is portrayed. It's insulting to everyone (especially me, the viewer!)”
The video features a nursing mom who is under pressure from her in-laws to let them feed the baby. The mother-in-law enters the room and says, “Breastfeeding again?” and wonders if anyone else gets the give the infant milk. For almost three minutes, the new mother sneaks around the house so she doesn't upset anyone, eventually running away to the bedroom with her husband so she can pump some milk to give her in-laws a feeding chance. When the couple re-enters the kitchen with "the liquid gold," the father-in-law grabs the bottle and unknowingly uses the breastmilk for his coffee. Sigh.
As a mother who nursed her son for almost two years, I'm constantly shocked to see breastfeeding depicted as an unnatural event. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those bloggers who attacks people who don't nurse (I recognize that sometimes it's not possible and I respect that it's a personal choice), but when a group such as the World Health Organization recommends that mothers nurse for at least six months exclusively, and up to two years or beyond if possible, I think we've answered the question about what is in fact good for our kids.
As a social media consultant and video producer, I'm surprised a big company like Evenflo would release something on the web so, well...lame. I could see this ad on TV, where viewers are often more forgiving, but the online audience is a different beast entirely. While I'm sure the company didn't want to insult nursing moms, they've portrayed the very act as something that should be done secretly, and with trepidation. And finally, the ad is way too long. Unless you're hiring the Old Spice Guy or William Shatner as your viral star, keep your online videos under two minutes.
What could Evenflo have done differently? They could have represented nursing moms in a much more positive light. Most mothers I know are strong and confident women -- definitely not the type of ladies who are going to snake around family members who can't bear the sight of a baby on a bare boob.
UPDATE: Evenflo appears to have taken down the offending video, originally posted below.