At first glance, #XMASJAMMIES appears to be a video version of one family’s annual newsletter. We open on a typical suburban home as the instrumental version of Will Smith’s song Miami becomes the accompaniment for the Holderness family’s year in review.
It so happens that the Holderness clan is an attractive bunch, and they’ve got the clever thing going on big time. Kim, Penn, Lola and Penn Jr. rock some tight holiday knits, rapping and dancing through the mean streets of Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.
We discover that mom is a professional actress who had a role opposite Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 3, and at that point, it starts to dawn on the viewer that this is not just an amateur home video.
And then the big reveal: dad is an anchor on local affiliate WNCN who’s leaving his job, and the husband and wife team are opening a video production house. “We’ll be making videos just like these for politicians and companies,” they rap. Oh.
This is not a video christmas card. It’s an ad for GreenRoom, which sports the tagline, “We are Story Makers.”
#XMASJAMMIES went live on December 11th, 2013, and as of this writing is seriously viral. It has over 11 million views in a matter of days. This could be the most effective bit of content marketing on the planet. This is NOT a home video. It’s meticulously executed and highly calculated.
The video has received national news coverage and countless social media shares. What makes it so very successful?
The Holderness family is attractive.
Like it or not, audiences prefer good looks. Visual appeal goes a very long way in capturing and holding viewer attention. The kids are nothing short of totally adorable, mom is hot, and dad’s rugged good looks balance the fact that they are cavorting about and looking pretty silly in matching red and green knitwear. We forgive their goofiness, but then, their antics serve as a balance to their physical appeal, and make them more real. They could be stuck up and unapproachable and inspire jealousy and resentment, but because they are not afraid to make fools of themselves, we love them.
The video is entertaining.
Despite being entirely self-referential, the three minute piece is all kinds of fun. Both mom and dad drop penis jokes. The kids are darling. The editing keeps a fast pace. Without these elements, viewers might have dropped out before the advertising part began. But we stick with them to see what they will do next. And what they do next is sell us. Actually, we don’t realize it, but they are selling us from the instant we hit play.
The production values are professional quality.
Because the setting is so familiar, we are taken off guard. It’s just a suburban family in the driveway, right? Upon closer inspection, the edits happen every two to three seconds. The soundtrack is laid down in a sophisticated studio, not miked on location. We barely notice when footage from Penn Jr.’s school, a driving scene shot in the family car, and a moment in a hipster bar are all intercut with scenes of domestic bliss.
As an audience, we are not dismayed by the hard sell at the end of the video. Indeed, we admire the Holderness family’s gumption. The takeaway for your content strategy? It’s ok to sell, overtly and shamelessly. But if you want to get and keep visitor attention, be appealing, entertaining, and professional. And if you have a tight bod, tight jammies and adorable kids, flaunt it. Merry Christmas!