The New Stuff

Branded Content: How OK Go Rakes In Money By Promoting Brands


Have you seen OK Go’s latest video [One Moment] that’s shot in 4.2 seconds and put in slow motion? It’s such a visual delight and have been viewed millions of times since it was posted. You might wonder, how does OK Go do it? While the actual video production is complicated, the money isn’t. For this particular video, OK Go partnered with Morton Salt, an American company producing salt for food, water conditioning, industrial, agricultural, and road/highway use. The end of this video features a yellow umbrella and the Morton Salt girl, and lots and lots of bright paint and exploding guitars. So that’s how the can afford all those paints and guitars, huh? And more, certainly much, much more to the point that the band even said it’s the better choice than touring.

Morton says OK Go’s message jibes well with their new campaign. The lyrics of the music is  a perfect “call to action” to start making a positive impact to the world.

But this isn’t the first time OK Go did branded content. They’ve been doing it since 2010.

“This Too Shall Pass” was a partnership with State Farm Insurance at a point when the company was looking to tap into a younger audience by creating a piece of interesting digital content. The video quickly went viral, with 1.4 million YouTube views in the first 48 hours and now has over 50 million views. The band’s video for Needing/Getting, released February 5, 2012 in partnership with Chevrolet, debuted during Super Bowl XLVI and has over 32 million views on YouTube. “Upside Down & Inside Out” was a collaboration with S7 Airlines.

What lessons can we get from this?

1. Musicians should never ever underestimate the power of music videos.

2. Good music is not the only selling point.
3. Invest and follow through. After their initial success, the band decided to compete with themselves and come up with a much better video. When you put two successes side by side, it has much greater impact.
4.”Sell-out” can still be cool. There I said it. In the case of OK Go, they never compromised their creativity and authenticity just to get big bucks.

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