Kosovo – the young Europeans campaign took an interesting turn yesterday by soliciting user-created videos for their planned second independence anniversary TV ads. Being the viral marketing guy, I finally began to get excited about all this. In fact, I had thought that the viral marketing and the web was the only way to go for a country such as Kosovo: it is cheap, it engages the audience, and the method goes along with the message.
But the excitement of that first Twitter message from the campaign yesterday faded out a bit when the instructions asked for the link to the video wishing happy second birthday to Kosovo from well wishers across the world to be sent to their email address. I see now that some of those videos are getting posted on their YouTube channel as they are filtered, and the campaign will likely get decent 60 second ads to broadcast on TV although they are missing the whole point of the web thing because they can’t let go of the control and allow the web part to become a goal in itself. For now we are competing with beautiful Croatia, timeless Macedonia, something or another Azerbaijan. If they took the web course, with little money and some creative brainstorming, which is plentiful in Prishtina, they would have created a wave of free marketing activity truly different from any of these. But as it stands now, the young Europeans’ YouTube page has less views than your average lolcat.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. The campaign has failed to deliver on the web in other ways as well. The website http://kosovo-young.com does not continue the story where it was left off in the TV ads, again does not say anything about Kosovo and uses Flash technology which is hard to navigate and won’t even register on search engines.
It should be said that the best marketing so far for the country was done by a couple of tons of steel cast into yellow letters spelling NEWBORN. It is doubtful the current campaign with millions of euros at its disposal can duplicate that.
Now to be fair, my American friend thought that the first bunch of ads were brilliant, which is odd considering that the Kosovars themselves were left wanting. In his eyes, those ads present a lot of young people screaming to be employed and do a fair representation of the reality.
Happy birthday Kosovo!