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HP FingerSkilz

[this post originally appeared on the PARTNERS+simons blog, and I received a nice email from Dave Birss, the Creative Director, at McCann Worldgroup in London who developed the campaign]

Today I received (another) forward from my Mom. She's retired, and wired, and is a big fan of the inspirational PowerPoints, funny jokes, and humorous videos that pass through most of our inboxes at some point or another. This one was actually quite enjoyable (thanks, Mom!), and turned out to be an interesting case for viral marketing.

Called FingerSkilz, it's a short video of a man's hand painted to look like a soccer player, performing various tricks with a "soccer ball" made from a wad of masking tape.The scene plays out on a desktop, with a PC in the background and a trippy electronic soundtrack. See for yourself:

The opening and closing screens reference www.fingerskilz.tv, so of course I checked it out. And lo and behold...this humorous clip is actually part of a global marketing campaign from Hewlett Packard, one that has successfully gone viral (as evidenced by my Mom's receipt of it, and subsequent forward to me). In fact, the campaign's been around since May, no doubt to coincide with the World Cup activities, and has been viewed over 24,000 times on YouTube and countless other times on other blogs and via email forwards (where have I been?).

Hp_personalThe companion site is authored by David B., the gent with the finger skills, and is heavily branded with HP's The Computer is Personal Again campaign. It links to a UK microsite that touts HP's ability to deliver personalized service, because hardly anything you own is more personal than your computer.

I applaud HP's effort for two reasons: (1) I think the campaign execution is elegant: the notion of putting the "personal" back into "personal computer" and developing a campaign around how individuals view their PCs is great (that concept alone begs for consumer-generated media); and (2) their use of the hand silhouette and the tie in of the FingerSkilz video ads an element of fun & hipness to a brand that may otherwise be considered dry or stodgy. They've leveraged the latest techniques (video, blogging) to successfully spread the word. They've solicited ongoing relationships with their viewers by including RSS feeds and email opt-ins throughout. And of course they've inlcuded the ubiquitous "send to a friend" functionality to help it go viral.

I was curious to see how many viewers of the video actually visited the URL and learned that HP was behind it, or more importantly, stuck around long enough to digest HP's message, so I did a little digging and found some campaign results on HP's blog:

  • FingerSkilz.tv received 6.3 million hits as of July
  • 180,000 unique visitors
  • Average visit duration of 5.45 mins

I'd say the viral component was a success, and the brand image no doubt got a lift from the impressions on the blog and the press coverage the campaign received (I know I now view them differently - their blog is pretty good!). I'd still like to know how many FingerSkilz visitors actually clicked through to the HP microsite, or how many opted in to receive more info on their products, but I guess for now I will have to settle for learning how to become a finger footballer star!

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