YouTube: The Online Skywriter

YouTube is the big gorilla of video sharing sites of Web 2.0. Its functions are basic as users can create, upload and share videos quickly on a wide distribution scale (as addressed in the Social Interaction and Co-Viewing With YouTube article).  A leader of its kind, it is an innovative resource that has grown to its size organically through individual use. YouTube fits into the category of social media as it offers a dynamic and interactive interface to promote transparent practices. And like all social media, it is social in the ability to call one another out in front of an audience of billions of people.

Just ask Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake.

The two leading actors of the newly released film, “Friends with Benefits,” were the subjects of two YouTube date proposals. The first video features a male marine requesting Kunis as his date to the Marine Corps Ball as a bet.

It was reported that Kunis’ co-star, Timberlake, was the one to show her the video as well as the one to encourage her to accept. Shortly after news of her acceptance made its way back to military bases, Timberlake was put in the spotlight by a female marine, popping the same question.

Both stars accepted the invitation. Below is Timberlake’s acceptance in a press conference.

Justin and Mila are two talented young stars with very promising careers. Kunis is the process of making a successful transition from television to the big screen while Timberlake, as illustrated in my previous post, is in the early stages of building his own media entertainment empire. As each strive to define their careers, brand development is more important than ever. The idea of a self-brand is not only defined by physical and tangible attributes, it is also defined by the intangible attributes such as behavior and decision-making.

If Kunis and Timberlake chose not to respond, they could’ve compromised their brands. These ‘call-to-action’ videos set in motion by two members of the military spur the two stars to act just like corporate communicators in a time of crisis. The steps are parallel as illustrated in the PR Daily article, “4 Important Basics of Responding to a Social Media PR Crisis.”

1. Listen: Mila & Justin listened to the request and considered it.

2. Respond quickly: Mila & Justin responded in an urgent fashion.

3. Justify: Mila & Justin provided reasonable justifications for their responses.

4. Execute: Only time will tell if they actually go through with it. They’ve established the expectation and from a branding perspective, they left themselves no choice but to go.

The two soldiers were smart to utilize YouTube. It is direct, it has the capability to become viral, but most importantly, it has an observant audience who require a response. Social media, like YouTube, hold brands accountable, but it can’t do it alone. In order to protect their self-brands and not damage their reputations, Kunis and Timberlake cannot just talk the talk; they will have to walk the walk and make good on their word.