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The Drum Digital Transformation Festival launch

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Gordon Young
Editor-in-chief at The Drum

Why Shuttershock parodied the Fyre Festival promo video to showcase the benefits of stock footage

Shutterstock won the ‘Digital’ category at The Drum PR Awards 2019 with its ‘Fyrestock’ campaign. Here, the team behind the campaign reveals the challenges faced and the strategies used to deliver this successful project.

The challenge

Stock footage doesn’t always get the credit it deserves in the creative community. The content available in Shutterstock’s footage collection is high-quality and can even be found in award-winning films. Shutterstock wanted to communicate two things to the creative and design communities; the cost effectiveness and the convenience of creating a high-quality promotional video with stock footage.

Shutterstock needed a way to change the creative community’s perception of stock footage. When competing Netflix and Hulu documentaries reignited the conversation surrounding Fyre Festival’s outrageously expensive promo video, we saw an opportunity to do just that.

The strategy

In a world where creativity has become mission-critical for businesses of all sizes, we wanted this video to gain notoriety from the ground up. With a limited budget and a desire to create something that would go viral among our core audience, our objective was to tie an idea to a cultural moment in order to get maximum buzz within these parameters.

Before we knew it, the perfect opportunity presented itself. Competing documentaries on Hulu and Netflix reignited the conversation around Fyre Festival. The festival's creators blew their budget on a promo video with models, yachts and swimming pigs. We knew the infamous shoot wasn't necessary, because Shutterstock has all the models, yachts, and swimming pigs you could ever need. It was decided this would be the perfect subject for us to insert Shutterstock into the cultural conversation in a fun and light-hearted way while also showcasing what we do best to our audience.

The target audience for this campaign was Shutterstock’s key customer segment who make up the creative, marketing and design communities. It was crucial for us to showcase how our current and potential customers can use assets that are easily available to create something impactful, innovative and relevant to current events.

The campaign

The video we produced emulated the promotional video used by Fyre Festival. We made our video in 24 hours and entirely from stock footage. Our budget included just over $2,000 in stock footage to create the parody and highlight the stark budget differences between Fyrestock and the actual promotional video from the event.

We launched the video across all Shutterstock social media channels on Tuesday, January 29th at 3:45 pm ET, sharing it with our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn followers.

Once the video was live, we quickly began to reach out to key media outlets to make them aware of the content that we had created in order to reach our target audience of design, marketing and creative professionals and to boost visibility and engagement for the video. Our outreach focused on media, advertising and marketing press in the US, UK, Australia, Germany & Brazil. The first publication to post, an interview with our CMO, was A-List, which hit at 8pm ET that night. This was followed the next morning by feature stories in Campaign Asia, The Drum, Hello You Creatives and many more.

We expanded the promotion with paid media to hyper-target the creative audience, who were already sharing it across their own social channels. We felt that the strength of the video and the timely alignment with the conversation of the moment meant that we could build engagement organically, which we continued to do via our social channels.

The results

The results exceeded all our expectations. There is no formula to making something go viral, we wanted to make something that succeeded in reaching the creative, marketing and design audience, but this video reached a much broader audience. The New York Stock Exchange even got in on the action sharing the content across their social platforms.

In the first week, we had over 2 million views of the video, which was higher than anything we have seen on any of our social channels.

The video has garnered over 110 pieces of coverage from all over the world targeting the creative community. From the Wall Street Journal and Adweek in the U.S to B9 in Brazil, Campaign Asia and Campaign Turkey to DesignTaxi in Singapore, Vanity Fair France and Conde Nast Traveller in India to MMR in Russia, the whole world has taken notice, laughing, sharing, and commenting with fire emojis.

Another unexpected outcome of the video was being included in stories and comments around Super Bowl commercials, which coincidentally was happening at the same time. While we didn't spend a single advertising dollar with the Super Bowl, we still found comments like “Shutterstock wins the Superbowl” all over the internet.

This project was a winner at The Drum PR Awards 2019. To register your interest in 2020’s event, click here.

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