Post by Team Tane

Brands are increasingly looking to video to tell their stories because it has the special ability to elicit emotion, engage prospects, and entertain audiences all at the same time. The combination of sight and sound allows video to forge memorable connections with people in a way text or images alone cannot.

But perhaps what’s most notable about the medium is that it can give brands infinite access to consumers. It can thrive on virtually any content platform, way beyond a brand’s owned and operated sites. Social media has effectively transformed the video landscape in its push to make video more shareable. Shorter videos promote higher completion rates and almost 50% of all video consumption now occurs on mobile devices. So when a brand tailors their video content to today’s viewing habits, it can flourish.

Enter NFL Veteran and fan favorite Vince Wilfork. Professional athletes often use social media to announce their retirement from sports but when Wilfork walked away from the game, he did it in a truly unique way; by tweeting a 56-second video sponsored by Kingsford Charcoal. The media heralded it as the first-ever branded retirement announcement.

Fans embraced the video by watching it more than 1 million times in the first 48 hours after its release. Due to the timeliness of the announcement, the content not only made its way across social and digital channels, but it received coverage from media outlets ranging from Adweek to the Los Angeles Times to CNBC. The Washington Post declared that it “set a high bar for hilarity” and ESPN’s Jalen & Jacoby cheered Wilfork for his “boss move.” This earned publicity propelled Wilfork’s announcement to 99 million gross impressions in 36 hours. Wilfork’s video awarded Kingsford with more attention than it could have ever received from a standard online advertisement.

The video’s authenticity and seamless integration into an inherently newsworthy event was a product of months of planning and solid execution. Back in May, Kingsford released a similarly themed video that set the table for the retirement video.

“All the Rib Moves” accumulated more than 1.4 million views and over 34 thousand engagements on Facebook. The initial release allowed Wilfork to tease his social followers and the media with the possibility of his retirement announcement. After the retirement announcement video, the content marketing trilogy wrapped up in New England with the tailgate event on September 24th before Wilfork’s two former teams, the Patriots and Texans, battled each other.

Over the last 10 years, video has gone from an emerging technology to a product that people interact with everyday. Video viewing already accounts for a majority of Internet traffic and it can reach users unlike any other type of content. Now brands can leverage it to make instant connections with consumers that turn into long-lasting bonds.

Wilfork’s partnership with Kingsford demonstrates how video can be a powerful tool for brand storytelling. Its success is what happens when a brand joins forces with a fitting personality and inserts him into a narrative that’s true-to-form.