In May 2015, Buzzfeed and Purina teamed up for an adorable content marketing video featuring man’s best friend. The 3-minute video, aptly titled Puppyhood, tells the story of the first day after a 20something guy adopts a puppy. It’s cute, heartwarming, and…it’s a commercial. Except it feels less like an ad and more like a super-short film. This video has over 9 million views on Youtube? What elements made it a viral success?

It Tells a Story

Unlike most cute dog videos on the web, this one actually tells a story, or at least a snippet of one. It features a fleshed-out character: a young hipster living in LA, who lives alone, collects vinyl, and works as some sort of architect or city planner. Our protagonist (seriously, how many ads have a protagonist?) talks to his new puppy as though the dog is human, using wit and clever jokes one might see in the banter between a father and child. The man shows his puppy various aspects of his apartment, including giving the dog a quick lesson in rock and roll. He proudly shows off a model for a park he is going to present in his office the next day. After the man goes to sleep, the puppy accidentally destroys the model! This could be considered the climax of the video, the point at which the narrative reaches its peak. The story was cute before, but now it has the potential for dramatic conflict. Luckily, the man is able to rebuild his model and he knows the puppy didn’t mean to wreck it. The two enjoy breakfast together, with a humor scene of both of them eating off the ground. This little commercial has multiple scenes, jokes, locations, and more. It’s basically a puppy-sized short film, and we get emotionally invested along the way.

2. It’s Relatable

Most people know the experience of getting a new pet. You try to explain the rules of the house to the animal, forgetting that you are talking to, well, an animal. Your pet might keep you awake (as we see in this video) or run wildly around your house. But at the end of the day, your pet is your friend, and you can forgive any mistakes they might make. This video is also relatable because it makes the man’s relationship with his dog similar to that of a parent/child dynamic. Just as a dad might teach his son about music, or show his daughter his prized possessions, the main character in this commercial attempts to teach and nurture his puppy. He finds surprises along the way (who knew there was specific puppy food!) that make the journey more rewarding, just like raising a child. Because this commercial is relatable, it tugs at your heartstrings.

3. It’s Cute AND Funny

Think about any viral video (or popular dude in the office) you know. It’s probably either super funny¬†or dangerously adorable, right? That’s the sort of content people share. This video combines the two in a big way. We get to see a little puppy running around, and there’s some pretty well-timed jokes too. Something for everyone (if you don’t like puppies or jokes, what DO you like?)

4. It’s on Buzzfeed

Buzzfeed is has a huge audience, so by partnering with the site, Purina is able to have access to a wide group of people. Plus they get to borrow Buzzfeed’s resources, which include professional filmmakers and comedy writers. Purina is able to accomplish more because they teamed up with a successful company. Your company can do the same by teaming up with an expert content creation company…like Media Shower!

Content marketing is all about covering up your “marketing” with high-quality content. Yeah, this is a commercial for Purina Puppy Chow, but the brand of the dog food is hardly the focus of the video. People probably wouldn’t be willing to watch an ad for dog food, but 9 million people chose to watch this video on Youtube alone. That’s because it’s offering you more than what a typical commercial would. A regular ad tells you about a product. Content marketing tells a story, appeals to your emotions, and begs to be watched: all while selling a product.

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