37. Kristel Pecnik on Guerilla Marketing Techniques, Negotiating Partnerships & How To Make Viral Videos

Brand Content Director for Vivaki Performance, Kristel Pecnik has +7 years experience creating and organizing events, negotiating partnerships, and making ‘call to offers’ to different broadcasters to help clients create buzz around their brand.

How does your job fit into the advertising process? I organize events and sponsorship campaigns as well as brand content via videos and content on our client’s digital platforms (Youtube channels, Facebook page, website…) . Everything which isn’t considered classical advertising (magazine ads, television commercials, etc.) I receive the brief from the commercial team with the objectives and the budget, and it’s my job to make the idea reality. Sometimes the client knows exactly what they want, most of the time I have to come up with an idea.

Because we’re developing content which can be of interest to other demographics, I also negotiate partnerships and make ‘call to offers’ to different broadcasters with the objective of finding an approproate broadcast partner. I then choose the best offer(s) and work with them.  

What are some advertising campaigns you’ve worked on?

For the Maison Martin Margiela with H&M collection launched in November 2012 I organized a street event. 50 people wearing Margiela’s signature white aprons marched through the streets of Paris and ended outside of several strategic H&M stores. We also had people wearing aprons and holding signs hanging around 3-4 shops in Paris. It took 1 day to shoot the video (Sunday), and 1 day to edit the video (Monday). The video was online on Monday. It was an original way to speak about the collection launch.

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For the brand Men Expert, we followed 4 men who wanted to run the NYC Marathon. We followed their training, making 1 video every week while they were trained by professionals leading up to the marathon. We also organized a partnership with Orange, uploading the videos on Orange’s website with Orange writing articles on the Men Expert Series. 

Do you need insurance when you do street events? It depends on the size of the event and the country. Most of the time you have to apply for a permit to host  an event at the local mayor’s office. There are some events where the police even help out, such as the Paris Rollerblading. You should check with your local authorities for specifics before you attempt a street event.

Speaking of ‘Call to Offers’, do you accept offers from anybody? Yes. If your demographic is of interest to the content I need to publish. Agencies will work with you, but usually demand a guarantee of views before they give you their content and money, so you’ll need to have your analytics readily available.

What is a misconception people have about your industry? A few common requests agencies get is:

  • “I want a viral video as successful as the Tippex "A Hunter Shoots A Bear” Campaign.“ 
  • "I want a viral video where my product is featured in the video (like a commercial). 
  • "I want content but visiters and viewers HAVE TO see my product because I have sales constraints.”

These are surmountable requests, but creating digital branding content isn’t as cut and dry as this. A general rule is if you want earned media, you cannot showcase your product, you have to deliver interesting and useful content first.

What techniques do you use to make ‘viral’ videos? In no particular order:

  • If you want a ‘viral’ campaign, I’d recommend not trying to make a one shot campaign, but to have a platform and have a long campaign with lots of videos and content. 
  • If you want millions of views, you need to trust your ad agency and give them the lead on the content. The less control the agency has, the less  viral potential we can make it. 
  • You have to launch the video(s) and then get significant blog and media coverage, therefore it’s extremely difficult to run a viral campaign without significant media investment. Even with Redbull’s brand image, their statosphere jump cost +$50 billion.
  • Most viral videos typically include: cats, babies, and famous people.

Do you contact bloggers to get them to write about your campaigns? I don’t contact bloggers directly, instead we send our press releases to the appropriate “régi partner” who then diffuse the press release to their community bloggers, journalists, etc. There are hundreds of “régis” to choose from. For example, a week or two before a street event, I’ll send our press release and invitation to the appropriate partner so that local bloggers know the event is taking place and will (hopefully) attend the event. This leads to photos, videos, and articles written about the brand and the event.

What’s an important lesson you’ve learned? Be creative and always be on the lookout for interesting ways to incorporate new media and technologies. For example including new or downloadable music in an advertisement where people can use the Shazam app to download the music directly from your advertisement or website to their phone.

Where do you go to for inspiration? 

Advice for someone who wants to do your job? Be passionate about your work because event planning is a lot to manage. Be aware of what’s going on in the world around you and what your client’s competition are doing.

What’s one of your favorite ad campaigns?

I have a very, very small advertising budget, any advice? Again, in no particular order:

  • Form partnerships and work with them to combine your social marketing efforts and reach to as many of your friend’s friends as possible.
  • A simple Canon 5D is a good camera to make good high-quality videos. 
  • Consider buying email addresses for your newsletters.
  • Brands have to be audacious, especially on a limited budget. Most brands don’t take risks. This is how you can stand out, if you’re daring enough.

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