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VIDEO: Watch the Geico camel's other commercial

How Caleb the talking camel won the Internet

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    Geico's talking camel has more than 15 million YouTube views, at no cost to the company beyond production.
    Geico's talking camel has more than 15 million YouTube views, at no cost to the company beyond production. - (Geico / YouTube)

    If you're like me, you came here to see another awesome talking camel video. I won't hide the ball: the video is at the bottom. Go watch it, but then come back and read the rest of the post.

    Geico recently hit advertising gold with a talking camel who can't contain his excitement over the fact that it's Wednesday. And a combination of virality and a solid follow-up spot suggest much about the future of marketing

    It's a classic viral video already, and a signal that the future of advertising won't be found in television series finales or championship football games. Instead, it'll be found in the cubicles, dorm rooms and iPads of millions of people who watch because they're delighted.

    Geico's "Hump Day" commercial debuted in May 2013 and the company posted the video to its YouTube channel the same month. The spot, put together by The Martin Agency, already has more than 15 million views.

    Students at one Connecticut middle school apparently spend the day imitating the charming if annoying camel from the advertisement, reports ABC News.

    And that's the classic definition of viral: something spreading by word of mouth simply because people are delighted to see it and proud to be the first one to introduce to it others in their social circles.

    That story prompted me to do something I neglected to do in my recent post about a great LG ad: attempt to provide a bit of insight.

    The fact that this Geico ad has already found its way into the brains of at least one middle school's worth of children is only further proof that it's effective marketing: the more people you can get to recite your commercial in public for free, the better.

    But what I find interesting about this story isn't so much the viral nature of the video as far as views and popularity in middle schools. It's the remixes.

    A search at YouTube for "geico hump day" produces 48,600 results. Some of the videos have hundreds of thousands of views. One, starring Dallas Mavericks player Dirk Nowitki, has 1.4 million.

    A completely and utterly unscientific calculation of 48,000 videos multiplied by a wild guess and probably very low average of 100 views per video yields another 4.8 million views for the Geico commercial in its many iterations.

    It's hard to make something people want to share, but sharing is easy. What is even more impressive from a business marketing standpoint is making something people want to spend their own time with, crafting their own version of, and then sharing out to their own audiences.

    That's the true success of the Geico camel: not the company's own YouTube view count, which only tells half the story, but the massive exposure caused by doing something people can cut, parody or set to music.

    And while I obviously didn't watch all 48,000 remixes, a quick perusal of the search results indicates that many, many of the user-generated videos mention Geico in either the title or the description of the video.

    So the company brand isn't even getting lost in the fun. And, as it turns out, Caleb, the now-famous camel from that commercial, isn't a one-hit-wonder. His second commercial is, at least to me, just as much fun as the first. And, as CBS reports, he's something of a seasoned professional, having been in a music video with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Transformers 2 and other roles.

    There is admittedly a formula at work in the two commercials, but I think the follow-up, embedded below, deftly recalls the best parts of the original without being repetitive, and adds enough of its own funny moments to be shareable on its own.

    Let me know what you think in the comments, or say hi to us on Twitter or at Facebook.

    Movie day with Caleb the Camel

    Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@njbiz.com

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