Ariana Grande’s Marketing Genius With ‘Thank U, Next’ music video

Within 24 hours of the release of the music video for Ariana Grande’s new song ‘Thank U, Next’, it became the biggest video ever on YouTube’s Premiere feature, with more than 829,000 simultaneous viewers. The feature allows for viewers to tune in to a new video simultaneously, including both a countdown clock and a group chat feature.

The song was already a chart-topping hit prior to the video release. It gained maximum exposure due to the highly publicized break-up and whirlwind romance between Grande and her ex-fiancee and SNL comedian Pete Davidson.

The video release became a mass-market cultural event, which has now become increasingly rare. The 25-year old singer’s video drop was a prime example of how a well-thought-out marketing strategy can result in big gains. Here are a few of the marketing principles and practices employed by this video release that can be useful for marketing professionals working in any category:

The power of cultural resonance

The five-minute video is a tribute to popular female-led movies from the early 2000s, using highly teased visual recreations from iconic movies like Legally Blonde, Bring It On, Mean Girls and 13 Going on 30. The video was successful in tapping into nostalgia, one of the most powerful forces in culture today. It reminds us that cultural resonance can be as powerful, and in some cases even more powerful, than cultural relevance.

The video’s homage to scenes from iconic 2000s movies is truly a result of understanding what is meaningful in today’s culture. The makers of the video have realized how nostalgia is very important and impactful. Brand marketing professionals learn a lot from this. It’s all about understanding the customer and what resonates with their sensitivities.

Creating anticipation

Grande’s team was able to create a key brand moment by making the video drop into a live event. This created anticipation for the video release amongst fans of the singer. The team was able to tap into influencers to become apart of the conversation before the video dropped. With anticipation mounting, other brands inserted themselves into the conversation as well. For example, Bravotv tweeted their excitement about the video release.

Marketing professionals will do well to take some lessons from how building up anticipation of a specific event, such as a product launch can create conversations across social media channels. Take advantage of having a big moment to build up to, and find creative ways to build anticipation among your audience — release a teaser video or have a promotion for buyers on the release date.

Give your consumers a chance to be creators

Grande’s fans were critical to creating the mass media event, and giving the fans the opportunity to become creators and further expand the coverage of Grande’s video. Ensure that your team has created the necessary tools for the audience to take over as the content creators. This might be creating customized Snapchat filters, Instagram stickers, hashtags and so forth.

This approach can be a valuable tool for marketing professionals. On top of handing the baton of content creation to the audience, when the audience is the one spreading the brand — the marketing is more authentic and thus, more attractive, to customers.

  • Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR

Ronn Torossian is CEO & Founder of 5WPR & one of America’s most notable PR executives. He is the Author of best-selling PR book, “For Immediate Release.“

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