The Power of Online Video: Chevy Sonic, OK Go and Risk That’s Worth It



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This is a post co-written by Sally O’Dowd and Michael Murray of DiGennaro Communications. Images courtesy Chevy Sonic.

We’ve been hearing a lot about various forms of storytelling here at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. Indeed, as the festival preview indicated, the roots of the festival lie in this art form.

Online video technology empowers storytellers, fostering ideas that didn’t even enter human consciousness just 10 years ago. Such is the case with the creative team at Goodby and the music act OK Go.

Speaking of Goodby’s award-winning “Let’s Do This” campaign for the Chevy Sonic, Joakim (Jab) Borgstrom said the team wanted to inspire young people and fill them with a sense of adventure. “It’s like your right of passage to another country.”

During a panel at the Chevy Sonic Showcase, Jab and his creative partners, Andrew Bancroft and Niklas Lilja, said that the production of videos featuring the Sonic in a series of stunts was filled with surprises. (See skydiving, bungee jumping, enabling street art, Sonic claw and kick-flipping ).

During the descent in the skydiving episode, an issue with the cameras ensued and the team almost lost footage. For an OK Go music video, where a car served as a m workusical instrument, some of the worst Santa Anna winds in years blew pianos around and flung a long line of guitars off a gate. At one point, Andrew wondered, “Am I fired or is this good? Fortunately, we crossed over to having a fascinating campaign and a happy client.”

Likewise, OK Go Damian Kulash said during a YouTube panel at the festival that it is best not to plan video creation too carefully. There needs to be an element of risk and a sense of joy in making things. “We plan half-way there, and then work out the idea at the site. And that is different from traditional advertising.”

Indeed, the Goodby team set out to do online video and did not anticipate that their work would make good TV. In the end, all the videos featured such unique elements that they were edited and combined into the Stunt Anthem, a 60-second spot during this year’s Super Bowl. 

Said Andrew, “We felt [the risk] the whole way through but you have to tip the pendulum that far to get results.”

For more tales from the Sonic campaign, take a look at the video below.


Sally O’Dowd is a VP and head of the social media team at DiGennaro Communications, a firm specializing in corporate communications for ad agencies, media-buying concerns and entertainment companies. @digennaro @sallyodowd.

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