Monday, November 25, 2013


Banco Sabadell (Spain) wanted to celebrate their city as part of their 130th anniversary. And on a rather large scale. Where did they turn? Well... good flashmob videos go viral, right?

Banco Sabadell began a campaign, "Som Sabadell" ("We are Sabadell"), and one of their events was a surprise orchestra in their city square. Now on YouTube, their video is nearing 21 million views in a matter of months.

The company's campaign sounds successful, right - 21 million views? But what do you now know, having watched the video, about Banco Sabadell?

In his book Contagious, Jonah Berger writes about "Why Things Catch On." In a short and convincing style, Berger cracks open and shares how 6 simple traits often make ideas and events flop or soar. Here are his 6 "STEPPS":

  1. Social Currency - We share things that make us look good
  2. Triggers - Top of mind, tip of tongue
  3. Emotion - When we care, we share
  4. Public - Built to show, built to grow
  5. Practical Value - News you can use
  6. Stories - Information travels under the guise of idle chatter

Through stories of Philly Cheesecakes that run $100, a reservation-only New York City bar that seats less than 50, microwaving ears of corn and blenders that shred iPhones, Berger shows that some things ignite and grow. Others? Well, do we even know them to speak to them?

We have to give the company credit.
  • The video was nicely produced and easily accessible (YouTube videos are the easiest to watch, embed, share, etc of any online video media)
  • Banco Sabadell listed their description on the video in English and Spanish (reaching wider audiences)
  • The companie's name appears in the background, as if by accident (reminding the viewers who is providing this break from office work, school, or refuge from the bustle of an airport terminal)
Bravo. But...

When I stumbled across Banco's video this morning, I immediately thought about the last time I had gone to hear a symphony. It's been years. I also thought about how much I liked the arts. I thought, "If I'm ever in Spain, I should check out this orchestra, Som Sabadell. When I Googled it, I found out that it was a bank.

The company's campaign likely stirred more interest in music than in finance, and while you might click on the link I embedded for the bank's website, you are not likely to open up an account with them. On the flip side, when was the last time you were looking for weekend entertainment and considered going to hear an orchestra? Probably not recently. But now we are talking about it.

We so naturally spread things. Maybe we should take a page from Covey's 7 Habits and "Begin with the End in Mind," focusing first on our intended result. What message are you trying to spread?  What do your actions, dress, tone, and investment of time and resources tell the world?

Image source