Please tell me you’ve seen the Caine’s Arcade video. If you haven’t, don’t waste another minute – check it out here:
Caine is a kid with true entrepreneurial spirit, who spent his summer building an arcade out of cardboard boxes in his dad’s auto parts shop. This cardboard arcade is completely interactive – with inventive games, creative ways for receiving tickets, and an array of prizes.
Every day, Caine waited for customers – and every day, no one came. That is, until filmmaker Nirvan Mullick came by. Charmed by Caine’s enthusiasm and won over by his good business sense (500 plays for a $2 pass? He was sold!), Nirvan set about to make a film about Caine’s arcade.
But first, Caine would need some customers.
In steps the power of social media. Nirvan created a Facebook event in hopes to stage a surprise flash mob. If you watch the video, you’ll see that without a doubt the use of a Facebook was a great success in rounding up a sizeable group. The posting made it to the front page of Reddit and Caine was floored by the hundreds of customers that came by to play.
Since then, the video has gone completely viral (and to be honest, I found out about it through my son), the Facebook page has received well over 115,000 “Likes,” and as of May 21, 2012, the fanfare has helped to raise more than $205,000 for Caine’s college fund!
How’s that for the power of social media?
But I would venture to say that this story goes beyond the power of social media. It’s the perfect mix wherein social media meets real human interest meets a cute kid. Sure, Nirvan was able to utilize social media in a powerful way, but it’s because there was a good story to back up the hype.
Over at FastCompany, Simon Mainwaring recently wrote:
“It’s easy to mistake social media as an end in themselves, but the currency that marketers and communities of all types still trade is emotion. In order for a brand to market itself effectively and to connect deeply with its community, it must tell a story that captures the attention of that audience and allows them to become emotionally invested in it.”
Caine’s Arcade certainly captures the attention of an audience, and it’s nearly impossible not to be emotionally connected to the story. You are immediately invested, and can’t help but want to invite others to invest in the story as well – hence the thousands of Facebook “Likes.”
Is there anything we can learn from Caine and filmmaker Nirvan? Besides being proactive and entrepreneurial with our spare time, I think we should remember the importance of making an impact – through story (even with our branding messages), through relationships (even with our customers), and through ideas (even with our businesses). We need to create stories surrounding our companies – stories that connect, that inspire, and that call to action.
And it doesn’t hurt to have a cute kid on your side, either.
- What else can we learn about the power of social media through Caine’s Arcade?
- How have you utilized social media to your business’s advantage?