Chocolate Rain and Church Marketing

December 14, 2007 by

Who is Tay Zonday and why should you care? I’m glad you asked, because he is one of the latest examples of viral video gone wild in the new advertising stream of Web 2.0. Its impact may not be seen or heard in your sanctuary, but you better believe it is already being seen, heard and experienced in the lives of those who both do and do not attend our churches!

In April of 2006, Tay placed a homemade music video about nothing called “Chocolate Rain” on YouTube. The video is homemade in its feel and quality and is almost five minutes long. It shows nothing more than him singing the song in front of a professional microphone, which causes him to “move away from the mic to breathe in” (watch the video and see what I mean), along with periodic views of his hands playing the keyboard.

Within a matter of weeks, Chocolate Rain had millions of views–it had gone viral. During the Summer of 2006, he ended up on the late night talk show circuit and was invited to speak at the YouTube corporate headquarters. Any day now, he’ll cross the 13 million mark in numbers of views.

Tay’s latest music video venture was released at the end of November and has already had almost 1.6 million views. Why not, right? Anything by Tay is hot following “Chocolate Rain.” His newest music video, called “Cherry Chocolate Rain”, is professionally produced. It parodies his original video and all that the song has brought to his life.

However, watch the video all the way to its end to find out what the big deal is. This video is almost three minutes long. The kicker happens just seconds before the video ends. As Tay is being splashed with liquid chocolate, the video cuts to a two-liter bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper’s new flavor … Cherry Chocolate!

Diet Dr. Pepper is picking up where many advertisers are being left in the dust. This three minute commercial will obviously never show on TV because of its length. Why would Diet Dr. Pepper care? It’s getting the word out about its new flavor much more efficiently with Tay Zonday than it will with NFL football on Sunday!

There is a powerful message here for the Church! For one, it would be helpful for the sake of the gospel and reaching our communities for us to recognize where advertising is headed. Our current and future congregation is on the Internet way more than we’d like to admit. Let’s find them there … Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, GodTube … however we can connect!

My Facebook presence is connecting me with my current 20-somethings and youth group students and their friends (my potential 20-somethings and youth group students) like I’ve never imagined. I am looking for some of those who have video-savvy and the right networks to see how we can take the heart of Jesus and his gospel to a “viral video” level. Please, I’m not talking about watering down anything. Let’s think more like “all things to all men so that we might win some.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m on the lookout for Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry Chocolate!

Post By:

Paul Kuzma


Paul Kuzma is pastor of NewHeart Foursquare Church in Simi Valley, Calif., where he has been for 22 years, which is over half his life. He is looking for any help he can get in locating a nearby stash of Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry Chocolate, so let him know if you find some.
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4 Responses to “Chocolate Rain and Church Marketing”

  • Sean Salter
    December 14, 2007

    Paul Kuzma???
    As in Paul and Scott the two dudes that created the Bag Game in the 90’s at Camp Cedar Crest??


  • Paul Kuzma
    December 14, 2007

    I’ve been found out! Cedar Crest still rules!


  • porridge
    December 14, 2007

    A superb example. What’s crazy is that Tay Zonday ended up playing the legendary First Avenue here in Minneapolis. You know, where “real” famous musicians have played!?!
    Can’t wait to hear about the famous Christian viral video star hitting the church circuit in ’08.


  • I think this is great. We really do need to take a lesson from this. Jesus went where the people are. They are online right now!



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