retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Few likely would've guessed that close to two million people - 1.17 million on YouTube, and 700,000 on Facebook - watched a giraffe give birth on Saturday morning.

But that's exactly what happened. The mother giraffe is named April, and the run up to her giving birth at the Animal Adventure Park in upstate Harpursville, New York, has been the focus of enormous interest. At one point, the live streaming of her waiting game - which seemed to me like it took forever, so I can only imagine how it felt to April - attracted close to five million views in a single day. And once the baby giraffe was born, a four-hour video of the happy event got more than 13 million views in less than 24 hours.

That's remarkable. And a reflection of precisely how powerful social media can be, and how captivating content can serve as a lure to viewers/consumers.

Mrs. Content Guy and our daughter, Allison, have been watching this story unfold for weeks, and while I initially was a little skeptical, I found myself intrigued enough to watch over their shoulders and then, occasionally surf to the website on my own.

Longtime readers of MNB know that I rarely, if ever, say anything nice about Toys R Us, but I'm going to do precisely that right now. Because Toys R Us (which happens to have a giraffe as its mascot) was smart enough to attach itself to the YouTube stream as a sponsor. Its logo appeared on screen for the weeks before the birth, and then - once the baby giraffe had been born - the logo changed to Babies R Us.

Very smart. I'm not sure it is going to help the company sell more products, but I have to give credit where credit is due.

Now, I have one more suggestion if they want to get a little more positive publicity for this baby giraffe. (Actually, it is my son Brian's suggestion.)

They should name the giraffe Jackie. After all, the giraffe was born on April 15, which is celebrated in the US as Jackie Robinson Day, marking the anniversary of the day that Robinson made his Major League Baseball debut in 1947.

Good idea. The birth of this giraffe has been an Eye-Opener all around, and there is no reason it should stop.

KC's View: