By Todd Wasserman2013-11-27 17:39:43 UTC
This post reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Mashable as a publication.
If the message was female empowerment, then GoldieBlox made its point. The startup, which aims to teach little girls that they can be engineers and build cool stuff, lost the battle but won the war in its fight with the Beastie Boys.
A recap: GoldieBlox released a video last week featuring a Rube Goldberg contraption built by girls. The soundtrack was a remake of the Beastie Boys' "Girls" that replaced the song's original misogynistic lyrics. (Sample: "Girls -- to do the dishes" was changed to "Girls -- to build the spaceship.")
Though the Beasties liked the message of the ad, they . It's unclear whether the GoldieBlox parody falls under terms of fair use. Retreating from a legal fight, from the ad late Wednesday and subbed in an instrumental track. It also wrote a letter of apology to the Beasties.
Still, GoldieBlox appears to have benefited from using the song without permission. Before the company pulled the first version of the ad, it had racked up 9 million views. While it's hard to say what the value is of such a viral video, a back-of-the-envelope calculation based on ad revenues from the song Gangnam Style (about for 1 billion views) reveals that the figure is around $156,000.
Assuming a similar arrangement (with Google getting about half the ad dollars), GoldieBlox should make about $78,000 in ad revenues from the viral ad.
Of course, the real value of the video is how much it promotes GoldieBlox's business. For instance, HelloFlo, a girl-centered startup (the company markets monthly deliveries of tampons) basically created its business with "," a video that went viral this summer and is now up to 6.4 million views on YouTube. While HelloFlo founder Naama Bloom declined to outline her company's financials, , which launched with a viral in 2012 (current tally: 12.3 million views) claimed it had 200,000 active members about eight months later.
Since DSC's monthly packages range from $1 to $9, if we split the difference, that amounts to $900,000 a month or $10.8 million a year. (The full range is $2.4 million to $21.6 million, assuming everyone got the $1 or $9 plan, respectively.) At $10.8 million a year for 12 million views, that amounts to $.90 a view. Using the same metric, GoldieBlox's viral is worth $8.1 million.
Finally, for the coup de grace, GoldieBlox's video is a in Intuit's "" competition whose grand prize is a Super Bowl ad. If the viral appeal of GoldieBlox's ad is enough to sway judges, then the company will have received a prize worth about $4 million.
Given all that, a startup might conclude that parodying a popular song without permission in a video is a good strategy -- assuming the video goes viral in the first week or so. Bloom, however, says that she doesn't think that was GoldieBlox's plan (GoldieBlox founder Debra Sterlng declined comment.)
Bloom said that in the early version of "Camp Gyno" she had considered using Snoop Dogg's "Candy (Drippin' Like Water)," but reconsidered, fearing retaliation from lawyers. Subbing in a different song took three weeks, she said, but she was happy with the results.
"I thought 'If it goes viral, I'll have to bring it down,'" she says. "I would guess this is a huge distraction for [Sterling]. Dealing with lawyers generates so much extra work."
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